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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 2. March 12, 1968

Drugs, Cheats and Salient

Drugs, Cheats and Salient

Sir—Poor old Salient. After thirty years of "healthy radicalism" (to quote from that self-congratulatory editorial in the last issue) all it can offer is junk and cheat; Salient's philosophy for the student.

St. Mug, the pop Socrates, otherwise known as Malcolm Muggeridge, referred to "the old slob's escape of dope and bed".

Is that all Salient, self-sanctified in those nauseating articles by its first editor and by Con Bollinger, has to offer us? Of course not; Salient goes one better; it encourages us to cheat.

In an editorial headed 'The exam farce', we learn of "the Only rational view of exams — . . . to be overcome by any available means." Salient tells us that: "Dishonesty is hardly relevant, with whatever distaste one looks at it."

For the information of Salient, there are still some few students left who attend this University to gain a degree that will command a healthy respect in the academic and business worlds.

They work through the year prepared to face the formal test of knowledge and skills provided by examinations. They have no sympathy with those seeking the easy way out.

It is realised that many may seriously question the value of examinations in assessing ability and knowledge. The article by pundit Cloud on super-pundit Parkyn in Salient 1 makes this clear.

It is not the purpose of this writer to delve into the pros and cons of examinations; to proceed, like Cloud, from dubious premise to still more dubious conclusion in an attempt to prove the validity or otherwise of the examination system.

It is necessary to point out where the moral gutlessness exemplified in Salient's editorial is leading to.

The efforts of a few students to change the rules is comparable to the activities of a Red Chinese kangaroo court interpreting the law according to the thoughts of Chairman Mao.

They are trying for a certain qualification, and if they cannot gain it the only correct action is to give up the attempt. It is certainly not correct to aim at changing the rules in mid-stream, in a desperate effort to stagger through the course somehow or other.

To do this is farcical; we would become like the Red Chinese court, inventing rules to cover the situation.

"Junk is a way of life"

An anonymous contributor in Salient I awakened us to "a scene of light and colour. a scene of beauty and contentment, a scene of horror and danger." He advises us that "It is high time students here realised the beneficial effects of certain drug experiences, effects which could turn them from completely academically orientated managers to something approaching real, rounded people."

In a glib resumé of pot, acid. junk, coke, speed, morphine, snow and the rest, the writer sneers at the efforts of police officers to help young addicts, and seems to agree with William Burroughs that "Junk is a way of life".

Living death is possibly a suitable state for some on the 'varsity campus—any form of suspended animation that relieves us of their peculiar moral attitudes is to be welcomed

But as a way of life for the rest of us, what a drag!

Speed Kills It really does Amphetamine, methedrine, etc., can, and will, rot your teeth, freeze your mind and kill your body. The life expectancy of the average speed freak, from the first shot to the morgue, is less than five years. What a drag.

That was the editorial from the Boston psychedilic newspaper Avatar. Somewhat more realistic than any advice from Salient's contributor perhaps?

Junk is a way of death, not of life. It is an escape from reality into the fantasy world where all is love.

Cheating is an escape: to quote again from St. Mug, "pot and free contraception are not forms of protest; they are shallow, paltry self-indulgences"

Is it Salient's advice that we follow in the path of any slobbering old debauchee, so high on junk, and so low on morals? After thirty years is this all our student press has to say to us?

I don't think so. But don't ever take the view that Salient represents typical student thought. "Typical student thought", my friends, is too busy reading for those examinations, and getting its stimulation from work, not hashish.

I remain, yours, etc,.

James Mitchell.

[The claim that the "rational view" of exams is to try to overcome them by "any available means" leaves open the question of whether cheating is a personally realistic choice to any individual.

People must make up their own minds whether the sanctions against cheating are outweighed by the need to pass-both the sanctions at the disposals of the University Council and the equally real though more personal sanctions invoked by acting in a way one feels is unfair to one's colleagues.

There is no suggestion that Salient advocates students receiving qualifications for which they are not academically qualified. It is inherent in the examination system that those found to have cheated may not pass. Exams otherwise would be meaningless.

But the nature of the system demands no greater punishment. To exclude a person from the University is to punish him because he is a dishonest person (which is irrelevent to his academic ability), not because his presence undermines the system of academic evaluation.

Of course the present system of academic evaluation encourages cheating and is open to sabotage by organised mass cheat-ins. It should be possible to change the system by more acceptable means, however.

And drugs—The inclusion of articles is no stamp of editorial agreement—ed.]