Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 13 June 18, 1968
Activists must mend their own ways
Activists must mend their own ways
"Some so-called student activists need to reassess the channels of communication around themselves before they rush off to complain about others."
Students' Association President Doug White said this in a recent statement to Salient.
"In a short while we will be faced with the annual fraud —Executive elections," he said. "Few, if any, of the candidates will have much knowledge of Association affairs, let alone the University structure.
"Yet these candidates will promise to complete the Union extensions, increase bursaries, start a bookshop, and improve meals in the caf.
"These promises have been made before and they will be made again. An interested or gullible 25-30 per cent. of the student body will vote to elect these self-styled politicians.
"The successful candidates will, as in the past, conveniently forget their promises and try to run an association with 5000 members and an income of over $30,000.
"In providing services for students they will be equally as interested in the moral issues of the Arab-Israeli war as in the material to be used in essential night-shirts.
"Overnight they will become experts on all matters of university government and contact with the student body through dull sub-committees, frightening forums and general meetings, and an antagonistic Salient will be highly inconvenient.
"Some will foresake their designated portfolis to attack their fellow Executive members or to press their pet interests at forum, at meetings, and in the pages of Salient. Others will foresake forum, meetings, and Salient for the fascinating details of their own particular portfolio.
"It is not difficult to see how 'the petty intrigues and prejudices' deter many from entering.
"Wound up in a world of their own, Executives make little use of the channels around them to communicate with the student body on matters which concern the student body."
Most students are interested in little else outside their pleasures, said Doug. Sport or culture for body or soul provide pleasure. Their interest, if any, in their Association is cursory, usually limited to gripes at the fee.
"Most attend forums for amusement and leave meetings and administration to others.
"Despite the urgings of one curious voice, students at the moment are unlikely to riot over something called 'the present university and educational system'.
"If a riot is wanted, ban rugby or introduce 5 o'clock closing.
"With their broadminded concentration on their degrees many students are probably interested in their courses and lecturers.
"Some may have even tried to express their views on these matters. Few in authority appear to be interested and constructive suggestions for reform receive little publicity, particularly in the existing student news media.
"Is the student newspaper a channel of student communication?" he asked. "How many students want to know what the rank and file member of the Democratic National Party thinks of the rank and file members of the National Party?
"Constructive submissions to the Joint Committee were literally lost in a beautifully laid out inside page, while visitors to Victoria on Open Day learnt that front page news was a curious incitement to riot.
"The same students who pressed for 'student power' and participation now find it 'fun' to attack the first step towards their end: the Joint Committee.
"Perhaps before critising channels of communication on the administrative side of the University those responsible for communication on the student side might consider whether they are fulfilling their own role."