Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 5. 1969.
Moves to dis-affiliate Athletics Club over S.A. games issue — Call For S.G.M
Moves to dis-affiliate Athletics Club over S.A. games issue
Call For S.G.M.
The Victoria University Athletics Club should be disaffiliated from the V.U.W. Students' Association in the opinion of the V.U.W. Socialist Club.
This is because of the Athletics Club's association with the action of the New Zealand Athletics Association in sending a team to compete in the all-white games at Blomfontein, South Africa.
Penny Haworth, a member of the VUW Athletics Club is a member of the team.
"Her participation effectively highlight the issue." said George Fyson, spokesman for the Socialist Club.
This course of action was originally called for in the light of an amendment to the V.U.W.S.A. Constitution, passed at the Annual General Meeting of the Students' Association in 1960.
The constitution containing the motion has since been superseded by a completely revised constitution, not containing the motion.
The 1960 amendment said:
In the event that any sporting club affiliated to V.U.W.S.A. is, or becomes affiliated to any union or federation of sporting bodies inside or outside the university, which, in the opinion of the V.U.W.S.A. Executive, practises racial discrimination . . . or offends against the principles contained in the Olympic Rules, then Executive shall have power to dis-affiliate such club from V.U.W.S.A. until it has severed all connections from the offending union or federation.
This clause was not included when the Constitution was re-written in 1966.
Paul Callaghan, of the Socialist Club, said that the club wanted to know why it was not kept in.
Salient contacted Mr Chris Robertson, a former President of the Students Association who played a major role in the revising of the constitution.
"As I recall it, and I am speaking purely from memory, that specific point was never brought up," he said.
"The whole constitution was completely revised.
"It was passed by Executive about four or five times.
"Anything that was left out was left out."
Mr. John McGrath who was president of the Students Association at that time said he could not remember if the amendment had been commented upon.
Neither could remember who else was on the sub-committee, which revised the constitution.
"All changes which were made were pointed out," Mr McGrath said.
An executive member in 1966, Mr Paul Peretz said the Constitution had been "slashed by Exec."
"Mainly by noble John McGrath," he said.
"But that issue, was never to my knowledge, mentioned in Executive."
After being endorsed by the Executive, the draft was passed at an SGM in 1967.
Mr McGrath felt that the amendment was now unnecessary because of the wide powers given to the Executive enabling them to disaffiliate clubs.
"They're all professional dabblers in Constitutions," said Mr Fyson.
He felt if Executive were really against apartheid, then they should act upon it.
"If they do not," he said, "we may call an SGM."
A policy motion was passed on this matter, at the Students Association Annual General Meeting last week.
It states "that all sporting contacts between New Zealand and South Africa, and between New Zealand and Rhodesia, should cease. . . . "
David Howman, the Sports Officer informed Salient that the same policy motion had been rejected by the Sports Committee on the Monday before.
This was "on the grounds that total severance of communication between New Zealand and countries practising apartheid can only lead to a hardening of attitudes by the Governments of those countries."
Asked what he meant by a hardening of attitudes." he replied that the South African Government might stop inviting New Zealand teams over.
"Politics and sport are mixed," he said.
Yet he also thought that "a sportsman does not have a duty to think of politics before he plays."
Asked if it would do much harm to expel Penny Haworth from the Athletics Club, since she was not a member of the Students Association; he replied: "it would do the club harm —they would not do as well in athletic competitions".
Chris Corry, of the Athletics Club, said, "The club could not function as an amateur athletics club, unless it was affiliated to the N.Z.A.A.A."
Students who wanted to participate in sports would have to join other bodies.
"We could have done nothing at all except bring it up at the Wellington Centre, where the opposite view would have prevailed," he said.
He pointed out that the Harriers Club would be subject to the same reasoning since it also belongs to N.Z.A.A.A.
George Fyson replied that the Harriers Club should be disaffiliated too.
"In fact all sporting bodies should disaffiliate from N.Z.A.A.A."
John Wild, Men's Vice President, said "Executive is not likely to disaffiliate any club."
The President of the Students Association, Mr Gerard Currie said Executive would consider the letter it received from Socialist Club. He declined to comment further.