Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 5. 1969.
Portfolio Reports — Presented to the A.G.M. of the Students' Association, March 26, 1969
Presented to the A.G.M. of the Students' Association, March 26, 1969.
Joint Committee On Student Participation
At The 1968 Annual General Meeting of this association a resolution was passed suggesting a joint committee be set up to consider the part to be played by students in the government of the university. The University Council subsequently aggreed in principle to the establishment of the joint committee, suggested some changes in its composition and proposed terms of reference. These changes and the terms of references were accepted by your Executive in early May. The joint committee consisted of four members each from the University Council, the Professorial Board and the Students' Association and it was chaired by the Chancellor. The joint committee held eight meetings in 1968, received submissions from interested stall and students, and made numerous recommendations from interested staff and students, and made numerous recommendations during the course of the year. These recommendations resulted in many new positions for student representatives or members including a further representative on the University Council, three members on the Professorial Board, and representation on various council and Professorial Board subcommittees.
It was appreciated by members of the Joint Committee that the question of student participation involved considerably more than just membership of committees. It involved a realisation by academic and administrative staff and students alike first that a university is a community of people, sec-only that there should be effective communication of ideas and decisions within the community, and thirdly that students wanted and should be given the opportunity to make a contribution to the university community.
These factors and the various recommendations are to be explained fully in the Joint Committee's Report which was scheduled for publication early in 1969
Union Building Extensions
The Government's approval in August of the second-floor extensions to the Union Building ended several years of frustrating delays. Despite some disagreement on architectural questions your Executive concurred with the University's decision to call for tenders in September and construction commenced in November with the estimated completion date being the end of 1969. No final decisions were taken in 1968.
At a Special General Meeting of the Association held on 30th July a proposal that the President of the Association should be paid an honorarium of $400 per annum as from 1st January 1969 was adopted. It was considered that in view of the time and responsibility involved in the office of President it was in the interests of the Association that he should be paid an honorarium.
Student Representative Council
The 1968 Annual General Meeting set up a special committee to investigate the desirability of establishing a Student Representaive Council at Victoria. This committee held several meetings including an open one at which submissions were made by interested students. In September the committee presented its report to your Executive recommending the establishment of such a Council on the grounds that first it would provide an opportunity for more students to participate in Association activities, secondly it would enable closer contact between Executive and more students, and thirdly it would contain a broad base of student opinion in a growing university
The VUWSA Development Fund was set up for the purpose of Association capital expenditure or for capital grants and loans to clubs affiliated to the Association. The Fund initially consisted of $24,000 which included the $10,000 loan to the Halls of Residence Appeal and the $9,000 loan to the VUW Ski Club, with the balance of $5,000 invested in Wellington City Council Loan Stock.
Highlights from the past year for NZUSA were the establishment of the position of full-time Educational Research Officer, which should assist NZUSA in its role as a responsible university educational pressure group, the expansion of the popular student travel service, the schemes to help the new University of the South Pacific, the granting of autonomy to the NZU Arts Council, the inauguration of the insurance scheme, and the development of the national student magazine. Focus. While the success of the year was due to the work of NZUSA's full-time President, Mr McGrath also had to attend meetings of one sort or another at every university, apart from Massey and Victoria, to justify the existence of the national student body. This attitude of other constituents prompted a note of Caution over NZUSA's effectiveness during the year.
THIS statement shows the financial position of the Association on the 31st December, 1968, and the major features are as follows:
1. Ski Club Loan
A loan of $9,000 has been given to the Ski Club for complete purchase of, and improvements to, their Ski hut on Mount Ruapehu. Repayments of this loan is to commence during the 1969 financial year.
2. Development Fund
A fund has been set up to give loans to affiiliated clubs that wish to improve their facilities. The fund consists of:
Further schemes have been put forward by various other clubs in the University and these are to be studied by the 1969 Executive.
3. Student Union Building Extension Fund
This is the trust fund mentioned previously. Fees and interest have built the account up to its present balance of $30,446.
• "That V.U.W.S.A. urges that the age of majority be lowered to 18 years, and that this shall be universal In all respects, both in the field of public law end private law, and that no legal disability attach to a person of age 18 years and above merely by reason of his age."
• "That V.U.W.S.A. in advocating the universal lowering of the age of majority to 18 years, recognizes that a course of citizenship training, in the fullest possible sense, be introduced into the primary and secondary school curriculum so that all children reaching the age of 18 will have benefited from such a course."
• "That V.U.W.S.A. affirm the clear military implications of the Omega navigational system, and as a result will continue by such means as may be necessary, to firmly oppose the construction of an Omega station in New Zealand."
• "That this Association supports the abolition of the Reading Knowledge Requirement."
• "That all sporting contacts between New Zealand, South Africa and Rhodesia should cease, and not be resumed while South Africa and Rhodesia permit politics to influence their sporting decisions."
• "That this Association endorse '1% A.I.D.'".
• "That this Association urges students to support the campaign by giving 1% of their annual income through,'1% A.I.D.' to the University of the South Pacific for a Bursary Scheme."
• "That in line with recommendation thirty, chapter six of the Report of the Commission on Education in New Zealand, July, 1962, Corporal Punishment be abolished at least for infant classes and fifth and sixth forms, and that an amendment to that effect be made to the Education Act, 1964."
Open Day 1968
After the success of this 1967 innovation it was held on June 13th 1968 with the Education Officer as Open Day Controller. About 5,000 members of the public took advantage of the opportunity and could choose from among a large variety of lectures, Club activities, displays and performances. Joint Committee and the Education Committee
Following a motion passed in an Education Sub-committee, I sent to the Joint Committee a submission which asked the Joint Committee to consider placing a student (preferably the Education Officer) on the Academic Sub-committee of the Professorial Board.
This request paralleled another submission which asked that three students be given membership of the Board.
Because there were to be three student representatives on the Professorial Board and on some other Sub-committees it was felt, particularly when a planned shift in emphasis in the work of the Academic Sub-committee came into practice; that student representation on this sub-committee would be neither useful nor desirable.
The Compulsory Foreign Language Requirement
In July, the President and I presented a petition to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr D. B. Taylor. It requested that he immediately re-open investigations into the value and status of the compulsory Foreign Language Requirements in the B.A. and post-graduate Science degrees.
The petition which had almost a 1000 signatures was a step which showed the growth of resentment at the apparent indifference on the issue. The Vice-Chancellor offered to organise a staff-student meeting and at the time of writing the first of a series of meetings between the Executives of the Arts, and Literature and Languages faculties and five student representatives had taken place.
The National Affairs portfolio was created at an A.G.M. in 1967. In one year it is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of such a position. To be effective much will depend upon the attitude and capacity of the person filling the position and upon the current executive.
The problem is that in every issue within the realm of National Affairs there is either a political or moral consideration involved. Thus in getting any sanction from Executive, Executive must decide whether or not it is prepared to make policy statements without an S.G.M. or a questionnaire at an election. This is the criteria of whether or not the National Affairs position will survive.
During 1968 V.U.W.S.A. has become a corporate member of the N.Z. Homosexual Law Reform Society and a good liaison exists between the two associations. Parliament's recent consideration and rejection of the N.Z.H.L.R.S. petition keeps this particular facet of the National Affairs Subcommittee's business consideration alive.
This year's Sub-committee has also considered some of the implications of race relations in this country, in particular employment and accommodation opportunities for Pacific Islanders in Wellington. No particular conclusion has been reached after consultation with various organisations including the Citizens Association for Racial Equality and several Government departments. It appears that this will be a problem with which we must come to grips in the very near future.
The Sub-Committee also considered the beneficial uses of drugs and drug abuse. There is at present a Department of Health Commission of Inquiry conducting an investigation into the drug problem. It will be the function of the National Affairs Sub-committee in 1969 to examine the significance of its recommendations.
National Military Training is always a thorn for students attempting to complete degrees It is hoped it will continue to be the function of National Affairs to protect the rights of students in relation to deferment.
The National Affairs Officer also assisted with the Omega teach-in during study week.
1968 was a year in which a major step ahead for publications was taken: the publishing of Salient weekly. Salient now becomes the first student newspaper in Australasia to appear weekly, and if it continues the same publishing schedule in 1969—as it should. Victoria will retain its position as the New Zealand Students' Association which best handles publications matters.
This move to weekly publications would not have proved as successful as it has been if a salaried Technical Editor to supervise sub-editing had not been appointed to assist the Editor. Although there were some difficulties with this position in 1968, four people holding the position at various times during the year, there can be no doubt that without a Technical Editor it would have been virtually impossible for the editor to have handled all the responsibilities of a weekly paper.
It should be pointed out, in relation to Salient, that not only is Salient better organised for publication than many other student papers, but also that its relations with the Executive of Students' Association are better structured than in other universities where major executive-student paper clashes have occurred. The editor of Salient can only be over-ruled by the Executive—through its Publications Board— on matters involving possible libel. The editor of Salient alone determines the editorial policy and news content of Salient. All major financial decisions concerning Salient are made in the the first instance by the Publications Board as a sub-committee of the Executive, which ratifies or otherwise its decisions. It is because of the existence of this structure for resolving any disputes between Salient and the Executive that no serious conflict of any kind arose between Salient and the Executive last year. In fact, such conflicts have not occurred in the last three years—a record shared by few other student associations. So long as the present decision-making machinery operates, and the Chairman of the Publications Board uses tact and good sense in his dealings with Salient, there will be few crises in the relations between Eexecutive and Salient.
The publications of CAPPICADE involves many distribution problems which, in my view, though not in the Publications Board's, are really the province of Capping Committee. I would recommend that while Publications Board should retain the power of accepting quotations for the printing of Cappicade, and appointing its editor its authority should end at that point. The selling of CAPPICADE should be fully integrated with other Capping functions.
I would also recommend that future applicants for the position of Editor of either Student Handbook or CAPPICADE have some experience in subbing, and have worked with the Technical Editor of Salient for some period. In this way some of the difficulties in appointing inexperienced Editors might be avoided.
I would like to thank Bill Logan who assisted me on every occasion possible last year in my work as Publications Officer, and to all the members of the 1968 Publications Board. What has been done by Publications Board is the culmination of work over the last three years by a variety of people, especially Mr. H. Rennie and what has now to be done is mainly to build on a firmly established structure. Without the fostering of a professional outlook towards reporting and sub-editing since 1965, weekly publications would certainly have been impossible.
The International Affairs Commission N.Z.U.S.A. has been under considerable attack at the Councils. Victoria has continued to contribute to discussion and forward remits to it. Several good proposals to improve it have been made, and providing these are carried out matters should improve considerably. N.Z.U.S.A. overseas aid will be mainly centred around the University of the South Pacific, for which books have been collected.
Under my chairmanship an ad hoc committee organised a teach-in on this issue. This was very successful, being attended by over 400 people including large numbers from the public. N.Z.U.S.A. is to make submissions to the government.
Very little contact was maintained with overseas students, although a questionnaire on their involvement in activities was carried out for the National Youth Council. Response was disappointing but re-emphasised the need for greater efforts to be made to ensure that overseas students received help, and information if it is wanted. The job is far too big for the International Affairs Officer as he has quite enough to do already. In my opinion a portfolio of Overseas Student Office on Executive is essential.
The Cultural Affairs Committee reverted to the former system of considering each grant application and recommending it separately to Finance Committee, because of the difficulty of submitting a planned budget for Cultural Affairs at the beginning of the year. However, this method is unwieldy and I hope some better system can be developed, with the co-operation of the clubs.
Debates, political meetings, play readings and concerts were held throughout the year. In many cases the audience attendance was disappointing; I hope this is attributable to the large number of activities on, and not to a falling-off in interest in Victoria's "cultural" scene.
Apart from considering grant applications, the Cultural Affairs Committee co-ordinated Arts Festival arrangements for Victoria and organised Little Congress for the first time in some years. Held in Akatarawa in April, Little Congress had as its topic "Freedom of Expression". Speakers included Professor Munz and Professor Roberts, Ian Cross and Con Bollinger. Despite a moderate attendance the weekend was highly successful.