Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 1 18 February 1970
Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
The resignation early this month of the Women's Vice-President reduce our nominally eight-man Executive to a mere five souls four elected and me co-opted so that there can be a quorum and the business of the Association done.
Four resignations, out of eight, since the elections and before the work of year has even begun.
Another election at a cost of $200 to the Association (i.e., students).
So short a time ago, it seems, certain individuals were campaigning ferociously for positions which, once achieved, were quixotically cast aside. The only doubt in my mind is where the bulk of the blame lies with the unstable, gormless twits who so often get elected to control student affairs or with the average, ordinary run-of-the mill, common-or-garden rank and file who put them there.
USP Book Scheme
Those who donated books to last year's appeal for the University of south Pacific may be interested to learn what became of their gift.
The books 3.000 from Victoria and 10,000 to in all were flown by the RNZAF to Fiji without charge. There the Fiji Military forces arranged their delivery to the University, again without charge.
When I was at the University last September, most cases had been unpacked and the books sorted. The Library staff told me that the books were of a surprisingly high standard. Indeed if I repeated the exact words of their thanks you would think I was exaggerating.
They told me that they expect 80" of the books to be placed in the University Library itself. In most cases duplicate copies will be used to build up class sets, duplicate copies will he used to build up class sets.
Of the remainder, a very small number, perhaps a couple of hundred, were rejected altogether because they were damaged beyond repair or were very heavily annotated. About 15 per cent of the books were more suitable for secondary schools, and a system has been established to supply these books to schools in the South Pacific region. The final 5 per cent were books of general reading value. Some of these will he used in a fiction library run by the Department of English, but most will he donated to the library systems in the various Pacific territories. The remarkable result is that almost every single hook donated has been used in a worthwhile way. In some cases, the University Library has been able to exchange multiple copies of some books with other university libraries on a very favourable basis A striking example was the exchange of eight copies of an advanced economies textbook which were superfluous to any forseeable requirements. These were exchanged with a British university for 160 new textbooks for which cash would otherwise have had to be paid.
New Zealand students have also been able to help in processing the books. The University Library at present is able to process about 10,000 new books a year, would have taken some time to process the additional books coming from the NZUSA gift. In Januare and February this year a work party of 20 New Zealand students, most of them trained in library work, will process the remaining books and other material also donated to the University. The likely result is that this year the University of the South Pacific Library will have twice as many books available to students as its plans called for.
This year's appeal for books for the University is a second opportunity to support an unusually worthwhile project. While any university books are wanted, back issues of academic magazines are especially needed. I can confidently assure your readers that every book donated will be valued and, what is more used to its full potential.
Is the annual farce of students trekking hopefully to bookshops to buy their set texts, without success, to be repeated again this year?
It is a farce only because of the near-total mismanagement by university departments of the book-ordering system. In the past, it has been fashionable to blame "monopolistic" bookshops for the problems students face in obtaining the relevant texts. This is incorrect.
Last year, one city shop was completely unaware of the existence of one of the courses being offered by a University Department. This was not the shop's fault—the Department had simply not notified them.
In another case, bookshops were advised in time to buy certain books, for an estimated number of students, for a particular course. Then, in late February, the requirements were changed. Not one book in the first list was a set text on the new list. Is it any wonder that the bookshops have to charge the high prices they do, simply in order to protect themselves from the incompetence of the academic authorities?
J. H. Mitchell.
Signing up at the age of 16 for a post-primary teacher studentship leading to a B.Sc., I became aware during my first year at Auckland University of a far wider range of possible course and careers.
My 1965, 1967 and 1968 efforts to bring about nothing more difficult than a change of course were blocked automatically. With Departmental pressure on my parents increasing each time. I returned unhappily to my scientific studies with predictable results. I spent a year in the then Special Maths-Science" training college course—now revamped as Division D but still a two-year mixture of girls from the Lower Sixth and University dropouts from Division U—and then, making regular Bond repayments, returned briefly to University.
I was fortunate last year to obtain a teaching position at Cashmere High School in Christchurch. During the first term, until the correspondence columns of the Christchurch Press came to my aid. I was receiving through the school office Departmental demands for immediate repayment of slightly more than my annual net salary.
I wish to teach and continue teaching: I would not attempt to dissuade anyone from the profession and I acknowledge the monetary advantages that the Bond offers, But it is perfectly possible to put oneself through Varsity, choosing one's own course and leaving oneself unbounded, I wish I had realised this the easy way, rather than painfully.
I am absolutely disgusted.
(Signed letters will be given preference over pseudonymous correspondence unless valid reasons are given for the wish to remain anonymous—Editor).
Changes of editorship notwithstanding, we can again this year as in every year expect the columns of your newspaper to periodically display the levered frenzy of those who, wriggling their toes in holy esetasy, will scathe their contemporaries for lack of interest in the Cause of the Week, whatever such Cause may be.
You are happy, I know, to explode such squibs—they are in the service of Reader Involvement, they inspire, or provoke, letters to the Editor. Here, then, is such a letter. I am happy to write it; you are happy to print it; it frees me from three terms of moral galvanisation and your polemicists from an equal period of effort on my behalf.