Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 9. 1971
I write this letter to protest in the strongest possible terms against the treatment of students unfortunate enough to be taking International Politics II this year. When will the smug and/or boorish members of that academic misfit, the Political Science Department, realise that students are not shit? God knows, Political Science I in 1970 was bad enough.
The trouble basically seems to be a complete lack of any sense of Unity or co-operation amongst the staff "responsible" for the course. It would seem that no-one was able to decide what was really important - so everyone threw in a little bit of everything in the vain hope that something good had to come out of it Somewhere. Jesus, what a foul up!!! At this point Ray Goldstein will probably humbly protest that he was faced with great problems at the beginning of the year. Okay, I've got nothing against you personally, and okay, maybe you weren't sure who would be around to take certain aspects of the course, and maybe the book-problem is difficult - but, after all, you are supposed to be in charge of this course - perhaps your functional analysis needs looking into.
Maybe the tone of this letter is facetious and maybe it offends a few feelings. But God, things are bad!!! It's no good asking the lecture group for its opinion Ray - the only people who will say anything at a time like that are the clique of ego-trippers. If you really want to know how people feel, watch the faces of conscientious students as they are insulted for not doing reading for a tutorial (even if they are overworked in other units) - or better still, hide yourself in the keyhole of 9 Glasgow Terrace one Friday afternoon and watch the faces of the students coming up the steps for yet another Piano and Olton test. Okay, some may fail because they're just too lazy to do any swot. But do you have any idea just how difficult it is for serious students to sit down and learn for one of those bloody tests with the threat of essays and assignments for other units hanging over their heads? Okay, I know you worry that students won't get any idea of basic terms in international politics if they aren't forced to learn for such tests. But don't be fooled by the ego-trippers. These tests Are a real cause of student unrest in the class. Sometimes we just can't drop everything for a week just to study for such a test. If you must place such stress on this book, wouldn't some form of written work set over a longer period be a better idea? Or, what about something like the tests Rod Alley gives? - no marks taken, rather leave it up to the individual students and their consciences.
But getting back to the main point of this letter, students in Interpol II are fed-up. Most of us, surprisingly enough, are quite interested in this unit - but already attendance in lectures and tutorials is dropping off - History II and Political Science MA are still packing them in!!! The writing is on the wall!!! Students are not shit - or, if you prefer, if you feed people peanuts, you get monkeys - that's probably not too relevant, but I hope you get the point. I haven't written this letter for a joke - I am genuinely concerned about the chaotic and unfair nature of the course. The work-load expected of the conscientious student is unfair and quite frankly, ridiculous. Please help - do something before it is too late!!!
Name withheld by request.