Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 9. 1971
From the foregoing it would appear certain that unless some steps are taken to bring the growth of the University into some relation with the building programme a deterioration in the quality of the University's work is inevitable.
Some shifts or expedients may be adopted to solve in a temporary way the problem of staff accommodation, but the problem of library accommodation can only grow more acute as the building programme is further delayed.
The situation is now so serious that it is essential that the University as a whole should determine firmly what steps it should take to prevent further deterioration. It would appear that the only practical step is the stabilising of enrolments at approximately their present level until facilities appropriate to larger numbers can be made available.
The administrations case then, is simply this. Assuming that it is desirable both to maintain our university system and to prevent any deterioration in its research work or the staff/student ratio it follows that in the present situation University growth must be brought into line with the current building programme. And, as a temporary measure, a stabilising of enrolment levels seems appropriate until facilities suited to Larger numbers become available.
These assumptions are not, on their face value, warranted. Present degree structures, examinations, course contents and teaching methods are likely to be altered and provide some relief to accommodation. The ratio 384 staff (graded from professor to junior lecturer) to 6300 students (a ratio of 1:16) appears more than adequate. (Such a ratio does not take into account either demonstrators, tutors who are not full-time academics, or the lesser requirement of the large number of part-time students.) When last the administration spoke of "temporary measures" to ease accommodation, a set of exclusion regulations was introduced which is now an accepted part of student life.
The administration's solution to a crowded building is to remove the crowd. The student solution is immediate pressure on the University Grants Committee and Government for a complete reappraisal of Victoria's financial situation: with a view to a priority on the construction of the first stage of the Physics and Earth Sciences Building (more correctly called the Cotton Building) which provides lecture space, 20 (non-science) staff studies, and houses the Geology Department (thus easing space requirements in the Easterfield building; and on the construction of the Von Zedlitz building, which will provide theatre, classroom and seminar space, net staff accommodation of 89 studies and 150 new library places, as well as allowing the conversion of the whole of the Rankine Brown lower classroom floor to library use and the shifting of the English department to ease space problems within the library building itself. Such a programme, which would be ready for the 1974 academic session, would ease the accommodation problem by providing: 100 staff studies, 5 lecture theatres (capacities 350, 350, 200, 200, 150), 7 classrooms (capacity 80), 24 seminar rooms; relief to chemistry and Biochemistry departments by a relocation of Geology; and relief to the library by the relocation of English, the conversion of ground floor classrooms in the Rankine Brown to library use, and the provision of 150 new places in the Von Zedlitz building.