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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 35 No 5. March 29, 1972

Accommodation From Inside

Accommodation From Inside

In the first edition of Salient this year those that had the time and patience may have actually read past the first couple of sentences of Richard Norman's article on the housing shortage.

Reading this article I could not help but feel that after trying to get the "Freak Brothers" full page funnies removed from Salients' layout Norman had been hard put to fill in the vacant space. Quite frankly I find the Freak Brothers more interesting and intelligent.

In Norman's article he never really offered any concrete solutions. Any mug can list the problems. What is wanted is a couple of thoughts as to how the problems can be overcome.

It would be impossible for me to go through the whole of Norman's article and show just how many crude mistakes he made factually and logically what I would like to do however, is to take up the point he made about boarding hostels.

Norman is quite prepared to rubbish hostel systems and then to continue to bewail lack of boarding space. Surely the solution is to build more hostels. This provides high density housing close to the campus and is especially good for first year students. As Norman pointed out in his" 'feature' there has been a move against the hostel system in the last 6 years, especially among the older members of the Varsity. This I believe is based on two incorrect but commonly held beliefs that hostels are firstly more expensive, secondly, that they are run like boarding schools. It is true that some of the hostels appear very expensive (eg. Weir House, Victoria House) but others (Helen Lowry, and various church run hostels) are cheaper. Also people forget when they are comparing flat rents to hostel rents that it is pointless to compare the basic rates. The $12.50 a week in a hostel includes food, meals etc whereas in a flat one is required to furnish sometimes, usually pay for some maintenance and always pay for food, electricity, gas, and telephone. Flats have often to be rented throughout the Christmas Vacation by those that want to retain a home.

Now to the second point that hostels are run like boarding schools. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are usually very few rules and regulations in the varsity run hostels and I personally know of many flats where there are more restrictions giving the residents probably far more bargaining powers than most flat renters. There are also other fringe benefits of the hostel system:-proximity to the campus being one. This means that you have less travel time to and from lectures and that often means that you can take a more active part in Varsity functions, or get a parttime job, without occupying half your spare time.

The collecting together of students creates a cornunity atmosphere near the campus, perhaps not a community of the type J.K. Baxter would envisage, but nevertheless in a similar kind of grouping. Norman's other hang-up and I have it from the Horse's mouth is [unclear: apathy] the Varsity. Surely the hostel system is one of the best methods solving the shortage of lodgings and promoting active participation in campus life.

Professor CD. Darlington F.R.S. "History of Society: The Evolution of Race, Class and Culture from Australopithecus to the Present Day". [unclear: 8.15 pm] Thursday April 20.