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Salient. Victoria University Students Newspaper. Vol. 38, No. 4, 1975

Courting Council

page break

Courting Council

Drawing of a castle

A joint ticket will be standing in opposition to present policies of the University Council when the Court of Convocation elections are held over the next two months.

At a meeting held just before nominations closed, it was agreed to approach three people to see if they would stand. Nicky Hill and Terry McDavitt agreed to do so; Graeme Collins declined on the grounds that having just Resigned from the Council in frustration he was in too negative a mind about the Council to stand. However, along with former Student Association president and member of Council committees, Peter Cullen, he was prepared to nominate candidates.

The ticket is circularising a statement on the present position among graduates and hopes to draw up a complete policy platform for the publication later. It has arranged a meeting on Sunday 16 April in the Board Room of the Student Union Building to discuss policy and campaign strategies.

'There are several areas of concern', said Terry McDavitt when Salient contacted him. 'Most obviously there is the building and planning programme of the University, which Salient backgrounded to some extent in its March 4 issue. In a contaxt of stabilising rolls and changing patterns in adult education we believe an expansionist building programme is ill-conceived. What we would like to see is a complete review of the future of the university. We would therefore oppose any plans for expansion until this review was completed.'

This leads on to direct concern about the plight of present residents living in or adjacent to university land. People here are facing the dismal prospect of not being able to carry out improvements without university approval while at the same time knowing that the university probably wants to acquire their property eventually. Much of the housing, particularly around Te Aro, is rented, and landlords are not especially keen to invest money in improving conditions for the tenants on a short term basis. Either way, the present resident is on the receiving end of the university stick.'

'And that leads on to our concern with the abysmal public relations of the university at the moment. Relations with Kelburn residents have never been especially good, but the way the Council has handled the Von Zedlitz project is an extraordinary example of how not to do things. Much the same could be said of the Hunter fiasco. We see the Council's performance over these issues as provocative and undignified, and are urging that the university immediately establish liaison with procedures with the local community.

'Speaking more personally, I have a particular concern too with curriculum and assessment procedures. I think the present way that internal assessment is administered at Victoria is anit-educational in effect. It merely increases everyone's workloads without as far as I can see significantly helping the learning process. We must remember that this affects staff just as much as students. I would never recommend going back to end-of-year exams but I would recommend much clearer definition of objectives, and the tailoring of assessment procedures to such objectives. I think that students must participate in the planning of objectives and course procedures if the assessments are to be in any way valid.'

'I suppose all these issues come back to how you see the university. Well, I certainly don't see it as a big, high-rise, overly formal, elite institution. I see it rather as one of the agencies of post-secondary education with special responsibilities for the development and maintenance of academic standards. I think bigness, density, formality, elitism and institutionalisation all work against that. So I would oppose the building programme for instance on educational as well as planning and environmental grounds.'