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Victoria University of Wellington 1899 ~ 1999 A History

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve

1 Report of VUCSA AGM, 27 June 1956, VC file 62: box 9D, P26.

2 Submissions to Committee on New Zealand Universities, 1959, p.211.

3 These included 214 donations from individuals (excluding staff), the largest being 250 guineas from Jack Ilott, and some 60 corporate donations ranging up to £1000.

4 VUCSA president to the convenor, Building Committee, 20 Aug. 1946, VC file 55: box 9D, P25.

5 He was, he stressed, not a ‘modernistic, futuristic, haywire experimentistic’, but ‘I should be sorry to think, if I fell out of an aeroplane somewhere over the Pacific, that I should descend to the waves beneath without page 412 raising my little pipe of a voice in this cause’. (J.C. Beaglehole to the principal, 16 June 1952, VC file 676: box 3G, R95/73.)

6 The apparent difficulties in the way of Plischke's appointment were, firstly, his employment by the Housing Corporation, but the State Services Commission was quite co-operative about allowing him to undertake a private job on the side; then, once Plischke had set up in private practice with Firth, whether the government would pay the subsidy if the university employed an unregistered architect (as Plischke was), but the advice was that it would. The fact that he was a foreigner, and an Austrian one, was certainly part of the equation; Ron Muston, who did design the building, was not only a New Zealander but a returned serviceman. (Auckland students, incidentally, had also protested when their university Council did not appoint Plischke to a new chair of design in the School of Architecture there in 1947.) Structon, however, was not a conservative choice. Muston also designed the NZ Racing Conference building (1959) on the corner of Wakefield and what is now Victoria Street.

7 The mezzanine floor, and the large windows that gave the building its airport-control-tower appearance, were added to the plans later at the request of the Students' Association for more space.

8 Salient, 7 Apr. 1961.

9 Evening Post, 18 Feb. 1970.

10 Evening Post, 11 Aug. 1956.

11 VUWSA AGM report, 1959, VC file 62.

12 Evening Post, 6 May 1968.

13 Annual report for 1951, Council minutes, 1952, p.122.

14 R. Bowman & M. Hill, ‘Preliminary analysis of data on students enrolling at Victoria University of Wellington, 1984’, unpublished paper.

15 ‘Know your university (2): How the students live and spend their leisure hours’, Evening Post, 1 Dec. 1962.

16 Salient, 6 Sept. 1954. Winter Tournament had begun in 1945.

17 Salient, 9 May 1957.

18 1992 Review of the Buildings and Sites Development Programme, 7 Dec. 1992, p.23.

19 The Middle District, No.2 (July 1958), p.9.

20 In truth, there was one letter of complaint. Exceptions to the staff lack of interest in university sport in more recent decades include Don Trow of Accountancy, Political Science's Bob Gregory, and most notably perhaps, English's ‘running professor’ Roger Robinson. Other factors in this trend – the decline of sport in university culture – are the growing diversity of sports and of other recreational activities; and the tendency of the clubs to become more closely associated with their sport than they had once been with the college (admitting non-student members, for example, and practising at other grounds).

21 ‘Why isn't Victoria playing the blues?’, Victorious, Summer 1994–95, pp.13–5.

22 J. Bertram, ‘Literary periodicals’, Spike, 1954, p.44.

23 Ibid., p.42; Salient, 16 Mar. 1950.

24 Salient, 7 Aug. 1952.

25 Con Bollinger, ‘Victoria and her university red … hotbed of socialism?’, Salient, 28 Feb. 1951.

26 Bollinger, ‘The noise of the battle: recent political activities at V.U.C.’, Spike, 1957, p.40.

27 Salient, 14 June 1956.

28 Salient, 18 Apr. 1957. Only 5.7% of people surveyed by psychology students in 1953 thought Victoria was a ‘hot-bed of socialism’. (N.M. Donald, A Survey of Public Opinion in Relation to the University, Wellington, 1953.)

29 Salient, 1 July 1953.

30 Salient, 13 Mar. 1958.

31 Salient, 12 July 1951, 1 July 1953. It was Peter O'Brien who resigned over the Gestetner machine.

32 Salient, 19 June 1958. That the paper itself sold only 500 copies per issue was further evidence of a lack of corporate spirit.

33 A statement was later issued, however, emphasising that this did not mean the university condoned draft-dodging. (Secretary of labour to the vice-chancellor, 30 Jan. 1962, VC file 564: box 3A, R95/50; Evening Post, 20 Feb. 1962.)

34 Dominion, 5 May 1962.

35 Salient, 10 Aug. 1950.

36 Salient, 24 July 1961.

37 Salient, 26 Feb. 1962.

38 Salient, 28 Feb. 1973.

39 D. Cullwick & F. Lavin, Food Consumption Attitudes and Behaviour of Students at Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, 1975, p.10.

40 Gazette, 4 Sept. 1970.

41 Salient, 4 May 1972.

42 I.H. Boyd, Student welfare services at Victoria University of Wellington: a note on the development of the services, Jan. 1965, VC file 1301: box 1B, R95/6.

43 Salient, 15 June 1950. (New Zealand Truth, Salient reported, declared the medical scheme proposal ‘fascist, communist, socialist, totalitarian’.)

44 Ian Fleming was the first medical director. Margaret Sparrow was appointed the second full-time doctor in the later 1960s, the start of a notable career in family planning and women's health.

45 The Student Welfare Services did not include (although they did support) the ecumenical chaplaincy. The first ecumenical chaplain at Victoria (John Murray) was appointed in 1962. This initiative came from the Wellington branch of the National Council of Churches, without formal involvement by the university because of its ‘strong secular tradition and of opposition from certain members of the university to any official recognition of religion’ (a tradition owing much to Hunter). P. Jennings, University chaplaincies in New Zealand, 1970, VC file 1201: box 1F, R95/20.

46 Allan Laidler, a graduate in physical education from Loughborough in England, replaced Landreth when he went to the Otago School of Physical Education in 1966.

47 Student Welfare Services, report of the director, July page 413 1975, VC file 2199: box 7C, R98/66.

48 New Zealand Truth, 26 Nov. 1963. The matron invited Truth journalists on a tour of inspection: ‘The scenes which met our eyes made the film Blackboard Jungle look like a Sunday School picnic.’ (This was not the first time Weir House had made the pages of Truth. It had done so in 1949, when Salient's article on the food also upset the college Council: a committee was appointed and changes to the management of the hostel followed.)

49 The Department of External Affairs had first requested in 1956 that Weir beds be reserved for Colombo Plan students, in preference to a separate hostel which would create ‘an Asian colony’.

50 Submissions to Committee on New Zealand Universities, p.215.

51 Taylor to S. Slater, 1 Mar. 1971, VC file 1154: box 1D, P2.

52 Report on survey of accommodation, 1965, Council minutes, 1966, p.703ff. The survey also examined travelling distance to the university (of considerable concern: a fifth of the students spent over an hour and a half travelling each day), and the availability of meals, heating, desks and laundry facilities.

53 Taylor to Culliford, 15 July 1971; to Major-General W.S. McKinnon (chairman of the Foundation's Follow-on Committee), 15 July 1971, VC file 1153: box 1D, P2.

54 Salient, 2 Mar. 1967.

55 Salient, 3 Oct. 1973. Although Bowen Street never did become a motorway on-ramp, the hospital and the nurses' home were demolished.

56 Evening Post, 23 June 1975.

57 Ian Boyd had seen this opportunity; architecture students drew up the plans for alterations, and students employed on the PEP (government-subsidised) job scheme carried them out.

58 J.S. Somerville to O'Brien, 17 May 1977, VC file 1165: box 1E, R95/16.

59 ‘University thinks girls could give lift to hostel’, Dominion, 23 Aug. 1977.

60 Salient, 14 Aug. 1952.

61 Salient, 3 Mar. 1954.

62 Evening Post, 5 Sept. 1956.

63 The editor in 1968 was Bill Logan, a well-known Wellington radical and occasional lecturer in Political Science in later years, while ‘noted campus Trotskyist’ Owen Gager was publications officer.

64 Evening Post, 18 Feb. 1970.

65 Salient, 2 Apr. 1964.

66 Salient, 1 Oct. 1962.

67 Salient, 25 Feb., 11 Mar. 1963. (For the record, the second of these editorials was not by Geoffrey Palmer but by another member of the Salient staff, R.G. Laking.)

68 Salient, 24 Feb. 1964.

69 P. Blizard to the vice-chancellor, 15 Nov. 1963, VC file 63: box 9D, P27.

70 Salient, 13 Apr. 1965.

71 Salient, 18 Feb. 1970.

72 Evening Post, 19 Oct. 1972. He left office not far into his second term to devote himself to ‘more direct political concerns’ (Salient, 27 Mar. 1974).

73 Evening Post, 27 June 1968. An estimated 520 students marched down from Kelburn to join the trade union demonstration at Parliament. The Students' Assocation president (Douglas White) commented in his annual report: ‘This demonstation and the incidents connected with the Australian High Commissioner's car and with the appearance of the Prime Minister caused the news media, particularly the press, to direct an unwarranted and bitter attack against students.’ The Post blamed the students for turning an otherwise orderly demonstration of some 2500 workers into ‘something which will long be remembered with shame as one of the most discreditable affairs in the history of this land’: ‘Nothing could have been better calculated to reinforce the already large and rapidly growing body of opinion which holds that the universities today harbour far too many scruffy no-hopers.’

74 Evening Post, 18 Feb., 20 May 1970.

75 Salient, 24 May 1972. The leaders of the PBEC protest were Rob Campbell (later known as a convert to the New Right) and Alick Shaw (anti-Springbok Tour activist and later restaurateur).

76 Dominion, 8 June 1972.

77 Evening Post, 21 June 1971, 4 Aug. 1970.

78 Taylor to J.T.L. Pike, 13 Apr. 1972, VC file 1316: box 6B, R95/138. The vote had been controversial on campus as well, precipitating a large Special General Meeting held outdoors in the Quad.

79 This was a compromise on the Council's part. It refused to put a crossing at the corner because poor visibility would make it too dangerous. An overbridge had also been under consideration.

80 Salient, 18 Feb. 1970.

81 A Salient editor resigned, briefly, in 1952, when the president of the association took offence at his comments on the dominance of law students on the executive.

82 Salient, 16 Mar. 1964.

83 Evening Post, 23 July 1970.

84 This arrangement was apparently negotiated by the Grand Establishment, a brief presence on the social scene in late 1960s, dedicated to dressing up and drinking.

85 Evening Post, 23 July 1970; Salient, 5 Aug. 1970.

86 Candy McGrath, education officer, in Salient, 11 June 1968.

87 Evening Post, 2 Apr. 1970.

88 Salient, 2 Mar. 1967.

89 Gazette, 5 Mar. 1971.

90 The university's Anglican chaplain predicted ‘a turning to drugs and to physical sex as a silent rebellion against the impersonal system’. He regarded protest as a healthier alternative. (Evening Post, 19 Oct. 1971.)

91 Gazette, 6 Aug. 1973.

92 For decades Harry Sansum diligently tracked down their biographical details, kept the honours board up-to-date, page 414 and put out an annual life members' circular, in the cause of ‘preservation of the dignity of Victoria (V.C., V.U.C. or V.U.W.) and promotion of the happiness of later generations of students’, until his death in 1981. (Life members' Circular No.1, 15 June 1971, Harry Sansum Papers, J.C. Beaglehole Room.)

93 There had been protest from the beginning. In 1963 the cultural affairs sub-committee passed the motion put by Helen Sutch and Cathie Benefield ‘that this committee finds the idea of a Miss Victoria contest repugnant’ (Salient, 16 Mar. 1963). In 1966 Salient featured four students who were refusing to enter. In fact one of them, Bobbi Menzies, won the contest and the Miss University title as well; another, Sue Kedgley, came third the following year, when her sister Helen won. The press had described the 1966 contest (organised by capping controller Douglas White) as the first; Salient, however, reported the 1962 contest as the first one in New Zealand.

94 Salient, 24 July 1978.

95 I.H. Boyd, The university union: an undervalued and underused asset – some reflections, 22 June 1982, VC file 2196: box 7C, R98/26. However, one activity that was on the increase in the union building in the 1970s, to the concern of the Students' Association, was gambling.

96 Evening Post, 8 May 1953.

97 The Evening Post fulminated about the students' efforts to have the ban reversed by ‘annoying, abusing, and threatening’ the councillor concerned: ‘Nothing more disgraceful than this has happened in Wellington recently.’ The chief offender was the association's men's vice-president, Tim Beaglehole. (Evening Post, editorial, 4 May 1954.) Incidentally the councillor, Stewart Hardy, was the same who had proposed the previous year moving the university to the site of Government House.

98 Salient, 28 May 1958; Evening Post, 9 May 1958.

99 Salient, 4 May 1960, 14 June 1956.

100 Salient, 8 June 1959.

101 Salient, 4 May 1960.

102 P. Blizard to the vice-chancellor, 15 Nov. 1963, VC file 3: box 9D, P27.

103 President's report to AGM, 1963–64, VC file 63.

104 Report of procesh controller, 1964, VC file 63.

105 Salient, 26 Apr. 1951.

106 Salient, 7 May 1969.

107 Letter from J.J. Williams, 12 May 1970, reprinted in Salient, 1 Mar. 1998.

108 Salient, 25 Jan. 1963, 30 Apr. 1969.

109 M. Smith, ‘The Ritual Humour of Students: Capping at Victoria University, 1902–1988’, PhD thesis, 1992.

110 Salient, 10 Sept. 1955.

111 J. Saker, ‘Victoria's all time 10 best shows’, Victorious, Summer 1996–97, pp.11–3.

112 Reverend I.W. Fraser to the chancellor, 8 July 1963, Lysistrata file, university archives L18/2, J.C. Beaglehole Room.

113 I.D. Campbell to Williams, 19 Nov. 1963, ibid.

114 Evening Post, 17 Mar. 1958.