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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 3 May 28, 1942

1942 Capping Ceremony Ltd — Editorial

1942 Capping Ceremony Ltd


We are not so very much surprised that the Council chose to ignore the representations of its only responsible member.

Nor are we very much taken aback by the Council's studied inattention to the wishes of the Students' Association and to the wishes of all the graduands.

And we can hardly say that we are astonished at the trivial, farcical, and always contradictory, explanations which those Council members approached gave for the decision to abandon Capping this year in the Town Hall.

We haven't become heated either at being accused of "rebellion," of "subversion," of "action which savours very much like the setting up of a dictatorship.

Interesting and delightful as these things are in revealing the attitude of mind of some of our intellectual Bourbons, we have, over the years, come to expect them and, because there is no help for it to resign ourselves to them.

No, what saddens us is this. An opportunity has been missed which will not come again.

Surely, surely, of all the years that we've had Capping, this year demanded a dignified public ceremony.

Our graduands, many of them soldiers, all of them having won their degrees unedr conditions infinitely more difficult than any of their predecessors, had the right to expect it.

But, above all, such a ceremony was necessary to correct any impression that the University is a bystander in this war.

To reassert that it is we, above all other sections of the community, whose clear and plain duty it is to direct all our actions and all our thoughts to the destruction of Fascism which, by its very nature, is the mortal enemy of all the humanities, of all true science.

To show how deeply we feel, indeed, that the whole struggle is to determine no less, whether or not, free universities in a free society shall go on.

And again, because there are no academic ceremonies this year at Prague, at Belgrade, at Cracow, Louvain, at Kiev, wasn't it all the more imperative that there should have been one here—in the Capital of one of civilisation's last bastions? Because over so much of the world the best hearts are broken, and the wisest voices are silenced, wasn't it all the more necessary that there should have been a ringing statement in defence of that independence of the mind, that deep-felt consciousness of the essential dignity of the human spirit, for which our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, who were students here and will be students here again, and our academic friends everywhere, struggle?

Had the Capping ceremony this year been such a demonstration it would have been a trumpet call in the fight.

We are hurt and we are worried that it was not.