Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 6, No. 6. May 26, 1943
1943 brought new highlights in the outspoken tradition of Undergraduates' Supper. Most notable of the student toasts were those to the Professorial Board, the exec., and the ladies.
Held this year upstairs in the Gymnasium, which was incidentally looking its best, the undergraduands and graduands (ostentatiously waving free tickets) and staff sat down to table. After a tactful pause during which a large amount of food disappeared, Mr. Boyd, chairman for the evening, called on the company to drink the Royal toast.
Mr. J. Winchester, in the first speech of the evening, rose to speak to the toast of the Professorial Board.
Mr. Winchester said that at Undergraduates' Suppers it had always been customary to slate the Professors for their laziness, timidity and general academic isolation. Mr. Corner had made these points last year. But the larger view was the only correct view.
Being a Professor at a New Zealand University does not pay as well as being even the poorest criminal lawyer or the phoniest public accountant.
Libraries were poor, laboratory facilities were wretched. There was no Sabbatical year. The staff were denied refreshing contacts with professional colleagues.
And as for their students. They had to lecture to audiences of over a hundred. Such conditions would have been disgraceful in the Middle Ages. Their pupils came to them at a very much lower age than they did to Universities in other countries. They came to the University after passing through the most elaborate and ingenious machine for destroying the natural enthusiasms of youth ever designed by the mind of man. He meant the New Zealand Secondary School system.
The fact that the Professors managed to get along at all was a great tribute to their devotion, and despite these conditions V.U.C. had on its staff men who brought distinction not only to our College but our country.
The only test for men and for institutions was what were they doing about Hitler.
How did the College staff measure up to this test? He thought very well. At the beginning of the war Sir Thomas had officially offered the facilities of the College to the Govt. This had been supplemented by personal offers of service from members of the staff, and now one staff member was lecturing 39 hours a week!
There were exceptions, Mr. Winchester pointed out. Deadbeats on the staff thought they could sit back and take things easy because they were not of age for military service and their classes had shrunk. Could the students throw stones? It was a flimsy glasshouse that some of them lived in. While older students could go on remaining indifferent to the rest of working and fighting New Zealand they had no come back.