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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 6, No. 6. May 26, 1943

Hon. Mention for Hunter — Ivory Towers Outdated

Hon. Mention for Hunter

Ivory Towers Outdated

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.

Such Honourable Mention

Sir Thomas stated that it was the first time to his knowledge that the staff had received "such honourable mention," and considered the rest deserved it. N.Z. conditions in the Colleges were far from ideal. Lecturing was overdone, staffing inadequate. "We have our fights," but the attitude between students and staff was easy, he stated.

Student Union

He looks for the day when a Students' Union would be formed—student management was efficient, as shown by the caf.—they'd be able to conduct their own buildings. Students overseas still had cause to remember V.U.C. with the parcels received. "I'm not going to say the staff don't make mistakes. We're not angels yet," said Sir Thomas, but on the questions of rehabilitation the staff and Students' Association could work together to make up for the years lost in fighting at the front. He looked to the day of a Student Union Building and Undergraduands' Supper held there.

The supper continued momentously, then Gib and his boys gave a tuneful(?) rendering of "Carry me back to old Noo Zlland"—an excerpt from the previous night's show.


Mr. R. Daniells, claiming immaturity in after dinner speeches, told us that the only successful one he knew was: "All right, dear, III do the dishes," and went on to say (re the Grads.), "I watched their progress with interest," and urged them to remember "the letters after your name are not a complete passport to fame." He stated his view that today war affects the student section of the community very vitally. The desolation of Polish Universities, which used to house 45,000 students, by Nazi professors, and students gave us an incentive to use knowledge worthily.


Mr. McCaskill stated (re his great age) that he could see an ex-primary school pupil of his among he audience—not that he wished to be ostentatious! Also Midas touched his mother-in-law for a taxi; and after an incredible series of puns spoke of students who made good or went to Training College.

"Gaudeamus" was sung with fervour, especially the first verse, which everyone appeared to know.


"Tonight I am hurling brickbats; last year I was dodging them," said Mr. D. Cohen, proposing the toast to the Exec. Our freedom here contrasted painfully with students in occupied territory. This war is not remote from us, but real and near as fascism is the deadly enemy of all culture and institutions such as ours. The Government has demonstrated its confidence in students by excusing many of them from military service. "The duty of students is to study; study as never before."

The Exec, as student leaders, should be aware of this position—their own criteria should be: for the war effort. The Exec. should rally the students, not wallow in their wake. How does the Exec. measure up? When will they put the war on their agenda? Ivory towers are of the past. Gone are the days when V.U.C. students can consider themselves apart from the trials, defeats and victories of the N.Z. people. I.S.S. days and parcels to soldier-students were moves in the right direction, Mr. Cohen stated, "therefore not in condemnation but in exhortation I give you 'The Executive.'"


Mr. M. L. Boyd, in reply, stated that the Exec. was remembering the war, and endeavoured to foster social and cultural activities. He commended the social committee and thanked Sir Thomas for his co-operation.

"Brahms' Rhapsody" and a Roumanian Gipsy Dance, "Hora Staccatto," were played by Mr. Johnson.

The Ladies

Mr. W. Rosenburg with his usual gallantry first wished to propose the toast to the ladles who made the very excellent supper. After an anecdote or two and pointing out that women are for ever referring to "these Gothic Halls" and co-ed V.U.C. as bringing beauty and agreeableness, told us that he does not believe in "the weak sex." He told us of a lady friend who learned ju-jitsu—most effectively, it seemed! After saying a woman was superior in moral strength, the speaker ruined the chivalry of this remark by further amendments. "The ladies are the life," he concluded; "we all want a peaceful, better world after the war; we want their co-operation."

Mrs. Mary Boyd regarded the toast as a gesture of co-operation. Women needed it, in everyday life, in their fight for equal pay and as they are in every sphere of life today.

Aeolean Chorus was then sung.

Absent Friends

Mr. L. Stark spoke of those in Tunisia, Britain, the Pacific, risking and giving their lives for truth and justice; the [unclear: students] on home defence, essential work and otherwise kept away, and in proposing the toast looked to the day when darkness would be vanquished and the students return to V.U.C.