Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 6, No. 6. May 26, 1943
Great Student Congress next Year — N.Z.U.S.A. Wakes up
Great Student Congress next Year
N.Z.U.S.A. Wakes up
Most N.Z.U.S.A. Conferences are pretty sterile affairs. The two days every year are generally spent in petty bickering over trifling formalities. In contrast, this year's Conference, held here the week-end before last, was like a breath of fresh air. Delegates really got down to the sort of business they should always be tackling. Credit for this is mostly Victoria's. Need for a Student Congress, Affiliation of Training Colleges, Increase in Boarding Bursaries, Student Representation on Senate, Election of Representative Graduates to Senate, Cutting out of Long Vacations during the War—all these items on the agenda were brought up by our delegates, Miss Ann Eichelbaum and Messrs. M. L. Boyd and J. W. Winchester.
To put first things first. A Student Congress is to be held next Easter. Here if possible. Conference was unanimous on this. It will be the biggest thing in the history of the University.
Just what is intended? As outlined in Mr. Boyd's report it is this—the largest and most representative Congress of the students of the country that can be got together. For what? First, to discuss "The Student and the Answer to Fascism." Everything now must and can only follow from this.
How will the conference go about it? This remains to be thrashed out by the preliminary committees which will be set up in each College and Training College.
Follow British Lead
Roughly, it will take the lines of the famous British Conference of the National Union of Students at Cambridge last year. 1,500 students from 85 universities and colleges, one in seventeen of all the students in the country, attended that.
|1.||The immediate answer.
|2.||The long term answer.|
In general the Congress came to the conclusion that the long term answer to Fascism lay in the building of a society in which those anomalies and injustices on which Fascism thrives did not exist.
Faculty Committees were set up in Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine. Social Science, Education, Architecture and Agriculture. They asked themselves what they could do to fight Fascism; what they could do to produce a society in which bestial Fascism would find no place.
Famous British public men, Mr. J. B. Priestly, Mr. John Hadham, and Professor J. B. S. Haldane addressed the Congress.
Our Congress here would go much the same way.
Problems which delegates see will, require particular reference are those of Rehabilitation, Utilisation of Science Students, Representation on the governing bodies of the University.
It is clear that a tremendous amount of spade work has to be done in the Colleges. This must start right away. The task of the Congress is to put the students of New Zealand on the map, to say for youth what nobody else will say for it.
An immediate suggestion for improving the students' present participation in the war effort was brought up also by V.U.C. Cut out the Long Vacation! How ridiculous it is, we pointed out, that science students should be working In freezing works or lifting hay during three months of the year. If they were at the University they were there because they were doing specialised work, so important that it necessitated their withdrawal from the armed forces. Their job was to do scientific work and they should be kept at it.
Otago pointed out that they had taken this matter up with the Minister of Health three years ago and had had no response at all.
If the Long Vacation were dropped a science course of four years could be cut to three.
Monetary compensation would have to be made, of course.
It was resolved that a deputation of N.Z.U.S.A. approach the Minister of Manpower and Health to ensure better utilisation of students in war time, with special reference to the cutting out of the Long Vacation.
Bursaries too Small
Boarding Bursaries.—V.U.C. pointed out that though every other class of worker, including teachers. Training College students and University lecturers, had received the increased cost of living allowance, the bursars had not. It was they who needed it most. It was also pointed out by Auckland that the bursaries were in any case laid down some years ago and made no allowance whatsoever for the very greatly increased cost of living, let alone that represented by the C.L.A. The Government is to be approached.
A report of the sub-committee set up at last year's conference and made up of Durie Maysmor and Jim Winchester, was presented. The points It made were that the problem of rehabilitation is, and must necessarily remain for some time in flux.
The Government has brought down a scheme of free tuition of various kinds and liberal special and postgraduate bursaries. This has been published. Nevertheless the regulations so far drafted do lack precision. No mention is made of the conditions, under which the various bursaries are to be held. No clear selection procedure is laid down. There is no indication as to what extent the bursaries are to be made available.
Lincoln pointed out that they were certainly not being made available to every ex-serviceman. There were seven at Lincoln. One had a £5/5/- a week bursary and the others had nothing. They couldn't find out why.
Auckland said they had an ex-serviceman who wanted to take a diploma course. He was told that monies were not available for those who wish to take diploma courses. But Lincoln pointed out that all their ex-servicemen are taking diploma courses.
Among eligibility conditions that must be satisfied before applications for bursaries can be considered is the proviso that the ex-serviceman or woman must have served for at least twelve months. We feel that as it is very likely that servicemen may be in action under that period it would be most unjust to deprive them of the benefits of the scheme. The section requiring that the ex-serviceman or woman make application within three years of discharge, we feel, might also be deleted. Many wounded will not recover for many years after this war. They will want to take up free studies when they do. This bars them. It must be deleted.
It was also thought rather stiff that those who held post-graduate and special bursaries under the scheme should be expected to serve with the New Zealand Government for three years after their termination. These conditions did not apply to post-graduate bursaries awarded during peace time and it was not right that conditions should be any stiffer for rehabilitated men. They didn't owe the Government anything. The people of this country had a debt to pay them.
The endeavours being made by the Senate to lighten the amount of degree work that will be required of men taking professional degrees by jettisoning some of their non-professional subjects was welcomed.
Science Students on War Work Overlooked
There was a class of students, the report goes on to say, which are being overlooked so far as rehabilitation benefits are concerned. These are those students, mostly Science graduates, who have been called up for work in Radio Location, etc. In many cases they have been forbidden to enlist. Many of them were taking other courses than the course in radio-physics that they are doing now. Something should be done to ensure that they have a chance to take up the Sciences they are really interested in after the war.
Conference decided to set up a Permanent Committee made up of Durie Maysmor, Jim Winchester and Dr. Blair to keep an eye on rehabilitation matters during the year.
Should the Training College Students' Associations be affiliated to N.Z. U.S.A.? Victoria thinks so. Mind, this does not mean the affiliation of the Training College Student Associations in the various centres with their local University College Student Associations. We hope to see that later. But we did not press for it at the Conference.
Our Case. In Britain and in South Africa Training Colleges are affiliated to the National Union of Students, and the National Union of South African Students is one of the two liveliest Student Federations in the Empire. Everything that goes for them should go for us.
Anything that helps to make N.Z. U.S.A. the voice of all New Zealand students is to be welcomed. The Training Colleges have no national body of their own. N.Z.U.S.A. could be that body, could help voice those grievances which their present weak and disorganised position prevents them taking up.
The advantage of collaboration in the sporting field needs no mention.
What was the reaction to our proposal? Stupid and childish prejudice.
Otago thought that the T.C. students were of a very much lower intellectual standard. They had no Interest in the corporate life of the University. They were very much against it The Training College students could form their own national organisation. If there was affiliation the little interest shown already by T.C. students in University affairs would decrease.
C.U.C. saw "no real need for combining."
A.U.C. "no real advantage."
To the contemptible suggestion that T.C. students were of a lower intellectual standard than Varsity ones, V.U.C. replied that it was very much harder to get into T.C. than into Varsity. Not only were the academic requirements stiffer, the entrance age was higher, and students had to pass a rigorous character and physical examination before entry.
V.U.C.'s experience did not at all bear out the remark that T.C. students were not interested in College affairs. Our last three Presidents had all been T.C. students, for example, and this was typical of the participation of young teachers in Varsity affairs.
As V.U.C. was met with this wall of opposition we had to withdraw our motion, but we shall peg away till we get it through.
In the meantime we must show how fruitful collaboration between T.C. and Varsity can be, by making our relations even closer than they have been in the past.
We have a representative on the College Council here. Is it not time that the N.Z.U.S.A. nominated a student representative on the University Senate? Conference thought so and is to move.
Reform of the Senate by the election of responsible Graduates approved by N.Z.U.S.A. is also to be investigated.
There was a long discussion on student health with very valuable suggestions from Otago. This is to be taken further.
Joynt Scroll is an annual debating contest between the six Colleges. It will be held this year at Massey.
A message was received from the S.C.M. To be quite frank, it was so woolly that delegates didn't know what to do about it even though they were all prepared to consider it sympathetically. It was decided to "receive" it. "Salient" prints it elsewhere in this issue.
- President: Mr. J. B. C. Taylor (C.U.C).
- Hon. Secretary: Miss Janet Bogle.
- Hon. Treasurer: Mr. Myer Goldstone.