Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 11, No. 1. February 27, 1948
Menace of the University Red
Menace of the University Red
"Salient" Reveals the True Nature of VUC Tradition
Salient through the year has been progressive. It has, of course, represented the opinions of those who have been interested enough and who have had sufficient energy to contribute articles, letters and criticisms.
Salient has never pretended to express everybody's views or to attempt to please everybody... It has an anti-fascist history of which we are proud—in 1938 for Loyalist Spain, and the treacherously attacked China—in 1938-39 against" the appeasement policy of Chamberlain—and today we support youth organizations who are building new democracies on the ruins left by fascist occupation armies. The majority of V.U.C. students, unfortunately, are apathetic, and large numbers do not appear either to have an opinion themselves, or to be interested in other peoples on important subjects.
In 1941, however. V.U.C. was unanimous. The Executive unanimously adopted the following manifesto, which was subsequently affirmed at a Special General Meeting of the Students' Association. On this occasion V.U.C. shook off its apathy and defended itself—at this period "Salient" did represent the views of all the students of the College.
A spectre is haunting New Zealand—the spectre of the University, Red. He is unpatriotic and addicted to foreign philosophies; his attitude to political and social problems is irresponsible and immature; he is defeatist and unwilling to defend his country against aggression.
Prague University, even under Czech democratic government, gained a certain notoriety for the "subversive" left-wing opinions of some of its students and lecturers. But when, shortly after the outbreak of war, the students drove the Nazi agents from the college and built barricades in the grounds, the Gestapo could not force its way into the college and had to call on the regular army for assistance. Eventually they shot a hundred students, sent many more to concentration camps, and closed the University. Perhaps this all goes to confirm the general opinion that university students are apt to advocate action when more mature minds would rather wait and that they are inclined to forget that these actions may have prejudicial effects on their future lives. All this is very true and it was, no doubt, pointed out at the time by the Czech Fascist organizations who had advocated the disciplining of Prague University for many years and who were now sensibly and loyally collaborating with the Nazis.
Similar things happened in Poland, Norway, Holland, and in all the occupied countries. Everywhere the Nazis found university students among their most irreconcilable enemies. Something of the same sort in China must have been responsible for the decision of the Japanese High Command to bomb universities as military objectives. As the Japanese explained, Chinese universities were hot-beds of communism.
It should not be difficult to understand the reasons for this hostility. It is not the cringers and lickspittles who fill the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald but people who think and who say what they think. Both of these dangerous habits are acquired at Universities, not by all students but by a sufficient number to give such places a bad name. Fascism, moreover, by the conditions of its existence is driven to implacable hostility to all true culture and learning.
It is unfortunately true that in every country there are people who fear the freedom of speech and thought possible in a democracy. Nowhere is this freedom greater than at a university and consequently no other institution is so vigorously attacked. While we have no desire to label patriotic but misguided citizens as fifth columnists we must observe that the religious and political extreme right-wing which is most hostile to the universities has not distinguished itself by its hostility to the Nazis in the occupied countries of Europe. This is readily understandable for they cannot be very enthusiastic about "The onward march of the common people of the world towards their just and true inheritance" for which the road will be clear when Britain and the USSR have smashed German Fascism.
Unless we are prepared to speak the truth as we see it even at the risk of losing what popularity we possess among such people we shall betray the cause for which over three hundred of our fellow-students are fighting in the Middle East. Not only would our cowardice in this matter play its part in destroying the democracy they are defending but it would certainly fail to assist in the war effort. In this connection it is interesting to compare the cruel and futile campaign for the persecution of pacifists that has been conducted by some organizations with the free and open discussion on this subjection that has been continued at V.U.C. throughout the war. The result has been that pacifism at this college has declined in the face not of persecution but of arguments of a superior logical force.
There were voices raised at this college to denounce the Reynaud Government when it savage and anti-liberal campaign was paving the way for the triumph of the men of Vichy and the surrender to the Nazis. Some of us expressed doubts as to the democratic principles of Baron von Mannerheim, "the champion of Finnish liberty in Hitler's phrase, who now marches with the Nazis. Some refused to join in abuse of the great nation whose armies are now, as Mr. Churchill puts it, "holding the bridgeheads of civilization." For all of these things we were attacked and for none of them we apologize. For on these matters the "University Reds" were right and their enemies wrong.
Therefore We, the Students of Victoria College, Deplore the Slanders which have from Time to Time been Brought Against us, and Pledge Ourselves to Maintain those Principles of Freedom for which British. Soviet, and Allied Youth are Giving their Lives.
(This manifesto was unanimously adopted by the Victoria University College Students' Executive, 2nd September, 1941. and was reaffirmed at a Special General Meeting of the Students' Association on the 18th September, 1941.)
No University Reds here
La vraie place de la femme, elle est a la maison, an foyer. Le role de la femme est cssentiellcment d'etre mere. Evidemment [unclear: ily] a des [unclear: Cemmes] qui, soil par vocation, soit par neces-site, choississent le celibat on elles peuvent faire un bien immense. Elles out toutes notre admiration. Mais dans [unclear: l'etat] normal des choses, la femme a etc creec pour etre compagne de homme el mere de ses en-fants. Qu'on se rapellc is passage de la Genese ou le divin createur institu-ait le mariage en memo temps qu'il posait une premiere regle de mathe-matiques. "Allez! Multipliez-vous! (Le Carabin. Journal Officiel des Etudiants de [unclear: 1'Universilc] Laval. Quebec.)
An Easy Winner
Sir Thomas Hunter, together with with local celebrities, Messrs. Hislop. Walsh and Appleton has consented to lake part in an "Ugliest Man" competition run by the Communist Party for Patriotic Funds.
June 7. 1944.