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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11., No. 9. 28th July 1948

Students And Community

page 6

Students And Community

Sir Thomas Hunter spoke to the S.C.M. recently on the "Responsibilities of the New Zealand University Student to the Community." This depended, he said, on the true function of the university. This true function consists in the detached and disinterested pursuit of truth, which means that there is no propaganda in the worse of the modern senses of the term, in the university. More fully the true function means that the university should seek, first, to carry on the world's intellectual heritage, to be a guardian of truth for posterity. Secondly, it must free the human mind, that is, it must teach, but must do more than teach; it must develop mature critical discrimination. Thirdly, it must carry on research in the widest sense of that word, in as many branches of knowledge as is possible.

Clearly the student must take full advantage of such a university to the fullness of himself and of the community. Primarily, the student must make full use of his opportunities to acquire knowledge, attain wisdom and develop his personality. But the student must not rest content with this. There is an obligation on every member of the university, students and teachers, to make a contribution to the university. Obviously, achievement here falls far short of the ideal. By a diligent and proper participation in university life the student should develop a sensitivity to moral values. With this sensitivity he should be able to recognize a good man when he meets one. With this his education the student should develop his mental self-reliance, develop the courage of his convictions. Then he will be truly man: capable of individual action. But it is equally essential that the student preserve an open mind, that faculty for always allowing his thinking to receive new impressions, ideas, and ways of acting. There is no place for prejudice, neither in the university nor in the minds of any of its students. With this is most commonly linked that common virtue of toleration. A common virtue, perhaps, but without it there can be no university, no unity in diversity, no community. The person who takes his university training in the light of these attitudes and values of the university will be the student who because he is possessed of these qualities, is a person fit for membership of the community. With such people can the good society be built.