Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 7. April 20th, 1950
No Man's Land
No Man's Land
I have been a part time student at two other colleges in N.Z. and it may be interesting to record the first impressions of a stranger to Wellington and to Victoria.
Perhaps because the general body of students are not fresh from secondary school, there is a noticeable difference in attitude to lectures and lecturers. It is unusual but a good sign to hear discussion from the floor of the hall in a stage 1 lecture. I think that there more use is made, too, of the lecturers as tutors. They seem to be always accessible, and very easily approached and questioned.
"Salient" as "an organ of student opinion" seems to prove that all types of controversies, both national and international are being discussed in the college. The columns of the paper seem to be open to both parties and their comments or criticisms; how well it accepts similar criticisms of its editorial policy I don't know.
I have spent more time here between lectures than I have at other colleges—yet I have seen less people here who were just enjoying leisure for discussion or "sociableness." Perhaps when these new buildings eventuate it will be different. May I here support those who plead for a large and friendly Caf? It is a safety valve for students' theories, politics and general high-spirits. Most of all for comradeship.
But the most striking thing at VUC is its close connection with the city and community life as a whole. Perhaps because of the large percentage of part-timers, city events must affect varsity life more closely. But I feel that it is more deliberate than this. Victoria has made a point of keeping in contact with all aspects of city life, which affect citizens as much as students. These are fearlessly discussed within the college. I cannot tell how far the college has made the university part of the community, yet.
While this attribute of "awareness" is a praiseworthy one, I think that you have forfeited what I can only call University atmosphere. Admittedly a university can become an isolated community, interested only in intellectual theorising. But below that certain "smugness" there should be an atmosphere of leisure, a tradition that 12,000 miles and a colonial attitude cannot obliterate entirely.
I feel that in its attempt to be practical and up to date, VUC has lost something which sets a university apart from any other centre of learning. If VUC could achieve a balance between tradition and progress then it would be a unique university in NZ and would lend a service to the community and to this country.
(This letter exceeds 250 words. Presumably the writer had not noted the restriction. We have allowed it because we did not wish to allow the praise but cut out the blame. If the comment "how well it accepts a similar criticism of its own editorial policy" is a criticism of our editorial policy, then we accept it as such.—Ed.).
Contra Partia . . .
Your leader in the 23rd's issue. Successful world government would mean the ear-marking of the word for the historian's leisured disposal and perhaps the birth of a neolithic age in world morals.
But when will the global government be born. We must be frank, realistic, about this. Idealism is only one answer; the insurmountable barrier is what the average man is thinking in Mexico, Germany, Liberia. We wouldn't like it in this country if they made the English of a bilingual New Zealand the companion to Afrikaans nor if we had to give our employers the deified respect that still lingers in England. How would San Francisco react if the phlegmaticism of our welfare state were suddenly enforced—ideal living standards carried to absurdity by excessive legislation; or instead of healthy high-pressure competitiveness, there existed an apathy for politeness and fast service owing to the fear of servility.
This is admittedly rather far fetched. A world government would make certain allowance for different modes of living and a nation's geographical adaptation etc. Despite this however, people would still be apprehensive of losing cherished national customs. The world is still a mass of planets separated by many light years, and the saturated nationalism of some inhabitants practically immovable. No global constitution has any possibility of being effected under these conditions and none will until people realise the futility of highly respected patriotism.