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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 8. April 27th, 1950

The Majority of those . .

page 2

The Majority of those . . .

When President K. B. O'Brien resigned, he must have known that many of the reasons given in his letter of resignation were off the mark so far as the rest of the Executive were concerned.

It is so fatally easy for the ordinary student—who takes an interest in such things only when they are brought to his notice in a startling fashion—to assume that this is a case of "the man of principle" being forced by a "Communist dominated executive" to resign to get away from it all.

We don't suggest for a moment that the ex-president didn't resign on what he considered principle: he did not feel strongly enough about it at the original meeting even to have his dissent recorded, but we suppose that he felt the Executive erred in not holding his view. But it would be lamentable if the students then proceeded to assume—as the movers of the motion to be raised at the SGM must have known they would assume—that the Executive was "Red." The fact is that most of the present Executive are people who, rightly or wrongly, would probably feel themselves hurt to be called Communist.

A lot of straight thinking is going to be necessary at the meeting: so many side issues have already grown round it.

The main questions are, first whether the Executive had the right to take the action it did, and second, whether their motives in so doing were justified.

We can only presume that the Executive did students the justice to consider that they would be interested to hear the Dean, even if they didn't agree with his views, necessarily. The issues with which he is concerned are extremely live ones, and it would be tragic if students wanted to hear only people whose views they liked. The Executive has been censured for "lending the name of the College to one with whose views the majority are not necessarily in agreement," to summarise one if its opponents. This is quite silly; Salient lends its name to views with which neither its editor nor the majority of its readers may agree. Every association at some time will invite along a speaker with whom its members will disagree. Surely the Executive is not committed to a policy of supporting anyone, because they invite him here to speak? Too many facile assumptions are being made as to what the "majority of the students" in this place like or don't like. The Executive was quite justified in taking the action it did, and it is entitled to have its actions examined on reasonable grounds. In fact, since the present policy of the Association as expressed at AGM's is interested in such issues, the Executive can well argue that it was only pursuing Association policy in asking the Dean up here to discuss them.

Nothing will do more damage to "the good name of the college" than a repetition of the 1948 affair: for that reason we can but hope that the meeting will take the issue on its own merits and refuse to be stampeded into uniformed criticism