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

No Man's Land — Letter of Resignation

No Man's Land

Letter of Resignation

Dear Sir,

Following the decision made last night by the Executive to inquire into and if possible inviting the Very Rev. the Dean of Canterbury to lecture under the Association's auspices, I must tender my resignation as President of the Association to take effect as from midnight tonight. This time is selected in order not to inconvenience the running of tonight's staff-student function in any way.

I view such an invitation as necessarily implying sponsorship by the inviting body. This to me presumes acceptance of the man's views, or, of him as a person possessing wide general appeal to students as such whom they have no alternative opportunity of hearing. To me the latter is not applicable in this case for the reasons later discussed and because he can be heard otherwise, while I cannot, associate myself officially with an organisation sponsoring their particular views in this fashion. I consider that executive members must act as trustees of the interests and good names of Association members in such matters. I further consider that the majority of those who elected me would be opposed to the invitation on the grounds set out. In addition it is liable to cause friction about the Executive giving the name of the whole Association to an action liable to weaken it by splitting when cooperation between all sections still needs so much to be built Up.

I consider that our members would be opposed to the invitation to the Dean as he is likely to use it to propagate his and a few other's peculiar views about peace. These views are well known to all who can read, and it is hard to see what new knowledge could be gained by listening to such a lecture. They are based on absolute mental, moral, and political submission to a structure of society which I am sure is opposed by the majority of our members. I consider that the Association's members do not, at least the majority of them, support such an idea of "peace at any price" even though they may be prepared to hold and should do so that peace is the good to be striven for. Nor I feel are most students of the College disposed to regard as warmongers those whom the Dean so regards. Rather are they likely to hold the contrary opinion.

These remarks are set out [unclear: at some] length as I feel they are the basis of my argument in this matter, although there are also other issues I will not deal with. If a definite policy of inviting celebrities or notorieties is to be embarked on, the matter might be different but that does not appear to be the case, while I do not feel this invitation is the most suitable to start such a series. I feel the matter in this case is more a matter for interested societies as has been the case with public figures in the past.

My impression of the Executive action was that a section was supporting the idea as part of a carefully worked out world plan to play on peoples feelings in a distorted fashion for propaganda purposes, while the other section in support seemed to feel it was a bright idea so let's do it without considering its effect inside or outside the Association. This latter attitude strikes me as most irresponsible. I consider the matter as of great importance and consequently needing very careful consideration.

Personally I have tried to work for the Association in spite of decisions to which I am opposed in principie, but I feel this latest action makes it impossible for me to do so any longer. To appear to countenance this decision seems to involve any often expressed attitude about the province of Association affairs, and consequently my duty is to the members who elected me, as well as my personal point of ivew on these matters. It would have been a matter of satisfaction to complete a term of office which has been marked by some successes in student interests, but the other issues involved appear to outweigh points of personal satisfaction.

My resignation, I think, involves my membership of the Physical Education Committee of the Council and the position of Extravaganza Organiser. I am prepared to continue in these while required, but I feel the Executive should be given the chance to consider them so I place these positions in the Executives' hands. I feel an Extrav. organiser needs full Executive authority and I would be happy to act as assistant or deputy to anyone appointed. My withdrawal would not jeopardise the show as the organisation is well under way and merely needs supervision coupled with the dealing with emergencies.

Of course positions on Executive sub-committees are automatically vacated, and I expect that such offices as the new committee set up last night are more of a personal nature. I will also be happy to assist with the redrafting of the Constitution to provide for a Treasurer.

These ajustments will I feel result in the minimum of dislocation and that is the important matter.

I am,

Yours faithfully,

K. B. O'Brien.