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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 1. February 28, 1951

Swan Song

page 2

Swan Song

It may appear strange to freshers that the first issue of Salient that they read is also the last in a 13-year-old tradition. Nonetheless it is the regrettable truth. An Editor who has not "come up through the ranks" of Salient is going to be put in charge. Many arguments, some sound, many anachronistic, and all fervent, were advanced for the proposed new broom which is to sweep up Salient's faults. But most of those arguments could be reduced to just one fact—the arguers do not like the policy of Salient.

Let us study that policy. It arose from a strong movement in the college that was dubbed the "University Red." Something of that tradition appears on the front page. The University Red was the University counterpart of the Popular Front of the thirties, which united "progressive" forces against the threat of Fascism and militant right-wing organisations. When Salient was born, its policy was internationalist and left-wing. It wanted to point the urgent necessity for students to look beyond the walls of their college. It was a vital need, and Salient reflected that vitality.

Times have changed. Since the end of the war, trends in the international sphere have made their influence felt in the University. Pressure groups, grown up within the college, have imported a brand of "cold war" into student affairs. The Socialist Club, originally formed to unite the adherents of all forms of radical thought, has acted strongly, and caused a strong reaction. Its unity has been attacked by those pressure groups which would like to see its disintegration. Its posters have been mutilated—"Socialist" crossed out and "Communist" inserted—in order to intimidate members and prospective members by identifying them with the object of all the accumulated political hate of the daily press and of the unthinking, emotional, and ignorant criticism of the fearful post-war masses.

The University Red is not, just a member of a Party, Communist or otherwise. He may be a communist, socialist, anarchist, labourite, or just a plain liberal. He may be a clear-headed thinker or a muddled "agin the Government" man who hates intolerance or misused authority wherever he finds it. He is not necessarily a Marxist, nor a materialist. His religion might be anything or nothing. But his enemy would like to lump him into a single category and attach to him all the present emotionalism conjured up by the word "Communist."

Apart from such inhibiting factors as a hurried lay-out meeting on a Friday night, we hope that this issue is in the true Salient tradition. That tradition we introduce to you on page 1. We try to give proof of our aim to interest the student in events outside our own walls—we present cases of intolerance and racial discrimination in Canterbury University College, and in a South African University. You can do something about both cases. We introduce you to student organisations linking us with students everywhere.

We hope too, that we are keeping up Salient's proud tradition of topical interviews, for we tell you of Professor Rhodes and Mr. Dulles as they appeared to our reporters. In fact we give two slants on Professor Rhodes—one which criticises him for what he didn't do to suit the writer, and one which gives a fair report of a meeting, and a subsequent interview. The account of Mr. Dulles Press meeting is refreshing after the spate of newspaper reports kow-towing to the fateful emissary. When pressure is brought to bear on the New Zealand Government to approve the re-arming of Japan, remember that Salient was one of the few papers to doubt some of Mr. Dulles' assurances.

We are proud of Salient's policy and hate to sing its swan song.