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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 6. June 7, 1951

"Student Needs and Student Deeds" — Is ISS the Answer?

page 6

"Student Needs and Student Deeds"

Is ISS the Answer?

I. S.S. has had a workday, a debate has been held in its honour and various srort articles have appeared in 'Salient.' Here we analyse the his various short articles have appeared in 'Salient.' Here we analyse the history and present set up of Student Relief and pose the question "Are ws following: the best path in our endeavour to help students in other lands who cannot always help themselves."


Therefore let us examine the International Student Service. Formed in the early 1920's it was concerned from an early date with a three-point programme:
1.Material relief.
2.Research on University problems.
3.Education for International Understanding.

During World Wra II a new demand for material relief arose and in co-operation with the World Student Christian Federation of Pax Romana I.S.S. established in 1940 the European Student Relief Fund which was expanded under the name of World Student Relief in 1943 when China was added to the orbit of relief work. In 1947 the International Union of Students was added as a fourth constituent of WSR and the World Union of Jewish Students became the fifth constituent in 1949. Throughout the history of ESR and WSR, ISS provided administrative facilities and staff and continued some activities other than material relief although these were drastically curtailed.

"The Split"

However, believing that emergency needs created by the war were receding ISS proposed on August 1949 that WSR and ISS should be merged on the completion of the WSR agreement in September, 1950. in this view they were supported by Pax Romana and WSCF. The World Union of Jewish Students did not commit itself while IUS strongly opposed the proposed change.

The disagreement between the two groups on the future of WSR led to the collapse of that body and its replacement by two organisations each administering relief. The major reasons for disagreement were:—

"Material Relief of Total Needs"

1. Desire of ISS to undertake conference seminars, study tours, etc. as well as material relief. Funds for financing these projects come from the same source as do funds for relief as Dr. Wolantls, General Secretary of ISS, explained. "It had quite naturally proved more difficult to finance the cultural aspect of the programme because WSR, in Its appeal for funds for material relief tended to draw upon the source of funds for educational relief which had traditionally supported the ISS." (Minutes of WSR Executive, October, 1949). ISS maintained that the Emergency need for concrete relief in the form of food, clothnig, medicines, books and equipment was gone. The Total Needs' of the Students should now be catered for. IUS denied this, claimed that material need was still most urgent,'should be continued in WSR and that any other activities as proposed by ISS should be carried out by them separately in a separate organisation.

Representation and Unanimity

2. IUS maintained that members of the governing body of WSR must be delegates of constituents and responsible to them. ISS, WSCF and Pax Romana maintained that the governing body must be composed not of delegates responsible to constituents but of Individuals selected from the milieux of represented bodies. The principle of unanimity was also a dividing Issue. The minutes of the Executive Committee of WSR August 2-4 1946 London (P7) state "the principle of unanimity was generally considered to be impracticable and agreement could usually be reached upon a compromise based on common sense." IUS maintained that on policy matters unanimity in effect should apply.


However, only once 'since 1946 did the IUS members of the Executive have to vote against a decision of the majority of the Executive Committee of the WSR. That was when in January 1949 the representatives of ISS, Pax Romana and WSCF supported a decisoin to allot the allocation for the whole year for relief to the Philippines to pay a permanent staff member in the Philippines despite the obvious fact that the field worker had nothing to distribute, his salary absorbing the whole allocation and that according to the programme of action for Philippines the students needed books. Therefore it was clear that the decision to pay "a young Roman Catholic professor or university leader" to be found by World Student Service Fund (US) and Pax Romana and sent to Philippines had nothing to do with needs of relief of Philippine students. The IUS representatives voted against this in order to make clear their opposition to the use of relief funds for other purposes. But the decision was carried out. However, Pax Romana in particular attacked the idea of unanimity.

Administration Expenses

3. IUS claimed that the administrative cost of WSR—then about 20 per cent, was excessive and offered to supply the administrative machinery for relief work and to bear the cost of the same. ISS explained that the high proportion for administration was due to a drop in the funds raised—a position which they Hoped would be temporary and on account of its "experience" in administration it refused to accept the offer.

On account of these major differences WSR came to an end, and two new organisations come into being.

World University Service

ISS took over WSR and its funds and at Geneva December 3-10 1950 changed its name to World University Service largely on account of unpopularity of ISS in many countries, particularly in the USA Of the former members of WSR only WSCF has three representatives in the forty-four members strong Assembly—governing body of WUS. Pax Romana and the World Union of Jewish Students preferred not to take responsibility for the new body but they recommended each three members from their milieu who will act in a personal capacity but without committing their organisations.

Costs Rise; Funds Fall

At the Geneva meeting a six man "senior staff' was appointed which together with the junior staff, travel expenses and other expenditures in Geneva will cost 260,000 Swiss francs. This together with 62,000 Swiss francs (for field staff) raises the total administrative expenditure to 332,000 Swiss francs or more than 25 per cent, of the Budgeted income. During discussion it appeared that estimation of the income is very optimistic and following many complaints about the administrative expenditure and the preference for relief it was decided for the sake of "a presentation" not to put explicitly in the budget the 62,000 Swiss francs for field staff, but to include it, without specific mention, in the "programme" as relief. Also only 148,000 of the remaining 260,000 Swiss francs for administration will appear in the budget as such, but a special resolution was passed authorising the Executive Committee to spend up to 260,000 Swiss francs for Central administration "recognising that the sum allotted for central administration will be insufficient to support an adequate staff." The same resolution authorises the Executive Committee "to curtail expenditures on any project or combination of projects" if the difference of 112,000 Swiss francs could not be raised. A proposal that in this case relief is not curtailed was defeated. Nothing precise could be offered to how much Well be spent on relief. The meeting of the ISS Secretaries in South-East Asia at the end of January in Ceylon was estimated to cost 13,000 Swiss francs (Mr. Bisley, N.Z. Representative, could perhaps tell us something of this). Also planned was a seminar in the Middle East to be located in Cyprus or Rhodes estimated to cost 15,000 Swiss francs.

Old Gang; New Name

A few further points about WUC at this stage. All ISS committees or correspondents are recognised as WUS committees but may maintain their old name (as in New Zealand). A resolution was passed at Geneva stressing that WUS does not claim to Represent students, being meerly a "service" university organisation for professors and students. Earmarking of funds is discouraged but WUS does admit the right of donors to give specifically for relief or for the total programme, with the proviso that funds set aside for relief must bear their fair share of administrative costs. WUS does not officially recognise any right to earmark more than fifty per cent, on any donations for specific relief projects.

International Student Relief

Following the breakdown of WSR, ISR was brought into being on resolution of the 2nd IUS Congress to continue the work of WSR. Although an entirely autonomous organisation and supported by many national student bodies not affiliated to IUS its central administrative expenses are entirely met by IUS. The theme is "For the students, by the students, in the sphere of relief." Every student organisation contributing to the work of ISR has the right to be directly represented in its governing bodies. It operates without Iseless intermediaries directly from the student organ which gives to that which receives—thus avoiding high administrative charges. It is designed only for indisputable activities of concrete relief, and operates on the sole principle of need, without any distinction as to political or religious opinion, race or nationality. Projects for 1950-1 include medical aid, particularly for TB, food and study material for students principally in South-East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Through ISR contributions can be sent directly to the students we want to receive them. ISR headquarters can help by ensuring the transfer of contributions, etc. ISR thus encourages the free choice of projects and their direct dispatch which ensures
1.Development of Co-operation through the direct contacts created by these relief activities.
2.A guarantee that the wishes of the donors will be carried out.
3.Elimination of unnecessary expensive intermediary operations.

All are aware of the continued need for material relief—N.Z. WSR and ISS Committees have in the past done a good job publishing these needs and raising moneys to help alleviate it. Our World Relief Organisation has now become two—a new situation confronts us.

We must ensure that the money raised in N.Z. is Received by those for whom it was raised and by no one else or for anything other than relief.—This cannot be achieved through WUS (ISS). We must find, or make, an alternative.