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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 6. April 24, 1952

"Let's Liven Up Our Faculties"

page 2

"Let's Liven Up Our Faculties"

That headline reprinted above topped Salient's front page for the first issue for 1947. The article beneath it was a reasonable report of the conclusions of a committee set up by the Executive to suggest a scheme for faculty committees.

This scheme was the equivalent of Dr. Beaglehole's round table conference which he suggested at the recent debate to be a letter way of approaching the problem of staff-student relationships than that debate.

It is not unfair to say that neither side of the debate understood the other's case but the most regrettable features were the feelings of bitterness which seemed to be present and the misunderstanding of the student case.

The students suggested five things:
I.That the staff state their own personal views on controversial matters and be prepared to support them.
II.That the students be taught not what to think but how to think.
III.That some effort be made to improve the mechanics of teaching within each faculty.
IV.That the teaching of dogma be avoided. It was not desirable that staff present their views as absolute truth—merely that they present their own admitted views.
V.That the staff reconsider their position in regard to the place of the University in the community as an intellectual force to be listened to and looked up to with respect.

The most important fact is that for years nothing has happened as nothing happened to those recommendations for Faculty Committees. The fault is probably mutual but that does not excuse us from the duty of discussing the problem and attempting to put solutions into action.

The discussion should be carried on in the manner examplified by the letter from Professor Hughes which is printed in this issue. Honest attempts to clarify the terms and see the problems by both the staff and the students must be of advantage to us all. It is our past failure to acknowledge that there are problems which has, for so long, been a source of irritation to Salient.

Salient was mentioned often and with some heat. We are not prepared to apologise for views in the matter and we have made it clear that we have no wish to insult persons or stir up bad feeling. This is mainly an intellectual problem and we prefer to treat it as such. An intellectual problem must be tackled without fear of consequences and without any descent into personality. For that reason and additionally because this is the first time there has been "clash of minds" at all it would therefore be intellectual cowardice to be silent in face of opposition and misunderstanding. In spite of the vote at the debate we are convinced that the active student body consider this to be a serious problem. They may disgree with Salient's approach to it but they would welcome Dr. [unclear: Beaglehole's] round table conference.

Salient is therefore going to observe silence on this subject for six issues to enable the Executive on behalf of the students and the staff to consider the matter and take action in the terms Beaglehole's suggestion. If at the end of that time nothing has been done we then promise—no quarter. Fifteen years is too long for this problem to remain only a matter for student concern, student discussion and student initiative.

In the end our failure may be a failure by us all to do our duty in respect to our fellow citizens who pay for our education.