Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 8. May 29, 1952
It is a pity that there are not more College functions like the Undergrads' Supper. This seems to be the one social event which will bring the science students creeping bleary-eyed in droves from their laboratories. Opinions differed as to whether or not it was surprising to see them, so near to wintertime, but the fact remains that the science graduands—let's not name the particular department—were prominent, both because of their numbers and because of their conduct. The arts graduands—as befitting that group in the College which have sipped somewhat from the cup of culture—were relatively unprominent, except of course when some of the most well-known Arts and Law students rose to speak. Not one science student was on the list of speakers—apparently science students never learn how to modrate their voices below a drinking-song tone.
President Dave Horsley opened the business section of the evening with the toast to the Queen. Mr. J. F. D. Patterson followed close behind "The Queen" with the tout to the Professorial Board. Mr. Patterson, you may remember, recently sued the College Council for a sum of money, and it was felt—the result of the litigation having been considered—that he was the student most qualified to apeak on any college governing body. He started by attempting to define the Professorial Board with a slanderous definition which we cannot print. He went on to say that some people referred to the "Professorial Bawd" who was of course a lady of academic distinction and no morals. No, the Professorial Board was a body of men of high academic distinction and. . . . The college however was made up of undergraduates, who gave money; of graduates, who had given money; and of the Professorial Board who spend it. And there were the other officials connected with the college—from the lavoratory-man down to the Registrar. What did the Professorial Board do? Among other things prevented smoking in the library. Mr. Patterson recommended the Professorial Board to rescind the decree and stated his willingness to pay the cost of furnishing ashtrays out of his own pocket Another thing the professorial Board did was prevent the consumption of liquor within the college, when Mr. Patterson condescended to live in Weir House—he told the audience—the ban on liquor was lifted twice—both occasions when the Management Committee visited the House. He suggested—referring to the punch being rapidly and appreciatively consumed around him—that it was the same thing with the Professorial Board.
The Principal, Dr. Williams, in reply, expressed his pleasure that the proposer of the toast was an old student of his. He spoke in support of the Registrar and denied that the undergrads provided the money to run the college. "Mr. Patterson," he said, "condescended to live at Weir House—a happy phrase." Mr. Patterson had said that the Professorial Board prevented the consumption of liquor—it didn't. It prohibited it—the distinction was obvious. He wished he could tell his audience that night that some positive measures to improve student social facilities had been made. The only student facilities extent were the common rooms and the gymnasium, that dreadful shambles of a place. The provision for social life in the college was not much more than when the college had six hundred students; the only addition since then was the Little Theatre. One of the scandals of the time was that the provisions of student faculties is what it is.
Dr. Williams referred in passing to the long history of the Undergrads' Supper and then remarked that if the college did not have the science building up in five years there would be chaos. He was battling hard for the Student Union building but he did not know which was the most important—the science or the students' building. Negotiations had been proceeding and he expected developments soon. The Principal concluded with a few words to the graduands to whom he wished success and happiness. Each [unclear: degree] was of such standard as to be a real mark of distinction—they were degrees of this college which is in fact and ought to be in name a university. The staff made it more the equal of many universities overseas and it could not be long before the college was in name a university and the people of the city realised what they had had in their midst Dr. Williams hoped that the graduands would help their college, both with pride and out of their pockets, and he trusted that they would have the pockets to do that
Vice-president H. J. O'Brien, known as a undergraduate of long (and often) standing, proposed the toast to the graduands not however, as he said, because he was the undergraduate of longest standing in the college. That body of graduands was the first to leave the college unskilled in student revolution. The law and commerce students however had had a longer history than most students. He referred to Adam and Eve's internationally famous loose-leaf system, and Noah who was the first to sink his liabilities and float a company.
J. F. D. Patterson—a photograph taken as he rose to speak recently at the Undergrad's super. Mr Patteraon has been undergoing a course of body-building under the tuterage of the Law Faculty in preparation for his next lawsuit. Although now he has not the mental stimulus engendered by residence in Weir House, he appears to be unaffected by this from what our reporter could see through an alcoholic blur at the supper.
Crhis, Pottinger in reply was sure that when the graduands went out into the world and looked back with full pockets they would not be backward in coming forward. He had recently been doing some reading during which he had discovered the disturbing points that radicals at college [unclear: actually] turned out ultra-conservatives in later life, and 83 per cent. of the [unclear: graduands] of an American college married—and 90 per cent of those stayed married. Althought graduands had learnt quite a lot they know nothing of marital relations. He appealed on behalf of the 83 per cent. for the Professorial Board to make compulsory Domestic Science I or found a Diploma in Conubial Bliss.
Secretary F. L. Curtin, proposing the toast to the ladies, wondered whether Mr. Pottinger meant mothers-in-law as marital relations. His knowledge on ladies appeared limited. To horn ladies came in three sizes, O.S., X.O.S., and X.X.O.S., and in two kinds, married and single. Which were the worse he said he did not know. Various stories filled out the time until the next speaker.
Mrs. Betty Aiken in reply found "The Ladies" as barren as Mr. Curtin. She did mention that when at school the female sex were called "girls," when they left school they became "women," and it was only at functions such as the Undergrads' Supper that they became "the ladles." Around college they were known as "the talent."
Mr. Dennis Garrett, the seasoned-debater and speachmaker, proposed a toast to the executive. The last tunc he had done so he was complimentary, he sad; this time he would be candid. Some students were part of the dull grey flood that swept up to Vic. and then floated back down to the city with tickets to a better job. The exec. could be defined as the nondescript grey particles of scum surrounding not-very-hot air which sooner or later burnt.
Mr. D. B. Horsley replied that the executive were men of action not words but nevertheless he would say some few words. The exec. did their best to solve the problems that were brought up. He mentioned the con cession about the procession route which was obtained from the City Council as a result of the efforts of the executive, two of its members in particular.
Mr. Jim Milburn, speaking to "Absent Friends," remarked that after years of proposing the toasts to the Professorial Board, to the Graduands, Ladies, and the Executive he was now demoted to "Absent Friends" which was In reality the most difficult toast of them all to speak to. Had the college any friends to toast? The Registrar had already been referred to. If there is a finer man in New Zealand at [unclear: sheer] extortion he had yet to meet [unclear: him]. There was the Professorial Board, and a lady of grim visage in the N.Z.U. building in Bowen Street who yearly collected students' fees, and the more timid of the citizenry of Wellington, and also, a number of football teams who thought that they could give our First XV a good beating—all deserved mention as the college's friends. In addition there was a gentleman employed at the Dunedin railway station—the station-master Mr. Milbum thought he was. When (one tournament time) he came to send the Christchurch express away the bell had gone. The train was halted three times between Dunedln and Chrlstchurch while railway officials pleaded with the varsity travellers to get a "fair go." The following Monday the bell arrived In a package—postage collect. That stationmaster could be counted amongst the college's friends; he had stood the acid test.
After Mr. Mllbun's reminiscences the gathering broke up—in a rather abrupt manner we thought. Prehaps the blow could be softened next year. The supper, the punch, and the speakers were all enjoyable and it is a happy thought that the best speakers will most likely be around the college and available next year.