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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 1. March 3, 1954

University Lecturer Stands for Elections

University Lecturer Stands for Elections

You have requested from me an article of my experiences during the Municipal Elections last October with particular reference to such matters as the reception which statements about the Victoria College met with and the amount of interest which was shown by the public in the College.

During the campaign I strongly advocated that a closer co-operation should be extended by the City Council and the City generally to Victoria College. I deplored the apathy and lack of understanding by the City towards its University College. I stated that in other parts the fact of being a University City was a matter of civic pride somewhat similar to that engendered by a City being a Cathedral City. I emphasised the need of recognition that the City receive an immeasurable benefit from the University College in its midst since its graduates are appointed to Government, civic, professional and commercial positions in the City. I found that the public was not very interested in such advocacy and in fact there seemed to be some suggestion that in so doing, and particularly when it was realised that I was a Lecturer, that I was a Communist, if not of "red" politics, at least of "pink" politics."

Public opinion is a very strange thing and I know for a fact that my surname being the same as that of another who publicly expounds views entirely different from my own, cost me the votes that might have made the difference between election and non-election. Unfortunately, too. in the last week of the campaign there was a public meeting in the Town Hall premises under the auspices of this Peace Council Movement, at which my namesake was in the chair and amongst the speakers was a Dean from a certain diocese.

Moreover, election depends upon not what you have to say but on how much you ran spend in the press and other advertising.

In my opinion the public of Wellington is not interested in Victoria University College and I think the reason is to be found in that the activities and beliefs of a minority of students have received undue press publicity over many years past.

I cannot understand why the City Council should have a representative on the College Council, but from page 18 of this year's [unclear: Caled] I sec that Mr. J. D. McGrath, a [unclear: griiluatc] of this College, has been appointee for the period ending in 1955. It would be pertinent to [unclear: ascert] what arc the duties of his office and whether he will at all times endeavour to rebut the opinion of the fellow Councillors and the public generally in relation to the value and Importance of Victoria College in this city.

I well recall one amusing statement made to me during the Jubilee celebrations when I was seen in the academic procession in the City. Several people subsequently informed me that they had noticed my participation in a Friendly Society procession, no doubt confusing academic dress with the clothing of an Order deriving its ritual from Stonehenge.

One of the candidates at the last Municipal Elections teas Mr. R. C. Burton, LL.M., who stood for the Citizens' Ticket. Mr. Burton is a prominent Wellington lawyer and is also lecturer in Commercial Law at this University. He had occasion during his election campaign to mention Victoria College, so we wrote to him and asked for an account of his election ion of the type of reception the College met with experiences, and an indica-amongst the electors.