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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 10. July 15, 1954

"Crying Anomaly"?

"Crying Anomaly"?

In a country like South Africa, where race attitudes and prejudices vary so greatly, it is understandable that the tradition and practice of different Universities should reflect those variations. This is in fact, the present position. Students are therefore able, within certain geographical limits, to make their own choice of the type of university environment which they prefer. The Prime Minister, however, considers the mixing of races in certain universities, "a crying anomaly," and the unmistakable implication of the Government's proposed action is that it intends without the assistance of the Commission, to deny students the right to exercise their own choice and to interfere with the traditional right of universities to order their own affairs within the limits of their own Charter in order to impose an artificial and stultifying uniformity.

It is because the true aims of a university can only be promoted in a free intellectual environment that the inviolability of this freedom is of such paramount importance. The functions of a university are not only to impart method and fact and to prepare students for a profession, but to create a body of men and women who share a sense of civilised values. It must encourage the fearless pursuit of truth and knowledge and teach students to think for themselves. To fulfill these aims it must be free to attract the most able students from every racial group, to welcome independence of outlook and to promote the fruitful interaction of mind upon mind. We consider that, within South Africa, the open universities of the Witwatersrand and of Cape Town approach nearest to this conception of a University. We record our deep conviction that it would be a tragedy for the future of this country if the Government, compelled these now open universities to depart from their established practice.