Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 10. July 15, 1954
One of the chief justifications advanced for abolishing the open system is that it tends to social mixing. Precisely what is meant by "social mixing" is not quite clear. The present position at the open universities is that all students attend the same classes (except in the clinical training of medical students), use the same facilities and can participate in student government and student cultural activities. Non-Europeans do not take part with Europeans in dances and sports activities. What the opponents of the opposing system have in mind is that it leads to miscegenation. We believe that this fear is mistaken. Experience both in South Africa and in the U.S.A. has shown that racial intermixture takes place predominantly at the lowest educational and social levels. The problem has not, in fact, arisen at the open universities. To wreck a fruitful experiment for fear of such imaginary dangers is both arbitrary and fanatical.
The very fact of the existence of the two open universities has enhanced South Africa's reputation overseas. But it has meant more than that in South Africa itself. It has made possible contacts between students outside of lecture halls and laboratory classes—an essential part of university education.
It is these contacts which promote the transmission of Western standards and values to all students. European. African. Asiatic and colored. It has given concrete expression to the desire for goodwill between Europeans and non-Europeans. It has led to greater tolerance and understanding for it is only by meeting together that people of different groups can come to understand and respect one another.
The isolation of non-European from European students will inevitably increase group prejudice and engender a heightened nationalism in the segregated universities. This process is already manifest in South Africa.
To destroy the open system and replace it with complete segregation or even the Natal system of internal segregation would be to destroy one of the last bastions of tolerance and enlightenment in South Africa and to drive bitterness and despair deeper into the heart and mind of the non-European.
Ambrose Johannesburg.Bishop of Johannesburg.
N. E. CookerQ.C.
Errol E. Harris,professor of Philosophy, University of Witwatersrand.
R. Harvey,Director of Companies.
Elien HellmanPresident, South African Institute for Race Relations.
A. W. HoernleConvocation Member of the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Trevor HuddlestonC.R. Provincial, Community of the Resurrection in South Africa.
J. S. MaralsProfessor of History, University of the Witwatesrand.
Robert Prefer,Bishop of Pretoria.
L. RablnonwitzChief Rabbi.
R. P. Y. RouseArchdeacon of Johannesburg.
R. TobiasSenior Lecturer in Anatomy, University of Witwatersrand.
J. B. WebbChairman of the Transvaal and Swaziland District of the Methodist Church.
M. C. WellerChief Minister of the Transvaal Association of tho Jewish Reformed Church.
John H. WellingtonProfessor of Geography, University of the Witwatersrand.
February 15th, 1954.