Salient. The Newspaper of Victoria University College. Vol. 19, No. 6. May 31, 1955
Elsewhere in this issue appears a reported statement by Students' Association president B. V. Galvin, that "It is pretty obvious that a lot of people have rather strange ideas about what being a member of executive involves."
This is the understatement of the year.
Certain aspects of executive elections in recent years have given evidence of blatant irresponsibility on the part of some who should know better. Not only have the most fantastic assertions been made by election candidates and their nominators in "Salient's" election issue every year, but candidates have allowed themselves to stand without the slightest idea of what they would be expected to do if elected.
It is a fact that almost no non-executive member of the association ever attends an executive meeting, with the exception of "Salient's" representatives.
Another fact: of the unsuccessful candidates in last year's election, fewer than half were sufficiently interested in student affairs to attend the association's annual general meeting two days later.
How, then, is a candidate to know at first hand exactly what the executive does? How is he (or she) to know the background to problems facing the association?
To carry out the duties of an executive member a student must: be prepared to sacrifice much time, work and energy: have a sound knowledge of student affairs: and be able to think and speak clearly and impartially on a wide range of problems.
Let no one have any illusions about executive membership being a cushy job with a lot of "perks" attached. For the most part it is an utterly thankless position: ask any member or ex-member who has adequately performed his or her tasks.
Election to executive entails some considerable risk to one's academic career, and this is a point obviously not realised by many candidates. So it is desirable that a candidate should have at least a substantial part of his or her degree, and essential that he be prepared if necessary to risk a "bad year" regarding examinations. There is inevitably a conflict of loyalties between study and executive duties at some stage. It is therefore unfair both to the association and to the person concerned to nominate one who cannot afford to sacrifice units if the pressure becomes too great.
The 60 per cent of the student electorate who are not interested and do not vote are, from one point of view, doing us a service. Unfortunately a large proportion of the voters are still ignorant.
Standing for election, or nominating someone, without a full realisation of what is involved is therefore not only unfair. It is irresponsible.
And it is false pretences.