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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 12. August 15, 1957

Salient. Thursday 15th Aug. 1957 [Editorial]

page 2

It is the custom when something emphatic and slightly unconventional is advanced by some students to complain that this is not in accordance with student opinion. It is assumed that student opinion cannot be what the speaker dislikes.

Thus it has recently been repeated that the motion on banning H bombs was not a true reflection of our opinion. The same charge has been levelled against articles signed as personal statements by various correspondents of "Salient."

But what right has any individual to say in effect: my opinions are those shared by the majority of my fellows. Why, if "Salient" reports and articles are so untypical, are they the only ones we receive? Why, if students favour H bomb tests, was the motion clearly carried by the S.G.M.? What other indications have we of student opinion? Must we ignore these tangible signs and accept silent intuition?

I consider it clear that, on the contrary, these show exactly what students who have opinions believe.

It is doubtless true that they only represent a minority. Only a small proportion of over two thousand students attended the S.G.M. or write for "Salient." But there are two points to bear in mind.

Firstly, can any unequivocal viewpoint be said to represent an overwhelming majority? Secondly, are not all communities represented and led by a vocal minority? Where the minority is completely out of step with their fellows, they will rebel. As long as people remain acquiescent it must be assumed that they are willing to accept the status quo.

"Salient" is an organ of student opinion. This means that it does not and should not stand for any one line. It alvo means that all students who care to and have the ability to put pen to paper and produce something meaningful (or, in some cases, even something meaningless) have the columns of "Salient" open to them—regardless of sex, creed, politics or anything else.

In such circumstances can it seriously be said that "Salient" docs not rumblings in the minds of a fair slice of literate students.

Finally. "Salient" is not only a mirror in which we sec our own prejudices. This would be too boring and quite valueless. Any responsible newspaper must also be a leader and a stimulant. And any positive lead, it seems reasonable to say, if of any value, must arouse opposition Truth is relative, not absolute; which means that not only has no one got the full picture, but also everyone has some of the picture. The full picture comes from putting together all the opposing schools of thought, if "Salient" puts forward on occasion an unorthodox viewpoint it is only, in a small way, redressing the balance which at present is overwhelmingly conventional.