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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 1. March 13, 1958

— At Last we are — Out on our Own —

page 4

— At Last we are

Out on our Own —

As Victoria University emerges from the ashes of Victoria College, "Salent" celebrates its twentieth birthday.

We commemorate this double occasion by a little retrospection and reflection—how did we get here? what has gone on in our history to make Vic. and "Salient" the wonderful things they are today?

Last year's readers have had a look into these matters through "Victoria Story". In this issue we present a number of articles by Vic graduates and staff members, recalling and trying to estimate the significance of pieces of our past.

For an easy guide, we give a brief chronology of the Victoria-"Salent" story:—
1897Seddon suggests commemorating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee by building in Wellington "a university college for the sons and daughters of working men".
1899Victoria College is founded, with classes scattered around town in odd rooms.
1902The first national university sports tournament is held at Easter in Christchurch. Impressed by other college's student journals, three keen sports—Hubert Osier (later Knight and Supreme Court Judge), F. A. de la Mare (later barrister, noted controversialist, and outhor of one of our contributed articles in this issue) and Fanny Irvine Smith (later lecturer and historian), formed themselves into the first editorial board of Vic's first journal, "Spike", a twice-yearly paper devoted to "dealing out to each and all their just meed of blame or praise without fear, prejudice, or favour."
1906The College gets a home when the main part of the old red brick building is built on Salamanca Road, the site being levelled largely by volunteer student labour.
1912Midst industrial upheaval, a "Spike" commentator expresses the spirit of Vic, with the remark: "There is something exhilarating in talking about 'isms'."
1916Prof. von Zedlitz, crusading freethinker and liberal, is sacked by Act of Parliament for the crime of having chosen a German for his father, after a hysterical campaign in which the whole College stood up for justice—to no immediate avail.
1921A girl graduate is fined for selling seditious literature, which results in a Government demand for an inquiry into the teaching, syllabus, and clubs at Victoria. "Spike" publishes a brilliant satire on the event called "The Vision of Judgement", copies of which are in high demand among M.P.s
1930Other Colleges had by now each given birth to a monthly or fortnightly paper. Vic's Students' Association A.G.M. votes to make "Spike" annual, and produce a smaller paper six times a year. Thus "Smad" is born—named from the initial letters of Vic's Latin motto (see crest on main stairs, and apply to Classics Dept. for translation).
1933"Smad" being by policy "aloof" from controversy, radical students bring out a cyclo-styled sheet called "Student" —full of political discussion of the kind then current. It is banned by the Stud. Ass. Exec., but continues to appear. "Spike" for that year is banned by the College Council— see Mr. de la Mare's article elsewhere. There are more demands for official inquiries, which prompt even the lofty "Smad" to comment: "How far some people lose their sense of proportion!"
1935"Smad" broadens in scope— controversy enters in.
1937"Smad" reverts to type under an editor who believes "the walls of the College are the limits of our concern." This prompts A. H. Scotney, Derek Freeman, R. L. Meek, K. J. Scott and others to make the break which results in—
1938Death of "Smad"; birth of"Salient", which aims "to link the University more closely to the realities of the world." With banner headlines on social and religious issues; interviews with Walter Nash, Count von Luckner, and Aunt Daisy; high standard film and book reviews; odd verses! linocuts; feature-style sports reports— "Salient" becomes New Zealand's ace student newspaper.
1939"Salient's" political slant provokes opposition at Stud. Ass. A.G.M. The editor offers to hand over two issues to the chief critic as "guest editor" —who finds the weight of contributions too much for him, and retires in acknowledged defeat.
1940Heavy press censorship and paper shortage result in a cyclo-styled "Salient", still highly controversial.
1943"Salient" all but leads Wellington's "Liberty Loan" campaign.
1945A rumpus between the editor and the Stud. Ass. Secretary over publication of a letter ends in an A.G.M. upholding the editor's viewpoint.
1947"Salient" devotes a front page to the Dutch assault on Indonesia under the headline "Indonesia Merdeka!" on the day 300 Vic. students demonstrate outside the Dutch Embassy. Full report of Stud. Ass. meeting which turns down proposal to disaffiliate the Club which organized the demonstration, sets a tradition of lively reports of general meetings.
1948begins with fat issue of "Salient" in honour of its 10th birthday.
1949V.U.C. is 50 years old, and "Salient" reviews Dr. Beaglehole's official Jubilee history in an article which includes side-long remarks about certain ex-students now holding high positions in the land. The same issue carries an editorial slating the deplorable management of Weir House. For both these items, Professorial Board bans the issue and fines the editor £5. Several special cyclo-styled issues ("panic-sheets") are following by a special general meeting of students demanding that the fine be revoked and asserting the inviolability of the freedom of the student press. The Prof. Board retreated in disorder. In this year an opposition newspaper starts up, entitled "Charta", officially connected with the College's only-ever right-wing political club.
1951Capping Procesh is banned on account of industrial disturbances. "Charta" editor takes over "Salient" but finds it difficult to change traditional tone.
1954"Salient" is well laid out, but a trend starts towards making it a mere college version of a parish gossip-sheet, with wider issues squeezed out.
1956Climax of this trend.
1957Trend reversed.
1958Twentieth anniversary of "Salient" coincides with V.U.C. becoming Victoria University of Wellington.