Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 2. March 27, 1958
Some Hits-A Miss
Some Hits-A Miss
and the discussion after the most provocative lecture of them all—that of Mr. Collins.
With the forum on University education, the stage-managing was again at fault; the forum plunged straight into the ethics of university education in practice, but as Miss Nyhan correctly pointed out, one cannot dispute the rights and wrongs of education in practice until one has decided on the rights and wrongs of education in theory. Exasperatingly enough, the chairwoman admitted the validity of this point, but proceeded as before. The result was a helpful corpus of information on New Zealand universities, but the hoary old disputes of arts versus science and the ignorance of one student about the activities of another, and the omission or inclusion of particular topics in [unclear: currcula], suffered from lack of agreement in theory, and consequently a touchstone. The students, in short, preferred to meander, rather than try and find a way out of the maze.
The Congress forum produced the occasional intelligent motion, principally, however, from only the occasional intelligent contributor. The motions concerning accrediting and the foreign language requirement suffered, largely from the same fault as the education forum, and finally degenerated into a soul-baring marathon from those who had experienced them; not only this, but persistent attempts to cut short this output of personal recollection were as persistently rejected by the majority.
The gasp of expectation and the buzz of excitement which came after Mr. Collins' [unclear: mlitantly] provocative address quickly fell away, after the all-too-few sword-crossings, to an embarrassingly naive account of why some students voted as they did in the last elections.
To judge the intellectual activity of Congress, however, solely from the standard of the public discussions, would also be an illusion. Certainly disputes and questionings must have continued later in the smaller groups over cups of tea, meals, and the table-tennis net; the frequency and standard of these must remain intangible. This preference for retreating into small groups, however, indicates another facet of Congress 1958: with the exception of the speakers and other lecturers, there was a lack of characters, which means a lack of individuals. Few students had any flags to wave, and fewer still had flags of any definite colour; and the general tone of the gathering was such that if somebody had drawn a sword and called for revolution, some pedant would have objected on the grounds that correct procedural method was not being followed.
Parties preferred to lectures
account for so many people preferring parties to lectures, especially since the parties, were the usual trinity of wine, women, and song. Too many, to coin the old Come join us' line, preferred Anything but the intellectual whip.
But it was here, on the social side, that Congress 1958 was a success; it produced a general feeling of friendship and companionship, a sense of bonhomie, which, poor substitute though it was for its intellectual counterpart, had, to be sure, its own beauty. Unquestionably doctors and lecturers of music, philosophy, psychology and what have you, are more approachable informally clad, clasping mugs of beer, and bawling student songs than they are gowned and collared peering pedantically from rostrums in lecture rooms.
Congress 1958 then, was a success; it did have something of Newman's "one tone and one character;" and even if the social flame attracts more than the intellectual, the great fireplace must nevertheless remain.
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