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Salient: An organ of student opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 23, No. 5. Wednesday, June 15, 1960

Shot-Gun Graduation

page 12

Shot-Gun Graduation

Graduands' Swimming Party

Undignified is the adjective that best describes the graduands' supper. It may be the case that the gate-crashers to this function accounted for the grossly rude behaviour exhibited there. but more likely the graduands themselves should be held responsible for it.

The behaviour objected to: the continual interruption of speakers by a group of louts from the floor. Incidentally they were well hidden from view at the back of the Little Theatre, thanks to the inadequate seating arrangements. Their remarks were followed by loud clapping, and the kicking and rolling of empty beer bottles about the floor.

Cartoon of a car with a boot tied to the exhaust pipe

Proletarian-Minded Oafs

The only time these proletarianminded oafs seemed to enjoy the evening was when a speaker referred to "grog" or "pubs" or "booze". Evidently the mentioning of the word "booze" is some kind of criterion of virility which demands their acknowledgment. Is this the kind of graduate our University should be turning out?

More Soft Drink

A further fault was that the programme for the evening included a far too lengthy (1½ hours) unfilled period, at its beginning, which should surely have been filled with some kind of entertainment—Male Ballet preview, for example. After all one can small-talk in the Caf. at any time. Finally, for future suppers, could we have a little more soft-drink please, for those who just don't like " grog."


Capping Perfunctory

Another capping ceremony is over; it will not be missed for it hardly ever existed. If undignified was the most appropriate term for the graduands' supper, then perfunctory sums up the capping ceremony.

After a lengthy, if well meant, speech, lost time was made up by promptly disposing of the graduands themselves. B.A. graduates were hustled through the rites at a timed rate of 8 seconds each. This was all the personal acknowledgment the University gave for a minimum of three years' study. For a man, the cost of gown and suit is £3/10/-, that's about 12/a second—all with his back-side facing the audience. Diplomas were furtively slipped to graduates in a dark corner of the stage.

Could not graduands center from the side of the stage, receive their diploma from the Chancellor while shaking hands, and descend the centre steps, facing their friends and relations? The presentation would be enhanced by the graduates bowing (or curtsying as the case may be) to the Chancellor as they receive their diplomas.

Group Graduation

If the numbers being capped force individual presentation to be sketchy, then is not the solution group graduation, with perhaps short speeches from different speakers to each faculty? Diplomas are awkward to carry the rest of the evening, and could well be posted, in this case.

The singing of the University song indicated clearly that if it is to be retained in future ceremonies, this unfamiliar piece will have to be well rehearsed.

Hop in Evening Dress

Those accustomed to balls such as the Charity, or Hospital Ball, can only shudder at the spectacle which greets them on arrival at the Capping Ball—supposed social event of the university year; the sight is indeed novel, for where else does one and a Hop In Evening Dress—no better than an ordinary dance and perhaps a little worse. The whole atmosphere is out of sympathy for dancing and a pleasant evening.

ZB Request Session

The ball locks dignity of any kind and the music has the air of a ZB request session. What are the causes? The following is a suggested analysis of this sad, sick, state of affairs.

(i)The hall is too crowded. This means that the floor is jammed, but also, and more important, there is very little room to sit with a party of friends. The result is that many move into the circle, which contains tiered theatre seats in rows.
(ii)Unrestricted admission, leading to the presence of non-academic types. This is a capping ball, not just another dance.
(iii)Music. For those who come to dance the programme is not suitable. No doubt the University Jazz Club got a great kick out of their performance, but their music was quite unsatisfactory for dancing—and to many an intolerable intrusion. They are apparently unaware that music for dancing must be carefully selected—and contain a melody. Nondescript music in four-four time for long periods is tedious, although it possibly suits the rock-and-rollers who display little discrimination in such matters.
(iv)Lack of decor, apart from potted jungle on the edge of the stage.


It is seen that the main trouble lies in the numbers attending and in the fact that the Ball is held after the ceremony and in the same hall. The remedy for this is to confine the capping ball, as such, to graduates and staff, with partners; further that it be held on a different date—the most suit able being after the graduands supper, which could be made buffet from 5-7.30.

There is no need to deny others; the pleasure of an end-of-term. dance or ball; another dance could be held—with no complimentary tickets—on, say, the Saturday night.

Finally, the Capping Ball dance programme should include a wider selection of dances.


Cartoon of a car with a boot tied to the exhaust pipe