Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 11. 1961

5 Women, 1 Man, 1 Bunk

5 Women, 1 Man, 1 Bunk

These articles are going to make you regret the biggest mistake you ever made. Yes you, you slob, because you never graced Little Congress No. 2 with your presence!

For a weekend of sheer unadulterated (sorry!) bliss, for life lived to its uninhibited full, for a startling revelation of what staff and students are really like, for the most congenial and unique company outside the pages of Cappicade, Little Congress remains unexcelled!

Not to say that we couldn't be serious sometimes. In fact we had three (in every way stimulating) talks with discussions following. And Saturday night saw some 60 students buried deep in intellectual (most of the time) discussions. For three hours yet! Nonstop! So read on, reader!

Over to our second reporter . . .

On Saturday morning Dr. Gupta presented a Socratic dialogue entitled "The decline of Radicalism." In his usual fashion he refused to define any terms, taking the well-known "I only ask questions, never answer them" line. Another quotable Gupta quote was "It's my work to talk, and I never work unless I'm paid. If you hadn't offered me a free weekend, I would never have come." Despite this avowed reluctance to speak we were given an interesting talk tracing the development of Radicalism from the 18th century humanist philosophers accenting practical politics and social sciences in place of airy philosophising and theology. He went on to show how Radicalism stagnated when its aims had been partially achieved in the 1930's and was now moving into a rapid decline.

On the subject of the present generation the learned Doctor thought that we were the apathetic generation, caring nothing much about anything. We are a bunch of disillusioned cynics he claimed, although the freshers appeared to be more interested in Life than the senior students. He also said that the modern youth was more interested in Theology and Philosophy than past generations going right back to the playmates of Rousseau. His attacks on the social activity of the Christian Churches received a mixed reception, as did his theory that the children of Christian parents are Christians themselves. "Salient" would like to take this opportunity to ask the Doctor if he considers himself a Hindu? Or, does he think that if we take his theory to its illogical conclusions, we are all Pagan pantheists?

Dr. Gupta replied—neither born Hindu nor ever was one.

The Doctor's talk was the cause of much fruitful discussion amongst the Congressmen and so probably attained its aims.

"Salient" hopes that this article gives a fair report of the lecture, and wishes to inform the reading public that confirmation of facts and opinions contained in it proved impossible as the text of the talk was consigned to the fire as soon as it was over. Perhaps this wasn't such a bad idea after all.


Professor Aikman

On Saturday afternoon Prof. Aikman talked on New Zealand Foreign Policy. He was at a disadvantage in that few of his listeners were expert on the subject of New Zealand's foreign policy. Perhaps he accepted this fact. In any case much of the talk was devoted to an historical outline of our foreign policy. My general impression was that New Zealand never did particularly want independence. However, it became increasingly so from 1935 on. The professor explained New Zealand's position as a small country. Security must be a basic motive, even above independence. This can explain her toeing the British line. As a result of this while she must follow regional alliances, yet it is to her advantage to have a strong world organisation. Hence New Zealand's support of the League and the United Nations. Following the same trend in recent years, we are obliged to pay our due respects to the Yanks.

Economically we are in an even more precarious position. All depends on how we sell our produce. Prof. Aikman pointed out the importance to us of England joining the E.E.C. In the discussion later the possibility of Asian markets was dwelt on.

Closer to home is New Zealand's interest in Samoa. New Zealand has been actively involved in Samoa's management and future for many years. (Professor Aikman himself is helping produce Samoa's new constitution).

Although the talk aroused less discussion than did the other two talks, in retrospect I found it most informative of the three. However, on to the third talk . . .


"The Secret Ambitions of Mr Lloyd-Thomas"

Prior to the nineteenth century one of the relaxations of the political scientist and philosopher was in depicting the future political system. Marx, however, made the un-pardonable error of adding a blue-print of political action to his Utopian ideal and since then what was once a pastime has become the ludicrous and lucrative occupation of the political philosopher, The secret is to describe a trend within present-day society, take it to its illogical conclusion, ignore the practicalities of attaining this conclusion, write a book and fame, a Ph.D. and fortune is yours.

The last of the talks presented at Little Congress was given by Mr Lloyd-Thomas on the "Rise of the Meritocracy," a book by the British sociologist Michael Young. Young "thinks (British) society will be deeply divided into two classes, the Meritocracy and the rest. The Meritocracy is the governing class, it has all effective power; its members are rich, well I educated, and very intelligent. The rest are the governed, they have no effective power, they are neither rich nor well educated . . . This deep class division is not based on family prestige, nor on wealth. It is based on merit and a person's merit is determined by his I.Q. plus the effort he is willing to expend."

The book was described as a political fantasy and despite the earnest presentation of Young's thesis and his own development and extension of it. Mr Lloyd-Thomas failed to convince some of his audience that his paper was not just an elaborate leg-pull. The paper provoked a lively, if limited discussion with the majority of students seizing the opportunity to sleep off the effects of their Saturday night revelries. This was a pity ac once the most vocal critics got over their indignation a worthwhile examination of the merits of Lloyd-Thomas's thesis took place.

In reply to questions Mr Lloyd-Thomas explained that those with merit gained power because it was seen that in order to obtain a continued increase in production merit would be given its due. This faith in the basic rationality of man is touching but somewhat questionable. Further because the meritocracy would find it easy to capture the reins of power. If we look at our present world leaders it would seem that political power is not of necessity wielded by those with intelligence.

The call to lunch cut short the discussion on what was a provocative. stimulating, limited and naive analysis of world trends.


On Saturday night we had a panel discussion. After each of the panel—Mrs Gay Maxwell, Miss Elizabeth Barnao, Mr Armour Mitchell and Mr Steve. O'Regan—had put forward their views the chairman, Mr Val Maxwell threw the discussion open for speakers from the floor.

First subject: "The consumption of alcohol is the basis of society's ills."

Mrs Maxwell said alcohol was I primarily a lubrication of human relationships; a form of release from aggressions.

Miss Frost declared that drinking methods are outdated and that we should be taught how to drink—how many glasses of what are likely to make you high.

Mr Flude spoke of a friend—"alcohol was the only thing that kept him going for 10 years."

Mr Torins argued against the subject but Mr Knight asserted that in New Zealand in 50 per cent, of all crimes alcohol was a contributing factor.

General opinion approved the consumption of alcohol but deplored its misuse.

The second topic was "that the present position in New Zealand regarding capital punishment is ethically wrong and an insult to national intelligence."

Mr O'Regan summarised public' opinion when he said that every individual has a right to life. By violating another's right he forfeits his own, but if it is wrong for him to kill it is equally wrong for others to kill him.

Mrs Maxwell deplored the vindictive nature of capital punishment, the blood lust and public pressure for revenge.

Mr Flude reminded us that innocent men had been hung.

The gathering decided to send a protest against capital punishment through N.Z.U.P.A.

"Is love or lust the basis of man-woman relationships?"

Mr O'Regan professed himself to be an idealist. Body and mind are complementary, he said, so it is love which is important. He claimed to be looking for the perfect woman, though admitted he was enjoying the search.

Mrs Maxwell declared that love I was overrated in our society and this "love theory" a mistake. (Mr Maxwell: "I agree with her.") Love, she said, is a warm close relationship for which lust is the basis. She didn't believe in a union of souls.

Mr Knight criticised the mass media of radio, films and advertising that has saturated our society with a misguided conception of love.

Miss Latham gave us a psychological definition of love consisting of a number of composite elements, Iust being but one of them.

Lil Congress

Dr. Gupta said to equate lust with love does love a great wrong, and the company was so much in agreement mat we progressed to me next topic.

"Does the lecture system do anything to stimulate the intellect—an evaluation of our lecture system at Vic."

Most people, without much enthusiasm, agreed that the lecture system was a necessity.

Miss Benefield stated that the average student needs guidance.

Mr U'Regan said that in a lecture one is passive—you can absorb information but not evaluate it.

Dr. Gupta quoted: "There are lecturers and lectures, students and students, and bloody fools."

Miss Picton said that in an university education we get too many facts and no time to think.

The chairman added that students should have the right to "vote with their feet."

"Advertisement as an integral part of modern living."

Popular opinion seemed to agree that it was, and proceeded to defend it as informative or (majority) to attack it as an invasion of privacy.

Miss Frost wished to thank the advertising men for their contribution to contemporary music.

Mr Stone pointed out the advantages of advertising—it keeps the National Orchestra, the daily newspapers and cappicade going. He then waxed indignant about "Brand X" which "washes whiter." "Whiter than what? Banging the cloth with a piece of rock?"

Mr Knight described how advertising was an integral part of our economy. Advertising encourages people to buy which keeps money in circulation and prevents a depression.

The panel with the exception of Mrs Maxwell disliked advertising but believed it necessary. (Miss Barnao: "It's a rat race." Mr O'Regan: "I hate it.")

Mrs Maxwell advocated a social change eliminating advertising and the establishment of a less wasteful economy.

Other discussions followed on: "The significance of the Commonwealth to us" (unity, economic advantage, same ideology); "That there is a double standard of morality—one for men and one for women"-it was agreed that this exists and also that it is prejudiced, immoral and unfair. A discussion of "the moral and social problems of the widespread use of contraceptives" tended to become a religious controversy; while faculty loyalty prevented agreement on the argument "Have the humanities accepted the challenge of science?"

Everyone agreed that the even-inn had been a profitable one and adjourned in search of less (menially) exhausting occupations. Over to our social reporter . . .


Nostalgia Strikes Again!

Inside" Account of Little Congress No. 2

I've been asked to write about the "social aspects" of Little Congress—fortunately; since they so completely submerged me, that I didn't really notice any other aspect; at least, I believed there were some lectures (but you've got to sleep some time) and there was —well, food, I suppose you'd call it, and I believe beds wore provided—but I'm not really qualified to mention these (they were unmentionable anyway).

Fri., 7 p.m.: artic. truck scheduled to leave, so it left 7.45. Uneventful journey. Uneventful people went to bed (very few). Then ... Liz dug the garden. Party in Hut 24 began with a one man show by Tony K. weaving round trying unsuccessfully to locate his cutlery and volubly orating on world affairs. The "intellectuals" read poetry.

Sat., 9 a.m.: Everybody breakfasted in pyjamas and rugs. Plunket medal enthusiasts arrived late. Slept through some lectures and discussions and followed the crowd to the pub till six. That night after a spirited discussion 30-odd people packed into an 8ft. × 6ft. pink hut for a party with Dr. G. at one end and Hector at the other, quibbling over definition of terms; and the very "happy" trio, Mitch, Steve and Tony. (Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil?) Certain dissipated individuals spent the night in the kitchen drinking tea, interrupted by the hot-water bottle fiasco (several die-hards waited an hour or so for the water to boil then were told to "clear out of my cookhouse by an irate chef, who then tipped all the water down the sink) and by a rather doubtful ouija-board demonstration. Meanwhile in the social room, David L. valiantly accompanied a few feeble voices in a traditional Vic. song festival while Mitch and Jenny conspired to stop Steve going home.

Sun., 10 a.m.: Dr. G. drove the six R.C's to Mass (he "volunteered".) They tried the first two churches they came to but no luck. Dr. G.: "Too respectable for you? You're all clothed but nothing's hidden—is that what's worrying you?" (All six were female and clad perforce, in slacks. L.D.A. and Dr. G. ought to condole with each other).

a good Christian to give you a lift, ring a good Heathen and I'll came and get you. And when we meet in hell, I'll let you join my harem!" They thanked him profusely and assured him they'd pray for him. and after church, enlisted the aid of a young man called Kevin with a truck.

Sunday afternoon, Mel conducted a forum, "let's make it informal" for the few remaining crusaders. Later he announced that he'd found a face-cloth. Now Mel isn't used to face-cloths and couldn't envisage any possible use for it. So he tried in vain to sell it, raffle it, or donate it to some worthy cause (I could have suggested several!) Then he officially closed Little Congress by organising a ground-clearing squad. They laboured enthusiastically while he demolished the last flagon with a few stalwarts in Hut 19. Hut 19 and Hut 24 sure had their share that weekend.

When Victoria does get the New Building we have Awaited so Eagerly, so long, Chances Are it is Going to be Worth Having Waited For.

When Victoria does get the New Building we have Awaited so Eagerly, so long, Chances Are it is Going to be Worth Having Waited For.

Its 10 storeys (two below the level shown here) are primarily to house the library which is expected to have expanded to about half a million books in 40 years time. Expansion is provided for by six classrooms, one double classroom, nine seminar rooms, 140 staff studies. The Psychology department will have a floor of its own. and also half the fifth floor will be occupied by the Applied Mathematics Laboratory of the D.S.I.R. Dr. Culliford, speaking of the presence of the D.S.I.R., said that he anticipated that its presence would be of inestimable value to our own Maths Department.

It is in the library that the most significant changes will be made. Apart from the immense improvements in space—there are six reading rooms of various functions, together providing space for 1,000 students—several new features have been added, such as typing rooms, sound-proof cubicles equipped with gramophones for use in conjunction with a recreational record library, and a bag and coat check room.

The major reading rooms are on the lowest level shown here. Directly below are the Law reading rooms and some classrooms, and below that are the main stack rooms, surrounded by dozens of small carrels for individuals engaged in research or advanced study. On the roof terrace level is the periodicals room, and also a big staff common room and library staff rooms. Next one up is another, more specialised reading floor, and above that there are two floors of staff studies. Level five is for Mathematics, level six the Psychology Department (who won't know themselves in the luxury of having a reasonable amount of space at last), and right on top is another roof terrace and more staff studies.

The situation is, of course, superb: in case you haven't already identified it. it's to go in that big clay hole on the harbour side of Easterfield, and will rise to about the same height. The harbour view ought to be even better than the present one from Easterfield. although the staff have cunningly appropriated most of this for their studies, etc.

The building has been designed by an Auckland firm, Kingston. Reynolds and Thorn. The structure proposed incorporates the widespread use of pre-cast concrete elements, which should not only reduce the building time by about a year, but also, in combination with the techniques of prestressing, produce a structure which will comfortably carry the heavy load of book stacks. The total cost of the building alone is estimated at £650,700—or it was, last October.

The name of the building will be the Rankine-Brown Block, after the late Sir John Rankine-Brown, a foundation Professor of Classics who was known and respected by thousands of students until his death recently.