Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 1. 1962.
Dear Sir,—The raising of University fees by the National Government is a shabby act. It reflects well neither on their intelligence nor on their integrity. As a method of cutting down the number of students who consistently fail, it was examined by the Parry Commission and specifically rejected.
The timing was blatantly arranged to hinder opposition—during the long vacation so that students would have already paid their fees for the next year before they could organize protests. This shows a somewhat cynical attitude to democratic principle.
The National Party declares itself the champion of Free Enterprise. But this new fee-scale acts to stamp out free enterprise in the University: it hits very hard the person who for any reason whatsoever is paying his own fees. It means that almost every student must be dependent on the state for a bursary. How does this fit in with their principle?
For one thing it favours a sectional interest. People with money behind them can afford to stay longer than the minimum time, can afford to fail, can afford to take long courses such as Law. This would help to reduce social mobility and reinforce class privileges.
Secondly, I think it is a reduction of the freedom of the University. On the whole it is those people who stay around for long enough to gain sufficient maturity, confidence and know-how who run student affairs and organise the various hot-headed clubs. Many of them are liable to be eliminated.
Thirdly, it hinders national development. The Minister of Education himself declared that the country needs more graduates. He is going the right way to get less.—Yours, etc.,
J. C. Ross.