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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 4. 1962.

Mitchell's Defence

Mitchell's Defence

The President endeavoured to explain the complexity of the problem; and he tried to show the necessity for conducting proceedings and negotiations with the government on "diplomatic lines". We must have cool heads. We must have facts to support our claims. Facts, and not senseless shouting, should be the basis for our protests.

Furthermore, Mr. Mitchell issued a challenge: Ousting the executive at this time of the year can mean a serious disruption of student activities such as Extravaganza and Capping Week. Not only would it be unjust; but it would also be dangerous and unwise to remove the present executive members from their posts.

A profound silence followed this challenge. There was an atmosphere of meekness among the audience.

Finally, he claimed that the local executives and the national Students' Association were already working feverishly on the matter as early as last year, as soon as the fantastic change in rates was announced by the government. The executive was quite aware that the apparent benefits of the new bursary system were illusory; they were quite aware that there are many cases where students do not have the benefit of bursaries at all.

But it must have time to prepare its case. And that case—for lower fees, or a reasonable bursary system—could not be prepared at a time when everyone was away from the university. Thus, we have this apparent "conspiracy of silence". There was much behind the scenes which the student public did not see.