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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 7. 1962.

Apathy In World Student Body

Apathy In World Student Body

When the International Student Conference Secretary, Mr Kenny Khaw visited Victoria, eight students had the pleasure of hearing him speak.

This fantastic interest in world student affairs must have surely surprised our visitor. The advance publicity was ineffective. There was one solitary notice in the main foyer of the S.U.B.

The I.S.C. was begun twelve years ago. Certain members of the International Union of Students were disillusioned; they decided to form their own group — the I.S.C. Since 1952, the I.S.C. has been steadily growing. There are now over seventy member countries.

The I.S.C. and the I.U.S. are rival organisations. But they do not conflict with each other directly. Rather, the two organisations now operate in two different spheres. Some member countries belong to both the I.U.S. and the I.S.C.

Mr Khaw however admitted that there are more communist-prone countries in the I.U.S.

The International Student Conference recognises the fact that there is a diversity of problems concerning the member countries. The Research and Information Commission was consequently set up to investigate specific problems. The problem is to deal with these problems without political bias. The Commission is now studying situations such as racial segregation in North America, political oppression in East Germany, Hungary, South Vietnam. As situations changed, some of these studies were dropped.

President Jailed

As an example of a specific problem, the secretary cited the case of a Peruvian student-president being thrown into prison. He was released later on. The Research and Information Commission gave wide publicity at the time to the facts.

About fifty cables were sent by the member countries of the International Student Conference. This combined effort may or may not have had any effect on the Peruvian government's decision to release the person concerned. Nevertheless, the student was released.

Apart from taking action itself, the I.S.C. could always present the facts of any particular case to the United Nations delegates of the member countries. This happened to a case in Norway — reference to the United Nations had its desired effect.

Positive Action

The I.S.C. has now launched a programme to find scholarships, and students for those scholarships. The I.S.C. also can come in useful in partaking in agitation for the establishment of universities and various educational institutes where they are obviously needed. It has the interest of the student at heart.

New Zealand has a very stable National union — the New Zealand Universities Students' Association. The N.Z.U.S.A. can do a lot more for the I.S.C. particularly in the way of active participation in South-East Asian countries. Mr Khaw indicated the danger of New Zealand and delegates regarding themselves as saviours and leaders.

A bespectacled intellectual came out with a rather equivocal statement, puffing away on an immense pipe he said solemnly: "Now we are away from the bosum of our families we can pursue our instinctive desires."

From the wop wops of Ohakune to the coffee bars of Lambton Quay was too big a step for one person interviewed. He hated the artificiality of everyone here. He could earn more money in the bush, and thought that perhaps he would get to hell out of it next year.

The expense of varsity education came in for a lot of criticism. One boy went as far as saying: "There are only two ill effects from varsity, the effect on your ego and the effect on your pocket."

It was a girl who struck the reporter as being most honest. "I think New Zealand secondary school takes a bit of getting over," she said. "It is distressing to be flung suddenly from one environment into another; I expect we will all settle down in time."