Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 5. 1964.
Obscenity, Abuse At Debate
Obscenity, Abuse At Debate
For the first time in the history of the university debating society a speaker has been ejected from public debate.
With the parting words of "Up the lot of you" and "You're a pack of gutless bastards", the speaker left the debate held last Friday on the motion "That religious societies should be banned from this university".
The speaker was thrown out for making a series of interjections which were ill received by the audience. After making a late entrance and interrupting a speech to inform the audience—"Here I am everybody,———'s the name and don't you forget it honey." the interjector continued to interrupt speakers with the demand "I want more repartee".
He described the content of several speeches as "c... p"
Members of the audience lost patience with the interjector when he interrupted a speaker talking about Bertrand Russell to inform everybody present—"Bertrand Russell wouldn't (from here his comment is unprintable)"
After a motion was passed to eject the speaker he showed considerable reluctance to leave, asking "Is this a debating society or a lynching mob?"
In the rush to exclude the interjector a motion to exclude Mr. J. B. McKinlay was made and forgotten.
Mr. McKinlay later told Salient that "The Chairman gagged any attempts at discussion on whether the speaker should be excluded." He felt that the persistent interjector should have been given the opportunity to withdraw words objected to. Members of the audience had claimed the interjections were obscene.
The speaker was not a student.
The adjudicator. Mr. Conrad Bollinger later said that these incidents were the sort of thing which had made the society famous.
The religious debate had many other highlights—Mr. McKinlay described a speech of Mr. A. Ashenden as being "ecclesiastical claptrap and sacerdotalistic diatribe".
Mr. Ashenden had described a university as "an institution venerating liberty of conscience in the most comprehensive sense, liberty of thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical or speculative, scientific, moral or theological.
"As an extension to this principle." he continued, "it should allow an individual the freedom to combine with other likeminded individuals in the pursuit of some commonly held objective provided that this does not involve harm to others."
He denied strenuously that any group of students should be prevented from organising themselves in a club to pursue their own tastes in belief.
One speaker said in all seriousness—"Ye who are seeking the truth, come with me to the Youth for Christ". The chairman interrupted him with the words—"No advertising please".
This same Youth for Christ man received a note from the President of the VUW Evangelical Union advising him not to "cast your pearls before swine".
The motion to exclude religious societies from the university was finally lost. When 16 people put up their hands to vote for the motion a voice from the back advised—"Throw 'em to the lions".