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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 6. 1964.

University Needs To Be Impartial says Pettigrew

page 6

University Needs To Be Impartial says Pettigrew

Let us criticise, but let us also examine. I believe that students should not leap into print making moral pronouncements on an issue about which they know little. I do not see the Students' Association as just another morally indignant pressure group, nor do I see it as a group merely to its own interests, but I feel that it is the only body which has no allegiance to a particular group of share-holders, members, or electorate, has access to evidence from a variety of sources on a variety of topics, and possesses the people who can analyse this information calmly and rationally.

For some issues the facts are clear enough as to allow rational comment to be made without the necessity for a detailed examination-the protest against the recognition by the Government of the 'South African' Cricket Team, as such, is an example. But most issues are much more complex than this and I would like to see them examined by fact-finding committees which would make their findings known to students and to the general public. I believe that this is a practical benefit which could be made by the sub-committees of Executive to the student body as a whole.

This would also help to create or encourage some concern amongst our students for issues of a wider sphere than the immediate. While I would not make the moral judgement that all students should be interested in more than just obtaining a degree, I think that the wider the interests of the student the better for the university as a whole, as well as for the individual student, and I feel that ail students should at least be given the opportunity of finding more at Victoria than merely an academic knowledge of a few subjects.

Efforts are being made in this direction by such means as Indonesia Week, but general student interest is still deplorably low and I intend, if elected, to do my utmost to help and encourage efforts tending to change this state.

I am particularly concerned that students should develop an interest in International student, activities, especially in the Asian region, and I intend to support such schemes as those which have been mooted-to enable students to visit, for example, Indonesia or Malaysia during the long vacation. Only in this and similar ways can we appreciate our increasinly important International environment.

In the more internal field, my main concern is I that Victoria's public image is pretty squalid in many circles. There are many problems involved in trying I to improve this, not the least of which is getting the students themselves concerned. It is indeed a longterm policy, but one which is of the utmost importance] to the Association, and one which I will support to the utmost by encouraging such efforts as the film with which I am already associated, the Festival, publicity of, for example, the Volunteer Graduate Scheme, and an increasing discussion of the problems and role of the University.

Victoria is a non-residential university with a very high proportion of a part-time students, and it is largely because of this that we lack the corporate spirit the cohesiveness, which makes for an active Association. We are split into two camps-the career men for whom the university is a means to a qualification only, and those for whom it is, for a time at least, an end in itself. It is the resolving of this split-that of camps, not necessarily of opinions,-which will do a great deal towards giving the University a place in the life of Wellington.

I believe that the University has a role to play in the community as an impartial observer and critic. I believe that we are not playing this role, and that it is of prime importance both to ourselves and to the community that we do. We must do two things to achieve this-we must examine critically, and we must show the public what we are doing and what we have done. This is not easy, and it is not quick, but if elected I intend to use my influence to the utmost to achieve these ends.


A Third Year Political Science Student, also studying Asian Studies and Sociology. At Easter 1963 he ran the Tournament Yachting and became Chairman of NZU Yachting Council. He later joined the Public Relations and International Affairs Subcommittees of the Executive. He is organising a film documentary on the University for the PR committee and is VUW liason officer for the Volunteer Graduate Scheme. He recently started the VUW Recorded Music Society.

This year he is commodore of the VUW Yacht Club watching over a raffle currently running, organised the recent novelty boat race and is supervising a scheme to obtain a club boat, and other various long term projects.