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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 4. 1969.

President accused: Patronage Alleged

President accused: Patronage Alleged

• "Allow me to apologise for my unmitigated cheek ..."

• "In future I will support only successful people ..."

Allegations of patronage have been levelled against the President of the Students' Association, Gerald Curry, by Mr. Barry Saunders, a former editor of "Salient".

Mr. Saunders applied for a vacant position on Student Union Management Committee which was filled by Mr. Terry Arnold, an honours student in Law.

In a reply to a letter from the Secretary of the association, Margaret Bryson, thanking Mr. Saunders for his application for the position on Management Committee, Mr. Saunders wrote :

"Allow me to apologise for my unmitigated cheek in applying for this position."

"Not only did I have the confounded effrontery to think that I actually had the qualifications for the position; morever I was suffering from the delusion that residential qualifications went out with the introduction of universal franchise."

Asked what he weant by that remark, Mr. Saunders said that the fact that Mr. Arnold was a flatmate of Mr. Curry's was not widely known and in fact, could have been mentioned.

"Secondly, I did not wish to offend," the letter continued.

"It may well be that in the past I have transgressed and supported undesirable causes and personalities, but I give my assurance that this will not happen in the future.

"My future actions will, I assure you, be limited to the extent that I will support only successful people."

This remark, indicative of some personal animosity, apparently referred to last year's election campaign for president, which was won by Mr. Curry.

Mr. Arnold had a close association with his campaign.

Mr Saunders supported another candidate, Paul Peretz.

"Thirdly," said the letter," if four active years in student politics have been misguided, and all my efforts have been in vain, as they have apparently been, I wish to express my apologies."

"I am sorry for my accumulation of knowledge and experience."

Mr. Saunders asked Miss Bryson to convey his apologies to the executive for having wasted their "exceedingly precious time".

"Could you also convey to them my congratulations for having selected a candidate so obviously well-qualified that he made any competition irrelevant.

"Perhaps you could also see your way clear to outline the criteria used to select subcommitteemen, in order that by dint of labour I might strive to reach the high standards which you are both setting and achieving."

Mr. Curry declined to comment on the letter.

"All deliberations were held in committee," he said.

The only comment that was offered at the Executive meeting at which the letter was received was by John Wild, the men's vice-president, who suggested the secretary write to Mr. Saunders, say, "All is forgiven".

He repeated this remark shortly after.

Salient was unable to determine the criteria used to select applicants, but noted the relative experience of Messrs. Saunders and Arnold.

Mr. Saunders was on the Public Relations Sub-committee in 1965 and has been on the Education and Publication Committees until this year.

In 1967 he wrote a special report for the Education Committee on Quantatative Analysis.

He was a Salient reporter in 1965-66 and co-editor in 1967 (with Gerald Curry).

He was president of the New Zealand Student Press Association last year.

Mr. Saunders has been a member of the Focus Administration Board since 1966.

He was Advertising Manager and Editor of N.Z. Student News in 1966.

Mr. Saunders said he has written the university column in the "Evening Post" during 1967-68.

He was appointed by last year's Executive as one of five association representatives to negotiate with the university over the abolition of the foreign language requirement.

Mr. Saunders had one unit to complete for his B.C.A. degree, while Mr. Arnold had a B.A. in Greek and was currently doing an honours degree in Law.

Mr. T. Arnold had no experience in student politics save that of assisting Mr. Curry's campaign.

Mr. T. Arnold was invited to comment on the letter last evening but disappeared while the reporter was getting a copy.

The letter which was dealt with at the start of the Exec meeting was read out at the meeting in full view of everyone.

When Salient tried to read it, rather than get a carbon copy, the secretary referred the matter to the president who asked if it was the mood of the meeting that the letter be given to Salient to read.

There was some inquiry among members as to why this was necessary.

As Mr. Arnold was co-opted onto Executive in the capacity of Public Relations Officer, applications will be called for a second time for the Student Management Committee.

It is not known whether Mr. Saunders will apply.

Barrie Saunders

Barrie Saunders