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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 15. 1969.

Opinion — A Matter of Dues


A Matter of Dues

In Salient 14 Roger Lawrence attempted to raise two issues in relation to payment of students for services rendered to the Association. Conveniently these were expressed as the "narrow issue" (i.e. payment to me as Editor of Cappicade 69) and the broader issue" of payment of students generally.

I do not deny for one moment that Mr Lawrence is entitled to state these views but in proceeding to the broader issue via the narrow one he has built his house on the proverbial sand. At the outset he is reasonableness itself granting both the quality of Cappicade and the fact that it made a lot of money $4400 if anyone is interested). He then indulges in generalisations which ruin any semblance of argument. For an encore he resorts to speculation and total inaccuracy of observation. I will illustrate.

"Editing a 'Cappicade' is Fun"—From this one might almost imagine students queueing up for the job. If Mr Lawrence bases this observation on his own attempts in this capacity than I feel bound to note that if Cappicade '67 was fun to edit it was purgatory to read.

"There is precious little work to be done in the way of layout." I fail to see the basis of this remark considering that "Salient" pays $500 to its technical editor for this minor chore. In my case the job was made doubly onerous by the fact that the Printers' Union cut up rought about my attempting it all. What finally happened was that I had to lay out the magazine (64 pages) at home and then stand over so-Called compositors to explain what was wanted as they blithely ripped the layouts to bits in a pathetic attempt at perpetuating a dying craft. Even so I did not resort to full-page spreads of "Piggy Muldoon for King" or "There is no Professor Geering".

Now we come to the core of the matter wherein the Publications Board meeting which approved the fee was berated for its omissions. How a writer can in one breath admit that he was not present during the relevant part of the meeting then attempt to justify his argument with a potted version of what might not have gone on is beyond me. For in fact comparisons between 'Salient' editors and 'Cappicade' editors were made and the compulation of the $100 figure was given by myself and was supported by a comparison with last year's payment and that if the payment to this year's "Masskerade" editor. The size of the profit was also considered an extremely relevant factor by the meeting.

It seems strange also that Mr Lawrence reserves his wrath for the editor alone. He omits to mention that the Distribution Manager was paid $70 for what amounts to considerably less leg and paperwork. The fact that I had spent many weary hours trying to establish a budget prior to publication (which itself came a record week in advance of itself) is also not mentioned largely because Mr Lawrence never look the trouble to find out. A business manager was found only at the last minute by which time I was spending 12 hours a day working on the magazine itself or actively promoting it. (Barrie Watts' review was surely responsible for an increase in Wellington sales).

Finally, his reductio ad adsurdum—"How about appearance fees for speaking at Forum?"—serves as a fitting swan-song. He has already admitted the principle of payment of student editors therefore by this stage the question can only be how much? not should there be any at all?" In answering the first question Mr Lawrence's opinion can only be recorded as dissent against the unanimous resolution of a well-attended Publications Board meeting which considered all the facts not just the ones it might have cared to consider in a vacuum.

As to the broader issue it is my view that if a task is its own reward then there will be no shortage of applicants on a voluntary basis. If there is what amounts to a business venture then the Association will have to speculate if it wants to accumulate.