Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 1 18 February 1970
One pervading aspect of modern university education is its impersonal nature. Student involvement at all levels of the University's administration may be one way in which this problem can be tackled. 1969 saw the initial trial of widespread student involvement in administration. The Association played it quietly, endeavouring to create an atmosphere of confidence. The time is at hand when further student initiatives should be taken, aiming at playing a significant part in moulding the University. Students do have a contribution to make in the functioning of the entire University—even in the area of staff appointments. While respecting the abilities of staff, we should ensure that the education we receive is responsive to our needs. As consumers of this education, we need good teachers and not merely good publicists who were selected because they could once learn.
While the Association needs to expend much energy on student representation, we would be naive to expect too much in return. We may make some contribution, we may assault the impersonal atmosphere to some degree, but we will not appreciably alter a machine geared to mass production.
Within the Association itself, much effort is required to ensure that the budget of some $100,000 is adjusted to produce best value for students, clubs and the Association itself. This requires arduous and highly important administration. At the moment, the SRC has no control over finance but if it functions well there is little reason why it should be denied full confidence.
Publications devour a goodly proportion of the budget. Cappicade maintains a reputation for satire and subtlety which counters the woodenness of some other capping magazines. Argot was officially adopted last year as the Association's official literary magazine and should contribute well to a culturally poor society. Salient has been produced weekly over the last two years. If we are to get the quality we expect from a student newspaper, Salient production needs to be rationalised and those involved paid more adequately. If these measures fail to ensure consistent quality, the only alternative would be to revert to fortnightly production.
The Association must further ensure that services are available to cater for important non-academic requirements. Facilities such as the Student Union Building, the Association Office and suitable cafeteria catering require constant attention. Cultural, sporting and social activities are essential in bringing fullness to university life. Last year, despite a contrary recommendation from the Finance Advisory Committee, it was shown that the Cultural Council could administer its own funds—which included an increase of $200 in the cultural vote. Cultural activity, in particular, needs still more development and more funds.
No one would deny that the Association has a great diversity of activity. How successful it will be in any one area will ultimately depend on the students who make up its membership.