Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 13. 1970
The growth sector education-wise in Gods Own at the moment, is capitalism. Free enterprise is getting into the top notch of New Zealands "state" education system, and nobody gives a stuff.
Marketing, Finance, Business Studies, Industrial Relations—are all coming or have already arrived at Victoria University. Even the proposed Education Research Centre is being originally financed by the Mckenzie Foundation—the philanthropic arm of the store chain.
All of these efforts are either financed by, or are catering directly to, the business community. Is this what a university is for? Academics are too stuck in their own little niches to think about it, and sit silently by as academic standards, integrity, and university independence go flying out the window.
Most of the money comes without apparent strings, but most of it runs out after a few years leaving the baby in the University's lap. And will the U.G.C. come running with the extra dollars then? Like hell they will! "It wasn't our idea in the first place." And they'll be right—it wasn't. But their overhead axeman, the National Government is doing its bit to help.
It was interesting to note in the Evening Post of Sat. 22nd August that Robbing Rob Muldoon, the Tory Minister of Finesse, had announced that all donations to the Industrial Relations Centre will be tax deductible.
So the local Fat Caps are laughing. They work a tax dodge and turn out little Brierlies by the hundred to make more money to bribe more ministers to work more tax dodges for them. Bloody good business, but is it the function of a university?
The offers of thousands of dollars look pretty good to a university suffering from economic malnutrition, and the bait is snapped up thoughtlessly. The Library has to buy extra books (or whatever it is that apprentice businessmen read) for the new subjects—but money for the Library is going down, not up.
The university administration is overtaxed now. How many more departments can it handle?
How much assurance do we have that the money which is coming from business is without strings? I can find little. The threat of withdrawal of funds must always hang over the department or centre concerned.
At Victoria we don't even have a Stage III course in Maori—there is no advanced study of the language or culture of our native people. Why is there no money for this?
The social sciences are all crying out for money and facilities for research into the social problems of the country. Why is there no money for this?
The Library can only afford about half of the purchases regarded as essential by academic departments. Why is there no money for books?
The pattern must be clear by now. The almighty dollar is taking over.
It is very difficult at times to by-pass the personality clashes at an NZUSA meeting. It's even harder to recall that one is not there to argue with super-egos a la Draper or Law, but to put forward ideas on behalf of Victoria students and to try to reach some kind of agreement with the other universities.
NZUSA, after all, is merely a vehicle created by the various Student's. Associations to enable them to carry out some of their functions (Educational, National, Political) in co-operation and also to exchange local information.
Amazingly enough, within the hurly-burly of Winter Council (at Massey this year) these, functions were in fact performed. Information was received and co-operation was achieved on matters relating to student accommodation, education in New Zealand, international affairs, student welfare, and many of the social issues of concern to students.
The major debates centred first around Focus, and next around the raising of the levy in 1971.
The Focus debate ranged long and bitter. All agreed that the present Focus was not the magazine NZUSA wanted. These questions remain. Do we want a national student magazine at all? If so, what kind of magazine should it be and what should it aim at?
Should we aim for a slick, professional magazine of comment, for a semi-professional hard-hitting monthly magazine, or for a fortnightly underground newspaper? The final decisions will be made, probably on a compromise basis, later this term.
The levy question is extremely vexed. Constituents are now asking NZUSA for so much that costs are high and rising. Even so, Victoria, along with Massey, dissented from the decision to raise the levy to $1 per student. Otago and Lincoln are now reported to be unhappy as well. A major discussion on the limitation of levies and curtailment of national activities will have to take place soon at Victoria.
It would be silly to pretend that this Winter Council was enjoyable, or satisfactory. It was marred by more personal bickering and political intrigue away from the table. Perhaps the most, positive contributions were the Constitutional Amendment and the Focus reports. In these Victoria played a leading part. But Victoria failed as much as any other constituent to keep the National Commission on a co-operative and non-personal basis.