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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 5. 1971

A. Browne

A. Browne

Denis Phelp's swansong in the last issue of Salient shows how little knowledge of some aspects of last year's issues Denis has.

Some of his sweeping opinions must be refuted.

Denis chose to deal first with exclusion; probably because this was the first big issue of 1970. After the early hoo-ha died down, the Council's special committee to hear appeals of which I was a member began the valuable procedure of granting students an interview at the hearing of their appeals, something which has since proved to be of tremendous benefit to students appealing against exclusion.

To say that the new exclusion regulations are tougher than before is only half correct: to say that the end result of the exclusion affair was a disaster for students is totally incorrect.

It is true that the university has new exclusion regulations. However, whether or not these are due to the highlighting of exclusions in 1970 is open to conjecture. I feel that some elements of the university heirarchy would have been demanding them in any case. The new exclusion regulations were drawn up by a committee of five Professors and two students under the Chairmanship of the late Prof. Sidebotham, who it could be said was on the side of the students.

Whilst the new regulations are slightly tougher for full time students (meaning an average 2½ - 3 units in every two years after the first two). Denis has failed to mention that part-time students who previously had to pass the same two units in two years are now completely exempt from the exclusion regulations for the first two years. Another point missed is that a student may now, with the permission of the Dean of his faculty, withdraw from his units at any time up to finals and not have them counted as an academic year for exclusion purposes.

As one of the two students on the Exclusion Review Committee I am finding the job of hearing appeals somewhat time consuming, but certainly not embarrassing and nobody has approached me to press for special favours.

It seems to me that the present arrangements for dealing with appeals against exclusion is working well and certainly to the advantage of students compared with the previous set-up.

Although the final figures for appeals against exclusion this year are not yet available, since the E.R.C. has not finished dealing with appeals, of all the appeals made this year only about forty have been turned down.

An important feature of the new procedure is the personal interview granted to students by the Review Committee. Many students have been re-admitted on the basis of information given in the interview. Many of these students would not have been re-admitted purely on the papers dealing with the case and the student's own letter of appeal. To reverse what Denis said, much has been gained and comparatively little lost from the exclusions now. To say that ordinary students had suffered heavily is utter crap.

On the issue (issue?) of student representation I find myself somewhat in agreement with Denis Phelps.

Certainly there is a general lack of interest in many of the student representative positions on University Bodies. This, I feel, is because many of the positions are not worth having. When the student representative thing was thrashed out by the original Joint Committee, a body which has now become used a useful recipient of buck-passing, positions were created for student representatives on a vast collection of standing committees of the Council and Professorial Board. These positions were merely a sop to student demands for effective representation. The student rep positions on such committees as Teaching Aids Committee, Purchase of Works of Art Committee and the Committee on Interdisciplinary Activities are not essential.

The main problem with student representatives is the lack of communication between student reps, in particular between those on the two important bodies, the Council and the Professorial Board, and the other reps. Subsequently the former are not adequately informed as to what is happening within other areas of the University Administration, particularly the Faculties. Communication between the student reps and the student body is almost non-existent. Probably because the student body is so apathetic it does not care what the University Administration is doing, and because of this the students on such bodies as Council and Professorial Board do not bother to try and inform them. Vicious circle?

It is often disheartening to feel that your efforts have achieved something for students and then find that the student body is completely oblivious to this.

Mr. Phelp's criticisms of Salient 1970 are colored by the well known mutual a[unclear: ni]mosity and contempt between Mr. Phelps and David Harcourt. As a member of the staff of Salient 1970, I would say that it was a privilege to have been associated with David Harcourt and Salient 1970. Certainly there were arguments within the staff but these were generally overshadowed by a sort of professional involvement that was felt by those who helped produce some of the best issues of Salient in its 30 odd year history.

The idea that Salient must as a student newspaper be essentially a very amateur and therefore low standard newspaper is ridiculous. A student newspaper should be the best newspaper that students can produce, given the time and conditions available for this.

One final point Denis.

If tomorrow they (NZUSA) decided to blow a hundred thousand dollars then it would be Victoria, Auckland. Waikato, etc., deciding to blow a hundred thousand dollars. Victoria doesn't as much "belong" to NZUSA as NZUSA consists of Victoria and the rest. NZUSA is what we help to make it.