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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 10. 24 May 1972


page 16


Photo of a gathering of men

If you call for a disciplinary enquiry into an event, I didn't think it would then be advisable to discipline those whom you thought guilty. Sort of "Please determine for us who was responsible for these actions but to save you looking too far here are the culprits".

The whole attitude stinks.

Just what was the Executive trying to prove when it met last Sunday and passed a series of motions which seemed to approach an attitude of hysteria and vindictiveness?

Was the whole PBEC demonstration episode worth such treatment? Hardly. Merely because it was a wealthy and influential group of businessmen concerned, doesn't mean that reaction must be quicker and stronger. Yet this appears to be the case.

For some incredible reason the members of the Executive decided that this strong immediate reaction was necessary. Whether you agree with this or not, and I tend not to, one would have supposed that some sort of a hearing or trial would have been held before the "wicked" were condemned and sentenced.

But such was not the case.

At a meeting, which appears to have been in Committee but with Byron Buick-Constable and Phil Brew present, the Executive decided that it was the VUW Labour Party that was responsible for the whole affair and that therefore they should be punished. So followed the motion freezing the funds of the club, — without hearing what the club, or its members had to say in its defence. The Labour Party (or some of its members) have been responsible for organising the demonstration or at least publicising an invitation to members of the public and students to object to the PBEC conference or was it to actually attend a demonstration that was/was not being organised by the Labour Club which did/did not intend to non-violently/violently disrupt the conference or at the very least the Labour Club was probably.......

Nobody, especially the Executive, decided to find out from the Labour Club just what their role had been. Yet "punish all the members whether they were present or not and whether they endorsed the demonstration or not."

Leaving this matter aside for the moment, it was clear that a significant number of non students were present at the demonstration and (though this is obviously only one personal view) it seemed that a lot, or most of, the real violence came from those who were not students. How much, and to what extent students were involved in the "violence" has yet to be determined.

So confused is the situation now after the blundering action by the Executive (and with the facts still to be determined) that when the University Council discussed the matter at its monthly meeting last Monday, it seemed that they were slightly embarassed with this over-reaction.

Originally the Executive decided to ask Council to conduct a disciplinary enquiry. It so happens however that University Council is the highest appeal body within the University for diciplinary matters and thus an enquiry by a lower body in the hierarchy should be considered first. Council was more than happy to use this as an excuse to suggest to the Executive that they reconsider their course of action.

What's next then? If we started with the facts before the decisions we would be a long way ahead.