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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 3. 14th March 1973

University Serves Business not People

University Serves Business not People

Dear Sir,

Why are so many students disillusioned by university 'education' and disappointed at the whole atmosphere? So many students are cracking up at the tension, the sterility of university life, that we can't go on as we are.

The universities in this country have become part of the industrial apparatus — they are only degree machines. The real purpose of the university has long been elbowed aside by the demand for manpower to feed industry and commerce. These interests demand that the university manufacture people to their specifications. The university might produce skilled scientists, economists etc. for the market, but have these graduates grasped any human values? Experience proves otherwise. Lawyers have never been in the forefront of social reform doctors are noted for their compassionless and clinical practice of medicine; it's still hopeless to try to get science students to participate in an anti-war or anti-abortion march.

The university should exist to cultivate the students' minds and broaden their outlook. But the natural urge to examine and discuss the most profound thoughts and greatest aspirations of man is quickly extinguished by the compulsion to make immediate and carefully regulated preparation for an occupation. The atmosphere here at Victoria is conducive only to the intense cramming of the mind with facts. We may as well wave good-bye to our imagination and creativity. Little that is forced upon us is relevant to our own personal lives. Studies carried out in the barren isolation of this factory will not help us to arrange our lives in a more human manner.

It is imperative that the curriculum be expanded to allow for studies of immediate relevance, e.g. the need to have women's studies. The staff will have to show themselves true scholars. Instead of being moribund 'professors' they will have to enter the community more and be prepared to take part in public debate. Students too will have to more obviously show that they regard a wider knowledge of man of more value than a quick return, success, power and a comfortable life.

Out of a reconstruction of the university's methods and the rediscovery of the true principles of university education, staff and students will come to a better understanding of man as he is. Our demand is for the complete overhaul of university education. Think of the atrocities committed in the name of knowledge. The university is, at present, a crap-out. Narrow-minded economic interests rule.

B. Smith.