Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 7. 11th April 1973
The article published in Salient No.6 (4th April) entitled rather over-dramatically 'Assault in Lecture Room' is more or less accurate in its reporting of the facts of the event, although the tone is reminiscent of 'Truth' or 'The Sunday News', but it neglects to consider the developments which followed Robert Reid's outburst.
The class was indeed consulted on whether they would like to continue with the test scheduled for that day (and agreed upon at the beginning of the year) and voting was much along the lines indicated in the previous article, except that with 45 in the class the count would have been more like 42-3 and not 20-3 as suggested. What was not mentioned was that they agreed to hear Robert's 'guerrilla lecture' on a future date, namely the following Monday, and it was after this that Robert left; hopefully, aware of the fact that he had misjudged the mood of his audience and that to continue would have been to impose his own ideas on the rest of the class against their better judgement. The 'assault' referred to was rather overstated and Robert was persuaded to leave by peaceful and "democratic" means.
Our illustrious Vice-President was indeed given a chance to speak and, although his sociological analysis of the situation was rather garbled (as it was also when it appeared in Salient) the sentiments behind his outburst — that tests alienate students, and that insufficient allowance for discussion (i.e. in tutorials) had been made when the course was planned — were clear and accepted by those present.
Discussions of the changes to be made was led by the two lecturers referred to by Robert and in the course of two orderly meetings of the whole class suitable changes were made to the structure of the remainder of the course. While Robert's histrionic guerrilla tactics served a very useful function in drawing attention to these shortcomings at no stage was there any evidence of a reluctance on the part of the lecturers to meet students wishes which would have necessitated such tactics.
The "proletariat of student workers" may indeed have many enemies Robert but they are not in the Sociology Department.