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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 10. 23rd May 1973

Counselling Service?

page 23

Counselling Service?

Dear Sirs,

In reply to Ruth Swatland's official statement, we would like to raise several questions:
1.Since Mr I.H. Boyd is responsible for overseas students affairs, he is one of the 'experts' interviewing students and taking down detailed notes, how can Swatland say that Boyd does not have access to Counselling Service files?
2.Has either the Labour Dept, or Security Service ever requested information or consulted the Counselling Service about students, particularly overseas students, in the past?
3.To what extent does the Counselling Service keep in contact with the Labour Dept? What will the Counselling Service tell or refuse to tell inquirers from the Labour Depts? What does the Labour Dept, usually ask about students when communication takes place?
4.Can Swatland explain how the files are being properly handled? Any special measures to check that the contents of the files don't slip out of the office?
5.It is easy to say Lee Foundation applications from past years have been destroyed. Where is the evidence? When (please list down the dates) was it done and how?
6.Swatland said that even the university authorities are refused information from the Counselling Service. Can she explain the letter of "You Know Who"? This letter shows that Swatland's words carry little weight. Nevertheless, she is wise enough to agree to destroy any personal file when asked.

We find out that on some occasions overseas students are reluctant to seek help from the Counselling Service because they do not trust the so-called 'experts'. One always feels that the Counselling Service 'experts' keep on rationalising and defending the Labour Dept, and its policy rather than making efforts to demand changes.

Boyd seems to have too much power in making decisions on the future of students particularly overseas students. Problematic or troubled reports relating to overseas students can rarely escape from the censorship, interference, checking, alteration and being changed by Boyd who tries to cooperate with the Labour Dept and helps it to avoid embarrassment. The result is that on some occasions students who never think of consulting the Counselling Service are forced to see him because he tends to exert his power in such a way. Neither Swatland nor Mence explains the nature of the power relation of the Counselling Service to the University authorities.

Wendy Mence's defence is quite interesting. Unfortunately, she cannot prove that the close relations and cooperation between the Labour Dept, and the Counselling Service assured that information did not channel to the former. It is childish to expect the counselling service 'experts' to admit that information had been slipped to the labour Dept, or others. They will lose their jobs.

Some students may voluntarily choose or be advised to consult the Counselling Sen ice. Others may be 'forced' or 'attracted' to go to the Counselling Service to keep on this marvellous business which allows a lew so-called 'experts' to keep a living and do counselling research using students as guinea pigs as well as to build up their personal reputation, social status and power.

Can Wendy Mence list any case that the Counselling Service intends to make "in the interests of overseas students, as regards the rest of the student body in general."? As far as we know nothing has been published on such matters and made known to the public. Why have several issues never been openly discussed? It should be pointed out that no criticism of the policy of the Labour Dept, has ever been made by the Counselling Service. Can the Counselling Service list down what sort of suggestions it has made for change in the interest of students? Important issues relating to permits of overseas students have been handled quietly, secretly, privately between the Counselling Service and the Labour Dept, to avoid rebellion arising among overseas students against the New Zealand Government. It is noted that the relations between overseas students and the Labour Depts are vers bad and tense. The Labour Dept, has done a good job to breed the anti-New Zealand Government feeling among the overseas students and who will certainly spread their discontent after returning home. One of the main topics of the conversation among overseas students is 'cursing and swearing' at the policy and staff of the Labour Dept. The work of the Counselling Service is to minimize the conflicts and to divert the potential explosive rebellion.

Drawing of a person

The Counselling Service has never acted in the interest of the community and students who want to change the status quo. The function of the Counselling Service is to mislead the students to accept and fix into the status quo. The counselling service 'experts' never intend to help students to fight for a change of irrational regulations, systems or society. The Counselling Service is only part of the framework to rationalise the status quo and its evil nature is little different from those organisations such as the Departments of Social Welfare, Justice, State Advances, Health etc., which Wendy Mence also realised. Wendy Mence is correct to advise us to cast our myopic eyes in the direction of those oppressed. However, one must also realise that the Counselling Service is a tool of the reactionary Establishments which oppress and exploit the oppressed and exploited people in our society.

The students and the academic staff members are not enemies. They can cooperate and unite together to fight with workers for a new environment. The students only rebel against reactionary staff members, authorities and establishments. We would advise Wendy Mence to make further investigation into the response of some staff members towards towards the behaviour of the counselling 'experts'. Understandably, most staff members keep in silence and the counselling 'experts' have been ignorant of the anger among staff members for years. We make this disclosure open for the first time and it is hoped that the 'experts' of the Counselling Service will think twice in exerting their power in the future.

Yours sincerely,

A Group of Rebels.