Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 37 No. 3. March 20, 1974
[Letter from Gyles Beckford to Salient, Vol. 37 No. 3. 1974]
The inaccuracies, distortions, and confusion of R. Wilkes' letter in your last issue show that he has failed to do even the most elementary research before setting pen to paper. Firstly, he has this ridiculous notion that there is a class of poor students, a majority as he puts it, that is forced to patronise the lower floor cafeteria because they cannot afford to pay over a dollar for a balanced meal in the restaurant. Yet a 'balanced meal' can be had in the restaurant without having to go to the expense of ordering the most expensive courses. Omelets are available for as little as 65 cents with rolls and coffee included. A full list of prices for the catering operations was printed in Handbook but perhaps Mr Wilkes only looked at the pictures. Naturally there are many facets of the catering setup that need to be improved such as the long queues, the lack of seating and the lack of food late in the afternoon. I would question Mr Wilkes' assertion that the Railways provide a better service for their passengers; history and personal experience have proved otherwise.
R. Wilkes also seems to be confused between NZUSA, VUWSA and the University Union. One dollar entitles Mr Wilkes to obtain an International Student Identity Card which allows him to fly on NAC Standby scheme, managed by NZUSA at half price. If this cheap flying is merely for rich students then there are thousands of rich students (so much for the poor majority). The Students Association fee of $25.50 is paid to the University administration out of which $8.25 comes directly to the Students Association for student activities, few students clubs charge membership fee, and if they do a club AGM is a good time to complain. The rest is put into Union maintenance and building funds for the upkeep of the Union building. The House Manager and his ancillary staff (they are anything but cronies) are hard working and are paid award wages which hardly enter into the class of "well paid". His comments should have been directed towards the bureaucracy which is imposed upon us by the university administration.
The final fear that his letter would not be published for fear of offending the new catering manager is pure fantasy. Although Salient may not be to everyone's taste it has never been a paper that has refused to print anything for fear of offending someone. It might have been better if R. Wilkes' letter had not been published for then he would have been spared the embarrassment of having his ignorance displayed in public.