Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, No. 1, March 1, 1976
"The university is a complex institution", seems to be the standard phrase rattled off for the first-year student when questions are raised during orientation week.
Although this comment is usually designed to avoid showing up the ignorance of both student and staff heavies, when explaining the intricacies of the university, it is basically ture.
We can all see the role of the university in educating a class of people for the top positions in society. But we sometimes find it hard to pinpoint the most important aspect of this role - infusing students with an ideological approach that will help them best to carry out their assigned roles as managers of society.
Since I took up my job as editor of Salient, I have been amazed to find how far this ideology has penetrated. The commonest question asked of my by people wandering into the office is "What's Salient's political line?"
When I answer that it hasn't got one, a state of confusion exists. "Salient must have a political line. How am I going to know what to think?" is the lingering thought.
It seems that the Students' Association is very like the university. If you accept certain views you will succeed, and if you don't, you won't.
Salient's role has been to keep pushing the "correct line" until those who dare to rebel are so tired of fighting that they submit. There are no grey areas in analysing issues. Everything is black and white. You either accept the analysis and become a radical, or reject it and become a reactionary.
After three years of accepting the "correct line" you can then go into the world of business and accept the "correct line" as expounded by those who rule the roost in that area.
Salient in 1976 is opening up. It doesn't pretend to be objective because its reporters have political views (even if many of them remain at the subconscious level). But it does believe that all articles and opinions in the paper are open to discussion. The grey areas must be exposed and examined, and decisions, no matter by whom they were taken, must be questioned.
This sort of role can only be played if Salient stands in the middle of student life and not on the outside. The Salient office is nota hallowed precinct, but merely an extension of the gymnasium, the cafetaria and other areas that were built for student use. Salient must be used to further the interests of the mass of students - if it is not doing that, then the students must change it.
It all adds up an involvement, whether by writing articles or using Salient as a dormat for your flat. I hope a few people choose the former.
- John Ryall