Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University Students Assn. Volume 40 Number 2. Feb 7 1977
Letters can be handed in at the letterbox just inside the Salient office or handed in to the editor personally. However if you wish to pay 8c postage then send your letters to PO Box 1347, Wellington. Letters should be double spaced and on one side of the paper only.
Discontent over Bookshop
Further to Richard Bohmer's complaint concerning the Victoria Bookcentre.
We encountered similar problems when buying History book — extra books on the list which are not required.
Worse still many of the prices are higher at Victoria Bookcentre than at Whitcoulls (which also gives 10% discount on most texts despite the fact that this was Not mentioned in the Orientation handbook [censorship?]).
For example, a German text (correct publisher available at Whitcoulls for $1.25 less 10%) was selling at Victoria Bookcentre (different publisher) for $9.10 less 10%!!
The Victoria Bookcentre was ostensibly estab-necessary for the course, we will be pleased to prices. Obviously the profit motive has overshadowed this aim and they are now intent on ripping us off. Or the students, by the students for the students????!!!!!!!
Concerning Victoria University of Wellington's famed bookcentre, I was amazed and extremely annoyed to find my textbooks separated into little piles of "German" and "non-German" texts by the cashier. Subsequently a 10% discount was taken from the "non-German" books, whilst I paid full price for the German ones. Considering the high price already because of importing costs, I don't see why we students should be forced to fork out the whole sum when asked, the cashier mumbled something about an "agreement with the importers" — very vague. Whitcoull's obligingly still give 10% discount. Something must be done — at least an explanation, a satisfactory explanation is necessary!
The Bookshop Replies
In reply to Richard Bohmer's letter (Salient 28/2/77) I would agree that the Physics 205 book list is misleading. However, on our master copy of the lists the distinction between text and reference books is clear. This is the list most often consulted by students and bookshop staff. At this extremely busy time of year, 99½% of students buying books do so by consulting their own hand outs from each department. These supposedly list the exact requirements. If Mr Bohmer or any other Physics 205 students have bought books that are not necessary for the course, we will be please to accept the return of them for Credit.
I strongly deny that any of my staff convey the 'tough bikkies' attitude to customers. Mr Bohmer was advised to consult his lecturer if he was in doubt about which books to purchase. This is the advice we generally give as it is often not clear what is required until lectures begin.
As to the question of a student owned bookshop ripping off its own students. Such a sentiment leaves me almost speechless!
The bookshop is a profit making venture and the profits are destined to benefit the student body as a whole, unlike the Co-operative system in Australia. Prices and terms here are fixed by the Publisher and the mark up is in strict accordance with the New Zealand Booksellers Association Schedule. 10% discount is given wherever possible, although we are not obliged to give it.
I do not wish to pander to Mr Bohmer's obvious paranoia but if he wishes to understand why we need to make a profit in order to provide a professional and efficient service, I will be happy to see him.
Yours faithfully,Victoria Book Centre Ltd
Room to Move
I glanced at my watch — Woops! — 9.50am Tuesday morning — I would be too late to get a seat in my Accy 101/211 lecture in K303 —well, I could always try to repeat lecture at 3pm in E006 but informed sources tell me that the situation would be little different.
Just exactly how many students are enroled in Accy 101/211. The Accountancy Department say about 500. I would say more like 150 to 700. Three days a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, in K303 and E006 these '700' students crowd in to two undersized (for these purposes anyway) lecture theatres. All available floor space is taken up with students craving to hear their lecturer's every pearl of wisdom which may lead them as to the highest profit-making aspirations this world can offer!
When it was suggested to the lecturer after the second lecture in K303 that conducting a class so big constituted a safety hazard, he looked a trifle embarassed, and then laughed as did the majority of conventionally seated students in the lecture.
Maybe a word from Wellington's Chief Fire Safety Officer would have different effects! It appears that the Accountancy Department is acutely aware of the situation but reassure themselves with the fact that in June the class will decrease by one half or more anyway.
|(1)||How many students are enrolled in Accy 101/211?|
|(2)||Why the Accy 101/211 lecture at 3pm was not advertised at enrolment or some other suitable time?|
|(3)||If, or what, the Department intends to do about the situation of overcrowding?|
|(4)||If Accy 211 has become identical to Accy 101, except in name, and if so why Accy 211 students have not been informed? — Rumour has it that the work-bed in 211 may be different — if this is the case why have students not yet been given a written hand-out of their course requirements?|
Just a thought if the Univeristy Authorities wanted K303 or E006 to hold 400 students they would have built 400 seats!!!!
Annoyed Accounting 211 Student.
Out of Order
Like every other student in this university I paid $37.00 union fee but unlike most other students I will not sit back and let the following escape comment!
|1||The phone booth light in the on the ground floor of the union does not work. I don't carry phone numbers in my head and would like to see what I have written in my address book.|
|2||In the ladies loo on the 3rd floor neither the hand dryer nor the drinking font work.|
This is a damn lousy start to a new year. I suggest the maintenance men or whoever get off their arses and ensure that these few necessities of life are kept in good working order. Last year most telephones in the union weren't working; there were no locks on loo doors, etc.
P.S. I lost a red string bead embroidered bag with a wallet containg my ID card somewhere in that building. I know I'm dreaming but I would like it back so I hope its pricking someone's conscience really badly.
The Cafe Debate, Part 1
Dear Noble Editor of Salient!
Once again we have returned to Victoria to study under perils of interm assesment and exams. After one morning of boring lectures, wind blown dust and dirt, we fought our way to that residence of 'Cuisine Excellence' - the cafe! and what a shock! Crud second only to Parliament!
Just what do the cafeteria controllers think students are? The prices are higher than last year and the food one receives is so meagre as to cause one to wonder how much you've been ripped off.
Nearly every cafe in Wellington has prices on rolls and sandwiches etc. which are less than what we pay for in the cafe.
How about some value for money. I challenge those in control of the cafe to justify, thru your news paper, the prices charged. Until then I'll make my own lunch at only 10% of what it costs to buy it at the cafe.
'La Trapaza de Touristas'
Better Fed Elsewhere.
No Signposts at Vic
The conclusion of a mildly frustrating first day of lectures is the only possible time to record one's astonishment at the lack of signposting at Victoria. Established students are aware of where things are; enrolment information gives the location of buildings on several pamphlets.
But detail is not given. The annoyance of entering Rankine Brown by a door from which there's no access to the library, or Easterfield by one which doesn't lead to the lift, pales into insignificance against the lack of signs pointing to toilets. During the day I trailed through four buildings asking directions before I finally found a women's loo beyond a "No Exit" sign, down stairs and behind a blank door in Rankine Brown Even the 'Student Information Booth" in the Lecture Block Foyer was no help in spite of being actually very near a toilet.
New students and casual visitors should not have to put up with indignities like this. Other universities can signpost their facilities, why not here?
Returning Oldie Graduate
Beware the Clepto!
This letter is addressed to that festering pox filled bastard who had the audacity to rip off my bag from outside the library on the second day of the term.
By now you will have discovered that there was bugger all in my bag, as unfortunately for you I took the advice of the Registrar and removed my valuables, including recently purchased text books to the hallowed premises of the library.
The only way to redeem yourself is to return my bag to its place of removal, with or without the two packets of fags which where inside. You will not be able to use my bag at varsity as it has distinguishing marks which are known to me and which are unremoveable.
In my suffering, I offer a word of advice to my fellow non-cleptomaniacal students; use the Security bag check at all times to remove temptation from our thieving fellows. I surely will be from now on.
Very pissed off person.
Salients' Views on Peace Convention Supported
Salient's report on the International Con-n-vention for Peace Action squared completely with my experience at it. But I think an unwary person might draw the conclusion from it that the Socialist Unity Party dominated the formal committees, however they were produced.
I don't believe that this was the case. It was obvious to anyone with experience in logrolling, and the SUP's leadership certainly has that experience, that the SUP's strategy was to work in a co-ordinated way through the small discussion groups so as to get the convention to endorse Soviet foreign policy, particularly the fraud of "detente", and a permanent organisation which they would later attempt to body-snatch and turn into organ of the World Peace Council. The World Peace Council, of course, is nothing more than an arm of the Soviet Foreign Ministry. Its speaker at the convention was ong on Soviet rhetoric about peace but short on the real facts about the world situation as were most other overseas speakers.
Of course, the anti-democratic organisation of the convention worked in their favour. Only when all delegates are assembled, and all issues debated in the open in front of everybody, can the united activiity of such a dubious group be exposed. And the SUP, more than most, realises that Soviet foreign policy cannot prevail in open debate.
Your comment on the SUP's false counter-position: "Detente or war" interested me. Andersen, its President, shouted at me when I showed my disagreement with the motion to applaud Carter and Brezhnev for their services to "peace" and "detente": — "So you want war!" It is a tragedy that such schoolboy logic as his, and the SUPs, still influences good people. The bitter truth is that there is no detente in the world, other than in the imagination of people such as Andersen — I doubt that Brezhnev and Carter genuinely believe that it exists!
The global rivalry of the two superpowers is sharpening day by day, particularly since the Helsinki conference on European Security and co-operation which Soviet delegates and their stooges lauded so much at the convention.
I hope that "Salient" this year continues it fine record of democratic debate on important issues and continues to expose the deteriorating world situation. Contrary to the hopes and wishes of the good people at ICPA, world peace is no longer possible — the rivalry of the two superpowers have made this so. World war between them is now inevitable.
Moonists are Frauds!
Dear Salient Editor,
A warning to innocent students about a rip-off operation downtown involving street sales of a newspaper called "The Rising Tide" originating from the New Zealand chapter of the "International Federation for Victory over Communism".
This rag which is a reprint of the U.S. Version must have been written by a particularly paranoic group of Klu Klux Klan and John Birch Society members. It had minimal news value, even when it was current, back in August 1976 which is the Edition being sold now. The sales patter even involves "you are helping the poor people in the world". By buying it!
It appears to be funded by a slush fund set up by South Korea and the CIA. The cretin who sold the copy I bought is welcome to return to dictator Park's screwed up country forthwith.
I detect Sarcasm
I take this opportunity to announce my candidature for the post of President of the V.U.W.S.A. Standard nomination and seconding procedures will not apply in my case as I held a one-man students association meeting and amended the constitution to permit self-nomination. (There was a unanimous vote to amend the number required for a quorum to one, which the existing V.U.W.S.A. Stalwarts will be no doubt pleased to hear, as the existing quorum requirement has proved a problem in the past.
As my major support in my campaign will come from the silently studing majority who never attend student association meetings or have so much free time to burn that they get involved in student politics, I shall conduct a low-key campaign accordingly. I do not intend to hold meetings, apart from general study sessions in Rankine Brown in which individual participation in self-improvement will be encouraged, and instead I urge my supporters to boycott the existing Student Assn. meetings, as an indication of solidarity behind me. I was pleased to notice this boycott was in existence even before I announced my Candidature — in the last two years Matthew E. Connor has drawn greater crowds than any V.U.W.S.A. Student Leaders could ever manage to drum up.
Also, as most of my supporters have never taken time to vote in student elections, I take the opportunity to explain how to vote for me.
|1||Don't vote. or|
|2||cross out every name on the ballot list or|
|3||write in on the ballot paper "I vote no confidence".|
There may already be provision for a no-confidence vote, but extra reinforcement of the notion will do no harm).
Do not expect to witness a strong campaign from me, as I know the non-vocal majority are already solidly behind me, besides I have better things to do. The only reason my campaign has had this beginning is that I haven't been given any essay topics yet. However, I may make time to deliver the occassional report on progress or encouragement to my supporters via Salient (even at peak periods of internal assessment pressure we can all take time out to read on the bog).
Like Wal's Dog, I remain,
Trots Hit Back
In last week's Salient, the article 'Hot Debate on "Oppressed" contained a full-blooded attack on the Young Socialists and the Socialists Action League, for our role past and present, in the anti-apartheid movement.
The article is a long and confusing one. In the short time available it is not possible to write a full reply. A further article for Salient will give the facts of the Sharpeville actions in 1973, in reply to the well-worn lies that Robinson has dusted off and put on display. Certainly, it is time that the record was put straight. It will also explain why we support, along with the Wellington Anti Apartheid Plenary (WAAP), the demand "Black Majority Rule".
But for the moment, we will deal with the recent events in the meetings of the Wellington Anti-Apartheid Plenary.
- Black Majority/South Africa, Let the Blacks Decide.
- End the Repression — Free All Political. Prisoners.
- End NZ Complicity with Apartheid.
This was passed by that plenary.
Robinson glosses over the fact that the slogan "Black Majority Rule" wasn't invented by the Young Socialists, but was voted in by a full WAAP plenary.
He refers to "the trotskyites desire to use the overseas students reps to strengthen support for their slogan." And he says that we "posed a counter slogan Black majority rule/South Africa, let the blacks decide ". But if anything was a counter slogan it was the one, with "Black" deleted. That demand — 'Majority Rule,/South Africa Let the oppressed decide was the counter to the slogan originally adopted by WAAP — ' Black Majority Rule/South Africa Let the Blacks decide! (emphasis added).
So it is clear that Black Majority Rule/South Africa, Let the Blacks Decide is not an invention of the "trotskyites". It is WAAP policy.
We can illustrate this: Of the five plenaries that have had this slogan before them, four have accepted the inclusion of the word "Black".
So the question arises — why doesn't Robinson attack WAAP for its "rotten policies", as he calls them. Why doesn't he expend his venom on the plenary. Why aren't the people who make up the plenary "splitters and reactionaries in a left colouring'?
Robinson's racist charge that "While a group calling itself 'Polynesians Against Racism' carried out most of the attack on WAAP's policies they were under the leadership of the Trolskyites and received instructions from them throughout the meeting" will no doubt he answered by members of that group.
I would like to point out that it is the very opposite of Young Socialist policy to give "instructions" to any such group. The fact that we support wholeheartedly the involvement of such groups in the anti-apartheid movement apparently means to Robinson that we give them instructions.
Robinson is only applying his own conceptions, in which such a group would have to flow instructions in order to earn support.
And again, on this point, Robinson distorts the true picture. He says that the "Polynesians Against Racism" carried out an 'attack on WAAP's policies". But we have already pointed out that the slogan of Black Majority Rule/South Africa, Let the Blacks Decide" was originally a WAAP policy. Furthermore, the other demands of the group did not attach any policy of the plenary, they were, merely proposals for enlarging participation in the March 18 actions.
But Robinson's distortions do not stop there. He says that a motion for two representatives of overseas students to join the WAAP Sharpeville Committee was "also forced through". He fails to point out that there was considerable discussion on this motion, and like the others it was passed on the vote! Apparently if Robinson's position is lost through democratic means, then a decision has been "forced through".
He then calls this representation "tokenism". Tokenism in this situation could only mean a concession by the plenary to mollify the overseas students and Maoris present, and shut them up. But this representation has already meant a stepped-up involvement of overseas students and Maori people in the Wellington anti-apartheid movement. In other words, this representation has achieved the opposite of what "tokenism" seeks to achieve. Robinson apparently does not welcome this participation.
But that aside, this is a case of a total lapse of memory by Robinson. He says "but why was this tokenism not applied to many other groups such as Matakite or the Pacific Islander Community. Does he not remember that the very plenary that he applauds as "democractic" (the one on February 23rd) decided to do just that — it included a representative from Te Matakite O Aoteoroa and the Polynesian people. In trying to construct a case for the Young Socialists being "splitters", Robinson has to let the facts go by the board.
It is in this light that we have to look at Robinson's attack. He claims that we — the Young Socialists and the Socialist Action League — are the "splitters". Yet he devotes a full page of Salient to an article that is inconsistent in facts, in arguement, in everything except his desire to slander "the Trot-skyites" The "trotskyites" are a not insignificant part of the anti-apartheid movement, and certainly among its keenest activists. Robinson is trying to — let's be frank — turn the rest of the anti-apartheid movement against us. And he calls us the "splitters"!
The crime of Robinson's article is not just that it could have its desired effect turning students off one part of the anti-apartheid movement — it could turn them off the whole anti apartheid movement.
In reply to Robinson's full house of fabrications, the Young Socialists emphasize our committment to building the anti-apartheid movement, and our support for it. We would hold this position even if the Wellington Anti-Apartheid Plenary deleted "Black" from the march slogan. This has in fact occurred in Auckland, and Trotskyists in that city are working no less hard to make the demonstration a success.
To those students who may have been put off the anti-apartheid movement by reading Robinson's attack, we say that his article is not representative of the movement. And we ask them to get involved in building the Sharpeville actions — though we fear that such an appeal is what Bruce Robinson calls "splitting".
Inspired by a fellow reader's thoughts on the Victoria Book centre in last week's 'Salient', I find myself wondering why the place is staffed by such a large percentage of wankers. Maybe if the staff spent less time being cool, broadcasting their pathetic conversations around the shop, and generally wanking, the bookshop would not be such an arsehole of a place to go. The place stinks. Who hires all these cool wankers anyway?
P.S. How come the English Department stinks?
(I feel the writer of this letter is using personal attacks in a rather unfortunate way. We invite students to write about the Bookshop but not tike this —Ed)