The Spike or Victoria University College Review October 1915
This year the capping ceremony was held on the 25th June, in the Town Hall. The customary Carnival, the procession, the dance, and the Graduates' and Undergraduates' dinners were abandoned. The ceremony followed the lines of the 1914 ceremony. It took the form of a presentation of the graduates of the year to a distinguished public man—in this instance the Hon. Sir Francis Bell, K.C. Proceedings commenced at 8 o'clock with the singing of two time-honoured songs—"The Song of Victoria College" and "Gaudeamus." Mr. F. R. Robertson conducted. He paid very close attention to the score, and caused some discussion in the audience through the peculiar, perpendicular action of his right arm, as to whether he was practising jiu jitsu. Following these two items, came the Glee Club with "Moonlight." Some unkind person was heard to say that it was all moonshine. Then the Club fiercely attacked Edward German's "Love is meant to make us glad." In this case it did not succeed. The only cheering episode was a courageous solo by Mr. Evans, who sang with great conviction, "Oh, 'tis folly." This was a wicked piece of criticism on the part of Mr. Evans, but it was immensely appreciated by the audience.
The Chairman of the College Council, Mr. C. Watson, then addressed the gathering. Mr. Watson dwelt at length upon the causes of the war, and his reading of the list of those past and present students of the College who were engaged on active service evoked warm applause. The Hon. Sir John Findlay, K.C., spoke very eloquently upon the part played by University men in the war. He considered that the suggestion, that higher education had unfitted men for war, was for ever disproved. It is regrettable to record that a section of the students seized the opportunity afforded by Sir John's speech to indulge in page 39 some unpardonable horseplay. No reasonable person would object to timely and witty interjections; but every reasonable person feels disgusted when a public man of Sir John Findlay's standing is subjected to an unending stream of pointless and asinine comment from a number of University students. Such treatment of a public man is not only a deplorable breach of good taste, but it places the College Council in a most invidious position. The Council cannot possibly continue to invite eminent gentlemen to address these gatherings if its guests are to be treated in this way. Lord Islington, when Governor of New Zealand, was once heard to say that it was a waste of time to prepare a speech to be delivered before Victoria College students, and after listening to the last Capping Ceremony, we are bound to say we agree with him.
After Sir John Findlay's address the students sang two choruses. The Graduates of the year were then presented to the Hon. Sir Francis Bell: a full list of the Graduates has already appeared in the first number of the Spike. After the presentation, Sir Francis Bell briefly addressed the meeting, two choruses followed, and the singing of "God Save the King" brought to an end a ceremony remarkable at least in this, that it was the first (unhappily it does not seem that will have been the last) to be held under the conditions rendered inevitable by the war.