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The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1918


page 55


"No quarrel, but a slight contention."

—Henry VI.

Dear Mr. Spike,—The special general meeting of the V.U.C.S.A., which met in the gym. on May 9th, seems to me to call for some comment. The meeting was called to consider two matters of importance to those interested in the welfare of College life. These matters were:—
(1)The consideration of a letter from Canterbury University College protesting against the addition of an extra subject to the Arts course.
(2)The affiliation of the Students' Association with the Women's National Council.

The first motion, "That the V.U.C.S.A. endorse the motion of the C.U.C.S.A.," was passed after some short discussion. The purpose of the Senate in framing this clause was, it would seem, to equalise the Arts course with that of Science. The general feeling of the meeing was, however, that the Arts course would be unduly penalised by the introduction of an extra subject. The fact was also emphasised that the present Arts course gave some scope for real thoroughness of knowledge in the subjects chosen, which, by the addition of an extra subject, would be interfered with. It was also asked whether the Science course might not fittingly be so altered as to equalise it with the Arts standard. It was further pointed out that the inclusion of an extra subject would hamper the Arts' student in his honors course. Perhaps the solution of the matter lies in so shaping the Arts course as to allow of one language for honors, which would allow the student yet more opportunity for what we most need at the present time—accuracy of knowledge and original work.

The second motion, "That the V.U.C.S.A affiliate with the Women's National Council," received no fair handling, and the motion, after many interruptions and much waste of time, was lost.

Miss Nicholls was good enough to put the situation before the meeting. It may be summed up thus: The aims of the Women's National Council are:—To act as the mouthpiece of women's societies; to secure equality of treatment for women with men; to remove all restrictions against women's standing for Parliament.

It was explained that other associations which include men and women had affiliated, and that there is nothing in the constitution of the V.U.C.S.A. to prevent affiliation. The pros. and cons. were next stated. The disadvantages were summarised as none, and the advantages as follows:—
I.Affiliation would bring the University more into touch with the life of the community, and would thus necessarily broaden the interests of the students. Such a result is most desirable, especially at the present time, where prompt deliberation and practical help are required. For what use is a University training, unless it help to solve the ever-increasing problems which are springing up around us?
II.Affiliation means co-operation with women's movements throughout the Dominion, and thus any ideas we wish considered, through their cooperation, would have more prominence and weight! Again, while our help to the Women's National Council should be as valuable to them as theirs to us, we should in no way be bound down to subscribe to any set course of which we might disapprove.
III.It was stressed, also, that the actual process of affiliation would not end the matter. On the contrary, here would begin the real duty of the students—the duty of thinking out for themselves the problems around them, and realising that merely looking-on is not playing the game.

It was a keen disappointment to those who had hoped much from the motion, when it was lost by some five votes. The meeting, be it added, was throughout especially remarkable for its noise—noise strangely unrelieved by any interval of wit or humor on the part of the noise-makers. No one acquainted or unacquainted with College, passing within the vicinity of the gym, on this night, would have been persuaded that important problems were being decided upon. Indeed, the most striking feature of the evening was the inability—on the part of the noise-makers—to appreciate the fact that there were any problems to be faced. Might it be suggested that it page 56 is time that such means of entertainment as tin cans, rattles, and the turning out of lights be abandoned from College meetings, and that more original and less objectionable methods of enlivening a meeting be found.

In conclusion, I should like to add one fact—that a special general meeting is not called unless there be some matter of importance to be considered; some matter which touches all and requires sincere thinking and voting by all.—I am, etc.,

Dissatisfied But Hopeful.

* * * *

Dear "Spike,"—It has been laid upon me to emerge from the retirement which I find more suited to my temper and ability, and to draw your attention to an unfortunate feature of our College life. When I remember the ready way in which you have espoused reforms in the past, when I remember the splendid indifference you are accustomed to show to the clamors of our College Grundies, it is with a good deal of confidence and with high hopes of success that I appeal to you to lend your aid to the task of removing this reproach from our midst.

It is not other than we may expect that a young person of respectable antecedents and of average cleverness, with three or four years of Latin grammar, a year or two of Education or Philosophy, and a session of the Free Discussions' Club behind him, infused with the University spirit, possessed of the open mind and a pure hatred of dogma and convention, in a word, having breathed the atmosphere of a thoroughly intellectual place like our College—it is, I say, to be expected that such a one will be able to detect a good deal of weakness and a good deal of foolishness in the multitude from whom he has sprung, in the "lower orders." This is to be expected. But if the young person thus able to detect the weakness and foolishness of others, his inferiors, persists in their error, and discovering inconsistency and shallowness in the plebians straightway gives himself up to superficiality and vanity which differ only in their setting, we who contemplate these transactions may well ask if the last state is better t an the first. That among us such young persons are many, and the rule rather than the exception, is clear. He who above all things loves truth and sincerity in deed as in word, perceiving our state may well cry in despair, "Humbug of Humbugs—all is Humbug!"

Indeed, it seems clear to me who am not a pessimist, that this word above all, most fitly describes us; upon our forehead is written a name, and the name is Humbug. We cannot open our mouths without affecting a stupid intonation, we gush where we might be eager, we strive to be singular and modern. For God's sake, let us have done with what is unreal and untrue! Everyone knows we are fools; why should we affect such wisdom? Humbly let us learn who would instruct, sincerely let us follow who would lead. The essence and perfection of humbug surely lies in a man's saying what he does not know, and feigning to be what he is not. Let us speak the truth and be ourselves. Those of us who are accustomed to take the opportunity that is afforded by the Free Disscussions Club of enjoying a little mental relaxation have lately been hearing a good deal about knowing ourselves and loving ourselves. Is it possible that there is a need that we turn our attention for a while to that other precept, "Be thyself"?

The admirable "A.K.H.B." has left us an essay on "Things that cannot go on." I am persuaded that if we are to love wisdom and possess it, if our College is indeed to teach us this, the glorification of humbug is one thing which cannot go on. Soon may it, covering its nakedness with rags or adorned with fine clothing, be damned to the deepest Gehanna, and raise its detestable members among us no more. Who shall deliver us from the thraldom of humbug?—I am, dear "Spike," sincerely yours,

"John Jones."

* * * *

Dear "Spike,"—Have you noticed the way in which our worthy and esteemed Students' Association Executive made arrangements for the Capping concert this year? For the first time since the war, a student came forward with a suggested sketch for Capping. The Executive immediately appointed page 57 a sub-committee to go into matters. After much delay the sub-committee turned the play down, although some agreed that the general idea and the plot were good—evidently no one thought of referring it back to the author for revision—and the sub-committee dropped it. Has it been returned yet?

The next move is this. The sub-committee, consisting, for the most part, of students who have done very little in the way of amateur theatricals, and of ex-students who do not know the talent available, accept the first three plays offered and immediately cast them, in total ignorance of the requirements of each character. What is the result? Firstly, at a meeting of the prospective casts, three of the best performers refuse to act owing to the unsuitability of the plays selected or to the unsuitability of the character. Again, it is found that the very student who had gone to so much trouble to help in the capping, had been slighted in such a way that not even a small part in any of the three plays was assigned to him. Such an action, I think, should be severely censured. However, the Executive has not even yet decided what is to be done. Lo! and behold! inside a week another arrangement has been made. Two of the plays have been cut out and a capping extravaganza substituted.

Now, dear "Spike," what are the remedies for these mistakes? To my mind, the first is this: If the Executive need a sub-committee, let them appoint on it those students who will have to do the work. Then the play or plays will be cast properly, and students will have a say in selecting the parts they have to play and those most suited to each individual.

Secondly, let the Executive decide all arrangements at least two months before the night of production. It is not a fair thing to expect amateurs to work up a play in less time than professionals would require. Hoping that those in high places may read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the suggestions put forward.—Believe me, yours sincerely,