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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review October, 1920

Mr. G. W. Von Zedlitz

Mr. G. W. Von Zedlitz.

Sir,—I very much regret to see that certain local bodies have considered it fitting to pass resolutions on the question of the appointment of Mr. G. W. von Zedlitz to the Chair of Modern Languages at Victoria University College. The Newmarket and Birkenhead Boroughs seem to have passed resolutions on the matter without even realising that the case has two sides. At the least, the question is controversial, and it seems to me that an attempt on the part of a public body whose knowledge of the circumstances is obviously limited, to prejudge a cause which may come before another public body, is highly undesirable. The question of Mr. von Zedlitz has been discussed so often that one hesitates to reopen the matter. There is involved a general question of University policy, to which the Universities of the world have given a broad and generous answer even in those ages of ignorance and war which we call "dark." There is involved a matter of good faith as between employer and employee. There is involved a matter of personal justice. In regard to the special features of Mr. von Zedlitz's case, it may be noted again that Mr. von Zedlitz is the son of an English mother; that his education was largely English; that he has lived in New Zealand for nearly twenty years. He is married to a daughter of a distinguished New Zealand family of undoubted patriotism. During his professorship Mr. von Zedlitz won the respect and affection of many generations of students, and the loyalty of the staff and of the Council proclaims the feelings he inspired at Victoria University College. Many men who were associated with Professor von Zedlitz before the war have served at the front. As one of them, I believe that very few, if any, would have voted for the resolutions passed in their name. For myself I repudiate as strongly as I may the idea that such a resolution can be supported by any enlightened view of justice or patriotism.

F. A. de la Mare.

Auckland Military Hospital, October 23rd, 1919.