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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review September 1921

Free Discussions Club

page 52

Free Discussions Club

Although for various reasons the activities of the Club have this session been confined practically to the winter term, it must be said, on the other hand, that in such work as the Club has had time and opportunity to carry out there has been evidenced a growing interest. Throughout the initial term of the year it remained dormant, but on June 2nd members attended to decide upon the fate of the Club, and to discuss the affairs of the nations. Assembled on that date they quickly despatched the business of election of officers for the year, and opened up their campaign, traversing in part the fields of Ethics, Religion, Politics and Law.

The current year's work marks an effort to allow students the opportunity of opening the discussions, a task which has in past years been more often entrusted to others. This departure has, however, its limitations for the introduction of outside views proves a valuable corrective to the parochial opinions often bred within a limited sphere.

At the initial meeting of the year Professor Hunter, in opening a discussion on "Imperialism and the Self-Determination of People," outlined the positions of various nations to-day, and assessed their respective rights to determine their own form of government. The subject for discussion at the next meeting pertained to the field of Religion, and the thanks of the Club are due to Rev. Wyndham Heathcote, B.A. (Oxon.), of the Unitarian Church, Wellington, who spoke on "The Church and Social Reform" Mr. Heathcote's views indeed evidence deep and original thought, and gave great opportunity for discussion and expression of opinion. From this the energy of the Club was directed to "The Part of Woman in Modern Progress," upon which subject the discussion was opened by Mr. J. G. Myers, who favoured the opening of all professions and walks of life to woman. A keen discussion ensued in which the cause of Woman was warmly espoused by several members, but was opposed by others who were, numerically at least the weaker party. A fortnight later the Club, headed by Mr. W. A. Sheat, B.A. devoted an evening to the investigation of the so-called "Achievements of Bolshevism. This subject, however, proved to be one on which little originality of thought was displayed, though, of course, the matter of recent treatises was much in evidence.

Following this Misses Madeley and Reader ably placed before the Club the position in respect of the Coloured Races, their subject bearing the title of "The White Man and His Rivals." For the last address to date we are indebted to Mrs. Stables of Wellington, who advocated the case for "Spiritualism." The meeting on this occasion took the usual form of a discussion and did not—rather to the disappointment of some—resolve itself into a spiritualistic seance. Members showed a spirit more criticial and sceptical than credulous, however, and it is not t proposed to form a branch of the Spiritualists' Association at College.

One more meeting remains to be held this year to complete the programme of the session. At that meeting it is proposed to take some subject which may be treated in several aspects. let us say the religious, social, scientific, ethical and legal points of view, It is further proposed that when each of these view has in turn been advanced by the leaders, the general discussion following should be devoted to a comparison of these views and to an attempt to ascertain how far they may be reconciled. This is a new method of procedure for the meetings of the Club, and should it prove satisfactory, then we propose to adopt it again next year.