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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, June 1929

Letters To The Editor

page 40

Letters To The Editor


Dear Spike

I would like to draw the attention of the student body to the very bad system, or rather, lack of system, followed by the University of New Zealand in respect to examinations, generally and specifically, in the hope that the students, by continued agitation, may have these matters put right.

(I.)The time-tables for the examinations should be in the hands of all students at least 14 days before the commencement of the examinations. The University collects thousands of pounds annually in examination fees, and the students benefit only to the extent of receiving a time-table a day or two before the examinations actually commence, and I need hardly point out that nearly every year these time-tables are altered during the progress of the examinations. Most students received a notice from the University that entrance fees for the November examinations must be paid by July 10th. but this does not mean that the students will get an accurate timetable well before the examinations; it merely means that the University pockets the interest on the fees collected, and unless some reforms are instituted or a change made in the University office, the time-table will this year be as late as in the past.

The results of the examinations in many subjects are published before Christmas, and the notification of marks is usually given in January, but the Law students are kept waiting till the end of January before the results of Jurisprudence and Constitutional History are even published.

It is understood that this unnecessary delay is caused by the practice of sending the papers to Australia to be marked. The mere fact that the University of New Zealand will not allow the New Zealand professors to set and mark the papers, is a grave reflection on the professors, but it also reflects back to the authorities who appoint the professors, whom they thus acknowledge to be unequal to the task of examining their own classes. It is a farce to call a degree a degree of the New Zealand University when at least in some subjects the examiners are men of another country.

A certain professor stated after a trip to Australia, that the New Zealand professors were as good as the Australian. Taking this statement as correct, it is ridiculous to have equal, or perhaps inferior, men examining the students, and even if the examiners are superior to the New Zealand professors, it is time our professors were changed for ones who know their jobs. The results of this practice of getting Australia, or any other outsiders, are:

(1)Waste of time sending the papers away and the waste of time in sending them back.
(2)Unnecessary expense involved in postage and cabling the results and marks,—assuming that they are cabled as they should be. under present methods, to save some time.page 41
(3)Considerable sums of money to pay the examiners leave this country every year and show no return.
(4)The examiner can only have a vague idea of what is required. For example, in the Constitutional History paper for the LL.B. examination in 1928, the Australian examiner omitted to ask any question which had even a remote bearing on the subject of the British Empire overseas, although the University calendar distinctly sets it down for inclusion in that paper.
(5)It is no satisfaction to be examined by a person who is not a New Zealander and who has no connection with the New Zealand University.
(III.)The marks are not sent out to the students till after the executive meeting of the Council in April; most received their notices in the beginning of May, that is eight weeks after this College has started on another year.

This is the present position. A mere matter of form keeps the students waiting two months after the University year has begun, and the absurdly long time of six months after the examinations, for their results, and yet the University demand that the fees for examinations be paid four months before examination and 10 months before the results reach the students.

It is apparent that the largely useless and not very ornate figure-head, called the University Council, does not worry itself about such a trivial fact that students are expected to decide upon their course of study for the year two months before they know definitely whether they passed or failed in the examinations of the previous year.

It is not difficult to find remedies. I suggest these following, which occurred to a person of such mean intellectual powers as myself:—

(1)Specify a time before which the marks must be released, such time to be at least fourteen days before the commencement of the University year.
(2)Delegate power to the Registrar to release the marks as soon as they are received from the examiner.
(3)If the power of the Council can not be so delegated, compel the Council to have special meetings to release such marks as soon as possible after they are received from the examiner, the time limit being as above.

It should be unnecessary to point out to the Council that without students there could be no University, but that the University could exist without the Council; therefore, the students are entitled to received consideration in matters so important to themselves.—I am, etc..


page 42

An Appeal

Dear Fellow-Student (per Spike),—

Do not be in such a hurry to get off to your swat to-night. Stop and think with me for a while. Last night you met with a crowd of others in the common-room to discuss why so-and-so was off his game last Saturday. Why did you want to talk it over with the other fellows? You wished to make your mind clear on the point in question and to improve your knowledge of the game. Does it never occur to you that you are playing the game of life every day and every hour of the day, and that it would pay you to meet your fellows to discuss its problems? You play games and you do your level best to improve in them. Have you ever given a thought to the matter of how you are going to get the best out of your life in the same way that you get the best out of your sports?

Perhaps you do not play games. Then, remember that your life was intended not as a routine of "swat," but as an opportunity for you to take your place in society and so benefit your fellows. As a University student you are given more than average facilities to learn. But, surely, you are not given this added opportunity merely so that you can learn the Institutes of Justinian. It is rather to learn how to make the best of that life of yours. Book-study, you know, is only one of many means to that end. You profess to be a law student; then you should know the Institutes of Justinian. If you profess to be a Christian, surely an understanding of what Christianity is, what it is for. what good it is to you, and how you can use it to advantage in your work, your study, and your home and student life must be a question vitally interesting to you.

Again I appeal to you to stop and think. Question yourself a little. Why do I call myself a Christian? Have I any right to do so? What do I mean when I say that I am a Christian? If you cannot answer yourself, then come along with your fellow students in the Students' Christian Union and let us talk it over together. We, too, are in the dark on many points, and we would like to know what you think. Perhaps, too. we may, by friendly discussion, help you to solve some of your own little problems.

Think of the time that you waste every day. You must be able to spare one hour out of the one hundred and sixty-eight that go to make up a week. Come along to one of the Christian Union's weekly circles. You will find that the time spent will repay you two or three times over. Every one, you know, has some principles that guide him in his every action in life. Come along and discuss them with young men and women of your own age and you will be taking a step towards one of the highest goals of man expressed in the words of ancients as the command to "Know thyself."—I am, etc..


(Leave a note in the rack for the Secretary, or see one of the Committee for further particulars of the activities of the S.C. Union.)

page 43

Care Of Students

The Editor, "Spike."

Sir.—Thinking students of Victoria College as a result of the recent earthquake are wondering what steps the Council is taking in order to safeguard the many promising young lives entrusted to its care, from the danger resulting from further shocks. When it is considered that the whole future of our country is housed in a three and four-storeyed brick building without fire escapes, automatic lifts or even parachutes, it is seen that the Government is not cognizant of its responsibilities.

It has been suggested that poles, similar to those in use at local Fire Stations should be installed at intervals throughout the buildings. (It is doubtful whether the installation of one in the library would show sufficient return. Most of the habitues look as though they would really prefer to remain there and die rather than to stir from their seats for a moment). However, at the first warning of the approach of a 'quake all those who wish, may run to the nearest pole and slide to the ground floor where an escalator—somewhat swifter than that to which they have been accustomed, will deposit them safely on the tennis court or among the waving cabbage trees without. [Without what?—Editor.]

It is recognized that the pole is not proof against feminism. It is practically a certainty that some of the more emotional of the zoological women students will take their crayfish and wetas with them, and in their efforts to grip the pole with their teeth alone, will fall off somewhere on the journey. But misadventure is only to be expected. They would be V.U.C.'s contribution to the martyrdom of science.

Then there are the philosophers of floor "C" who, in their excitement, may attempt the journey headfirst. Certain rules prohibiting this will be included in the Pole Regulations. The most stringent of these will be the "One Way Traffic" rule. Some highly strung lady on successfully covering half the distance might suddenly become panicky and make frenzied efforts to climb to the top again. If she persisted, debates may take place halfway down the pole. All this would tend to delay matters and delay is what we are striving to avoid. We might even go to the extent of greasing the pole to hasten descent—but it is to be feared that most of the women students in their dislike for dripping and second-rate butter, would most probably go on the roof to hide from the Officials.

The pole system is only one of many that have been mooted. The engineering faculty is hoping to bring out a patent shute in the near future. Each student, on entering V.U.C. will be fitted out with an asbestos mat which he will be obliged to carry with him on all occasions. When the alarm sounds, instead of stampeding down the bannisters, rolling down the spiral or jumping out of windows, everyone will calmly unstrap his mat, place it on a nearby shute and slide to safety.

In the meanwhile, if anyone else is suddenly seized with a bright idea, will he please connect with official circles immediately. The matter is one page 44 that requires instant attention. Already many prospective students for 1930 have decided with the V.U.C. structure in mind, to do what politicians have always begged them to do—to go on the land.

Since writing this, I find that it has been decided to order an airship similar to the Graf Zepplin for the express convenience of V.U.C. students. When the next 'quake comes, the whole student body will muster on the roof and embark in "Victoria." until conditions regain normality. For further particulars, apply to the Registrar.—XYZ.

To Contributors

"Turf Notes" have been sent for a gallop.

* * *

"Marigolds" have been forwarded to the Biology Lab. for analysis.

* * *

"The Bishop and the Dancing Girl"—The point might not be noticed.

* * *

"Encouragement During an Earthquake" has suffered serious damage. However, we have rescued two stanzas from the debris:—

"Never think to turn and flee,
Flee across the classroom floor,
The College is built solidly
And shall stand for evermore—evermore!
"Till the day that the ringing sea,
Singing 'cross the classroom floor,
Shall cause it engulfed to be,
Engulfed for evermore—evermore."

* * *

"The Mucker" has been mucked up and the remains are spattered over a few of the preceding pages.

* * *

A special coloured supplement has been issued with this number of "Spike." Unfortunately it has dropped out of several copies, including this one