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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1935

Free Discussions Club

Free Discussions Club

Again this year the Club has confined itself largely to meetings led by speakers who are, or have recently been, students of the College. Of its six discussion meetings held so far, only two have been led by non-students.

The first discussion of the year was held immediately following the Annual Meeting of the Club, and was opened with an interesting talk by Mr. A. D. Munro. His subject, "Something Controversial," was concerned with tendencies to Naziism in New Zealand. At the next meeting Mr. Alfred Katz led a discussion on Race Problems, in which he clearly exploded the Nordic theory of race superiority, and dealt with the cultural basis of race prejudice. Mr. McElwain, the next speaker, outlined the theory of Facism, but his audience was hardly sympathetic. Spiritualism was the subject of the next discussion, which opened with an illustrated talk by Mr. E. Hubbard. The speaker gave an account of the claims of psychic science, but was not prepared to accept them on the evidence so far produced. The next speaker, Mr. Ian Campbell, took as his subject "Religion or Revolution," and advanced the stimulating contention that the thinker. must adopt either Roman Catholicism or Communism as the way out of world chaos. The discussion at the latest meeting was on the subject, "Democracy, Communism and Dictatorship," and was led by Dr. C. R. Mitchell. His central theme was that every man should be free to develop his own personality to the benefit of society as a whole, and the discussion that followed his talk was perhaps the liveliest in the year. The Club proposes to hold at least two more meetings this year, the principal speakers to be Dr. I. L. G. Sutherland (Club President) and Captain H. M. Rushworth.

An event of some importance to the Club has been the adoption of a new rule, which permits the publication of reports of Free Discussion meetings, subject to permission being granted by the persons affected. Though passed at the Club's Annual Meeting, the alteration to the Constitution has been put into force only after much correspondence with the Professorial Board and the Students' Association Executive.

Early in the year a new procedure was tried at one of the Club's meetings when the principal speaker had finished, the audience broke up into several groups for discussion. The old procedure, however, was thought preferable and has been retained.