The Spike [: or, Victoria University College Review 1957]
"A University is a corporation or society which devotes itself to a search after knowledge for the sake of its intrinsic value."
Bruce Truscott"—Red Brick University
During the coming session of Parliament, legislation will be enacted which will change the name of Victoria University College to "The Victoria University of Wellington." The change of title, even though it will not directly bring any new powers or functions, is a significant one. It implies a growing-up, a recognition that, poorly equipped with buildings and amenities though she is, the College possesses the qualities and ideals which entitle her to take her place among the Universities of the world.
But to many people, including a large number of the students at "Vic.," there will be no significance whatsoever in the new title, simply because they lack understanding of what is implied by the word "university." We have all heard the appellation "glorified night school" used to describe Victoria, and this phrase accurately describes what the College has meant to thousands of part-timers (though not all), who have panted up the hill at five o'clock in the evening and rushed down it again an hour or so later. To many full-timers as well, Victoria has been merely a school"—a little different perhaps from the schools they have left, because attendance at the class room has been more or less optional and life has pleasantly drifted by in the warm, smoky atmosphere of the Caf and the Common Rooms, but still basically a school where exams must be sat at the end of the year.
There is a danger that the new University will turn into a superior secondary school if such an attitude becomes dominant. It is not easy for the small group of people who impart the university character to Victoria to maintain their ideals in an intellectual climate which is not so much hostile to them as apathetic. Yet it is essential that these people keep their faith and strive even more vigorously to inspire their fellows with the love of research and the desire for that liberal education, which, in the words of Newman, forms a habit of mind lasting through life, "of which the attributes are freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation and wisdom." It is to these people and these ideals that this issue of The Spike is dedicated.