Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 7, No. 7 July 26, 1944
Mr. Campbell, for the negative, ran true to type. So much so that an interjection was heard: "My God, it is the bloody Minx." He complained that there is a lack of records (a statement which was later refuted by Mr. Risked and that no analysis of benefits had been made. He complained that the W.E.A. had failed to train the people for citizenship, and to encourage interest in the major problems of today. He attributed the indifferent support of the movement to the type of course which is offered and [unclear: gt] failure to solicit students.
Mr. Watson first pricked some of the bubbles which Mr. Campbell had blown, then gave a summary of the benefits gained by W.E.A. members, more especially in country districts. He described the Summer School and also the effect on rural communities, painting a rosy picture of farmers discussing fine arts instead of butterfat prices and of local yokels sitting in ditches considering Problems of the Pacific rather than "the bitch next door."
Miss Joan Taylor, seconding Mr. Campbell, produced figures which show how small the W.E.A. membership is and how class attendances drop off considerably as the course proceeds. She pointed out that it fails to gain monetary support from the public and from public bodies like the Wellington City Council.
Mr. Barrington began by deprecating the hysteria which is so prevalent today. He considers that the creation of a good citizen is the creation of that kind of mental outlook which is opposed to cant and hysteria but which is founded on a critical mind, and an even temper of mind and spirit, based on knowledge and discussion. He claims that the W.E.A. is doing this. He gave figures to show how wide a variety of people attend W.E.A. classes, how democratic is the spirit of the National Council and he compared the role of the Association in the community to the leaven of [unclear: brean] and the salt of the earth.
Mr. Williams claimed that the W.E.A. has small support because it appeals only to a few people. He had shown a prospectus to a friend he described as a worker, whose only comment was "Are you kiddin'." He complained that the W.E.A. is merely retailing university learning at a discount. where it should go out to meet the workers, should use newspapers, radio and cinema and generally sell its product by making it attractive.
Mr. Campbell had little to say in his summing up, but made references to "passing the baby" and "we are the hounds, you dirty dogs," allusions which seemed rather beside the point. He warned the affirmative of the danger of words and went as far as to recommend them to attend one of their own courses on this very subject.
Mr. Riske, summing up for the W.E.A., made several statements which would not have gone unchallenged had he not been the last speaker. However, he made good points in expressing the undesirability of "mobilising mentality" and quoted rumour as appreciating the opposition of the W.C.C., a fact which was considered to reflect credit on the Association.
Mr. Farquhar, who acted as judge, gave a few points of advice to the speakers. He gave the decision to the W.E.A., praising Mr. Riske for his general exposition, Mr. Watson as being genuine, and Mr. Barrington for his explicitness. He summed up the Varsity team by quoting "me thinks they do protest too much." He criticised Mr. Campbell for his extravagance and Mr. Williams for his "flights of rhetoric." Miss Taylor, he said, criticised the body, not its functions. He placed the first three speakers: Mr. Riske, Mr. Barrington, Mr Campbell.
Flowery compliments were then exchanged between the leaders of the two sides, and the subject was thrown open to speakers from the floor.