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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 15. July 29, 1953

Debating Censure

Debating Censure

In response to a Special General Meeting of the Debuting Society called for Tuesday evening in the lower Gymn., 15 persons heard a motion of "no confidence" in the Committee of the Society moved by Mr. B. Elwood. After some small discussion, this motion was amended by Mr. Pip Piper to read us a motion of censure. The amendment being put and carried, the amended motion was put and carried. 9 votes to 8.

Highlights of the brief and uproarious meeting included the cheers from the multitudes as Mr. McLean eulogised "Just as the O'Brien family has passed away from the exec . . . "and (Frank Curtin's indignant "They Haven't passed away;" ); Frank Curtin speaking of the crux of the matter . . . ("I Beg; your pardon!") of various people sucking tree tomatoes including Marjorie Munro. Meida O'Reilly. Dave Somerset (from whom emanated varied and weird "animal noises" as the chairman. Conrad Bollinger) put it.

A committee was elected to enquire into the position of Plunket Medal Judges, the following being Successful; John McCreary. Mr. Milbura. Messrs. Curtin and Bollinger and Miss Forde.

Representatives at Tournament were announced: Joint Scroll. Messrs. Cruden and J. Whitta (Frank Curtin cannot be at Tournament) Bledisloe Medal. Miss Meida O'Reilly and Mr. Conrad Bollinger.

Friday Debate

An inspiring attendance of 23 people in the Little Theatre on Friday evening heard a debate on the subject "That V.U.C. adds nothing commendable to the social and cultural life of the community."

The Misses Anne Olsen and Meida O'Reilly spoke for the negative. Messrs. Elwood and Whitta for the affirmative. Mr. Elwood, opening the case for the affirmative, made much of the fact that this College "is divided Into five parts." He said that he had accosted two people by the cable-car and had linked them "What influence has the University?" One a gentleman replied. "What University?" On being told "Victoria." continued Ml. Elwood, the person in question asked. "Victoria who"' This showed "conclusively" that the university did not have the influence that it should have.

He conceded that the Professors did add something to the community, but "they are too silent on matters of importance."

Student Pranks

Coming to the part played by the undergraduate, he asked. "What is his influence?" Although it was no doubt intended as a rhetorical question, it drew varied answers from the audience. The Capping day incidents were brought to the notice of the audience, and the speaker remarked that they (the students) were fined £11 for painting the road . . . ("Ooo they were Not!" Upon the chairman's ruling that ". . . it is Customary in this Society for speakers to confine themselves to the truth . . ."he withdrew the statement.

Anne Olsen pointed out that the University had produced adult education, the School of Social Science (which does wonders with juvenile delinquency), scientists. Extrav. and Procesh (the latter with its spontaneity its birth of new ideals as it were) the students letting off steam and high spirits ("taking in high spirits would be more correct"). University students and graduates get a high percentage of "Blue Domino's" column in the "Sports Post," showing that they must have a good influence on the social life of the community. [unclear: She] also pointed [unclear: out] that the element or discent which occasionally came to the fore was extremely beneficial to the student who was after a broad mind, mentioning the Socialist Club as an example.

Direct Connections

Mr Whitta, supporting Mr. Elwood stated in effect that the University Did have a good effect on the community but it could do much better in developing its potentialities V.U.C. has for example, no "direct connection with the community" ("It has the cable car")

Meida O'Reilly, pointing out the social benefits of the University, spoke of the influence of the Debating Society and Drama Club, and, incidentally. Professor Gordon's radio talks on the use of English ("Scottish") and the theses written every so often" She admitted that She had been to a school for scandal (drama). She also drew attention to student pranks, such as "feeding elephants, with rubber balls... It is not nice to see such base things coming out. . ."

First speaker from the floor. Marjorie Munro mentioned in passing that university students "later teach Other children" and their influence was then considerable in the community.


At this point Mr. Milburn moved "That the previous question be now "put" Mr. Bollinger ruled the motion out of order then vacated the chair when Mr. Milburn moved "That the chairman's ruling be disagreed with." The motion was put and lost following which Mr. Cruden took the platform and insisted that the members of the negative were insane. The chairman ruled that this was a point of fact and so would be answered later.

In a semi-oratorical outburst of magnificent eloquence. Frank Curtin supported the affirmative and maintained that the debate hinged around the word "commendable." The corporate aspect was missing from university life—a university education falls to provide a cultural community because it was not intended to do this. It is crammed with specialised knowledge but without the broader and fuller aspects of an "education."

Mr. Gallate rose and suggested that we need not come to V.U.C. for a "varsity education . . . "we, all of us, could have gone to another institution . . ." (Speak for yourself!") and concluded "without further ado . . ." (Mr. Milburn. "Say adieu now").

Mr. Milburn then took the platform and surpassed even F. L. Curtin's efforts at oratory. Who sets the standards of commendability? he wanted to know. And since there was no one to set the standards of commendability who was to say whether or not a certain act was not commendable? These questions remain unanswered.

Summing Up

Miss Olsen and Mr. Elwood then summed up their respective rases The latter replied to Mr. Cruder, that he was in full control of his senses (Cheers), and that he and his partner had accepted the "sharp edge of the wedge" in this debate in decency ("Ooooo he accepted indecency!"). "If the utter irrcievancies of the opposing Side were tarred, they would make a main highway."

The motion was then put to the audience, and was carried ( in the negative form) by eight votes to five A second vote was taken to enable Mr. Milburn to cast his vote, and the voting this time was even. The chairman declined to use his casting vote as he left that the motion was an indication of an opinion of the house rather than a fact.


The judge. Miss C. Forde gave her placings to speakers as follows:
First—Mr. Milburn.
Second—Mr. Curtin.
Third—Mr. Cruden.
Fourth—Meida O'Reilly, Mr. El-wood.
Fifth—Mr. Whitta.
Sixth—Miss Anne Oisen.

She pointed out that wit is allowable on the stage only if it is used as a debating point Mr. Elwood read from his notes, which completely ruined the effect of "What we say we say in all sincerity." The use made of notes, if at all should be much less obvious.

The meeting ended with supper served 10.30 p.m

B. C. Shaw