Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 2. March 23, 1959
Portfolios Recommended — Excellent Report
The select committee set up late in 1958 to study student administration at Victoria has brought down an excellent report involving the most sweeping and the most sensible changes in living (since 1950 maybe) memory.
The report from the Committee is written by John Hercus and Peter O'Brien. The other members were Brian Shaw, John Marchant and Bernie Galvin, the last two former presidents of the association.
Briefly, the report suggests streamlining the sub-committee system and passing all minor decisions to the reduced number of sub-committees to be retained. Exec would act as a policy-making and co-ordinating body, getting free of a mass of detailed work.
For Exec the select committee offers the portfolio system in work at the other three universities. There would be five officers (as at present), together with eight committee members elected to specific portfolios, each to be chairman of an association sub-committee responsible for the detailed administration of the portfolio.
Three Under Fire
Three positions are not particularly exacting—indeed, the report states: "On some matters the two House Committees will combine, but the select committee thought it desirable to have a separate committee to deal with matters directly affecting the fair sex."
It is probable that the select committee was merely anticipating the obvious criticism that it will be harder for women to get on to Exec if this system is approved.
The fact remains, however, that the administration of the Student Union Building as a whole is unlikely to be carried out by the holders of these two portfolios. More probably their job will boil down to keeping the floors of the Common Rooms clean and the props in the Gym and Theatre intact. Nor will the P.R.O. have very much to do unless Exec comes up with some very ambitious ideas about better relations with Wellington's citizens.
We would suggest, therefore, that the internal duties set out under R.R.O. — accommodation, health, employment and general, whatever that means, should be included as the common duties of the Men's and Women's House members.
The position designated P.R.O. could well be retitled Publications, with Public Relations included under that heading. The actual production of the Capping Book would come under the Publications Committee, and the distribution under Capping. They are quite separate functions, anyway. Any co-ordination needed would be carried out by the Cappicade Committee.
Under this system Exec, members will at last be elected to specific duties, which may be easily discovered and understood. Even perhaps undertaken. Exec, will become a combination of experts (portfolio holders) and administrators (officers). The qualifications quoted in the election blurbs will become more relevant, All this, and more you may read in the report available at Exec, office—in fact you should have. If you have not you will have difficulty following the following criticism.
The acid reference to Margaret Williams was not written by me, nor had I intended there to be any reference whatsoever. The staff of Salient will oblige me by refraining from uninformed comment.