Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 5. June 8, 1959
Exec Spends More Time Doing Less — We Are Fed Up!
Exec Spends More Time Doing Less
We Are Fed Up!
After the Special General Meeting on the Executive's management of student affairs at the beginning of the year, Salient thought it saw the appearance of a swallow heralding better weather. It turned out the swallow was merely peristalsis of some exec. oesophagi.
We didn't go all out to support Don Hampton (now no longer with us) because we didn't like his methods, and thought the shock exec. would get from the packed meeting would be sufficient to jerk them out of their lethargy. We were wrong. Frankly, on recent showings We Are Fed up with almost the whole——lot of them.
We don't suggest they are lazy. In fact, the present incumbents have probably spent more time doing less than any of their predecessors. And if anyone can read between the very tight lines of the exec. minutes one will probably find they have pursued more irregular practices than any of their predecessors.
They have been full of good intentions and remarkably little action.
Take the question of the Cafeteria alone. This issue first came to a head in the very first week of term. It caused much heart rending and serious thinking from everybody. By Easter a report had been brought down, which turned out not to be quite the last word that had been expected.
A sub-committee was set up. It eventually met after Easter and after some members of the subcommittee had taken the law into their own hands and done some investigation. This refuted the exec's report and made certain recommendations. As these recommendations included bringing an outside caterer in to look at the situation, Salient felt it shouldn't report the matter till Miss Rosie had been told.
At the time of going to press Miss Rosie had still not been told.
There were reasons for this of course. Exec had so many things to catch up on that it was some time before it could consider the sub-committee's report. Then following an uninformed discussion the report was adopted.
Normally David Wilson has taken Cafeteria under his own wing. Apparently this time it was too touchy and he delegated Cherry Pointon to do the dirty work (just before Queen's Birthday Weekend).
Interestingly enough, Salient's suggestion that the cafeteria was progressively being pushed into the background because it was touchy, has never been denied.
But this is only one leaf in a teacup of storms. Two rental vans were hired for the Procesh and Cappicade sales. One of them was returned soon after, but the other was kept on extended hire, for the Indonesian Study Tour, Extravaganza, and the association's annual cocktail party.
We don't suggest there might not have been a good reason for this but we want to know why individual members of exec. were able to run up as much as 500 personal miles each?
Why too was a special meeting of exec called at the Opera House (unconstitutionally) to put the charge for the hiring through three separate accounts. A later meeting ratified the minutes of that meeting (they were unable to confirm them because of the unconstitutional position), but decided with a sudden twinge of responsibility that the vans should be charged to one account only.
The ratification was done despite the dissent of the women's vice-president, Cherry Pointon, who had only been told of the special meeting 10 minutes before and refused to attend.
President Wilson was away sick at the time and the constitution lays down the two vice-presidents must act jointly in such circumstances.
Undaunted, vice-president John Hercus carried on regardless, as he did frequently during Wilson's absence.
Not that Wilson himself has so much to be pleased about. Whether it was denied at the S.G.M. or not, there is not much love lost between him and the rest of exec (with the possible exception of one female member). Quietly it is said that he is a "Tyrant" and our reporter at the last meeting felt this wasn't far from the truth.
The Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held on Tuesday, June 30. In view of the lackadaisical attitude of the present Exec. we urge students to attend this meeting in numbers at least as great as those at Don Hampton's Special General Meeting.
He has lacked confidence in exec, and they in him. When on rare occasions, he delegates, he does not seem to check the results very carefully, and often goes on his merry way with little reference to his officers.
At least under Marchant and Galvin there were consultations before action.
Exec and Extrav is a story on its own. Did they authorise the consumption of 40 gallons of grog on each night of the Wellington season? Do they care? Has this possibly anything to do with the profit of £20 (or the possible loss of £200) the last meeting of exec were told would be made on Extrav? Last year profits were in the vicinity of £2000.
Nor was there any control of complimentary tickets. Dr G. A. Currie and the United States Ambassador, Mr Francis H. Russell, both sent cheques for the Gala Opening, yet on the day, they had to inquire as to what had happened to their tickets; they had not received even an acknowledgement. Last minute arrangements had to be made for the Press complimentaries because someone had lost a key.
And so we go on. What happened to the Easter tournament refunds? What about the bars for the 1958 Easter Tournament, let alone the 1959 bars?
What has been done about the vandalism and breaking and entry round the university? Was executive so embarrassed because their own officers were involved that they had to call a special meeting of officers, which no one else was allowed to attend. The meeting ended with the culprits being patted on the head and told not to be naughty boys again.
What has been done about the proposed Student Warden? Salient is sick and tired of being told/ this is a subject of delicate negotiations.
Is it so delicate that the students are not entitled to know what's going on, or even to know that anything is going on, or that the student warden is really a serious issue?
It came up years ago and still the students know nothing about it. And just quietly few of the exec members really know what is going on.
The constitution is at last cleared up to exec's satisfaction and an attempt was made, again unconstitutionally to rush its ratification through the student body so elections at the end of the month could be run on the proposed "portfolio system." Because of the shocking organisation of the first S.G.M. called for this purpose, it lapsed for lack of a quorum.
So they resorted to the subterfuge of calling it in a full common room at lunchtime.
At this stage the constitution should only be ratified by the A.G.M. and brought into effect in the coming year not before the election and certainly not postdated as was attempted.
Anyway the S.G.M. was out of order as exec only gave Mitchell and Hercus the power to "investigate the possibility" of calling an S.G.M., there was no mention of power to act.
Let not other members of exec sit and gloat because Wilson has taken the brunt of this attack. He has done so only because we believe the president has the first duty to clean things up. There are others who are probably much more guilty, in spite of the amount of work they take on their own shoulders.
This and so much more. Space alone precludes an extended list of the numerous other things which could be put to the debit of exec. Lack of action precludes a list of credits.
What worries us is who will take over, so few are not [unclear: tainted] in some way. The untainted ones are as fed-up as we are.
Whatever you do, attend the Annual General Meeting and really examine the stewardship. It stinks.