Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 5. June 8, 1959
Who runs the universities? What is the most important section of it? At various times and in various ways, no doubt the students, academic staff, and administrative staff all consider themselves to fill this role. But an unnoticed amount of power seems to reside these days in the cleaners.
It is absurd that student meetings—unless a staff member is present—are liable to be terminated by the interruptions of the impatient cleaners at 9.30 p.m. As a start earlier than eight is precluded by the lecture timetable, this means that student meetings can normally only last for one and a half hours.
This is usually not nearly long enough. Most could well continue until 10 or 10.30. Of course, there is the other side of the story—the university must be cleaned and the cleaners naturally wish to get home as early as possible.
Conditions may be different when the Student Union Building is opened in the middle of next year. But in the meantime something must be done.
There was discussion recently in the daily press about the disturbing nocturnal habits of milkmen, and one person suggested that instead of delivering milk in the early morning when people were trying to sleep, deliveries should be made between dusk and 11 p.m. when very few persons would be disturbed.
It would be a most desirable step if our cleaners followed the same principle of least disturbance and did their work in the early morning, say, from five to eight.
The women cleaners in the Post Office start about 4 a.m. Our cleaners, too, would be healthier for the early rising; they would be able to inhale the fresh early morning air and have their evenings free!
A curious and most undesirable custom seems to have established itself at Victoria in the annual student elections. I refer to the fact that although the names of the persons elected to the executive are published, the support which they, and the defeated candidates, enjoyed from the student body is not.
What is the reason for this withholding of the voting figures? In no other system of democratic elections (municipal or national) are these details not revealed.
The withholding of the voting figures may not be undemocratic, in the strictest sense, but it is certainly contrary to the best democratic traditions and it is to be hoped that this year there will be a change in this matter.
Are there any defenders of the Vote of Thanks? I never seem to run across any of them. Let us have some action, then, and see if we can rid the university, at any rate, of this nuisance.
Perhaps a Society for the Prevention of Votes of Thanks (or the Prevention of Cruelty to Audiences) should be formed?
On the other hand, we already have too many societies, and it would probably be most effective if members of student clubs were to propose at the next committee meeting that votes of thanks be abolished forthwith.