Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 8. 1961.
Dear Sir.—I am getting tired of some of the silly chest-beating that goes on round this place.
In particular I think the author of the article "Graduands' Orgy—Swinish" is gnashing his teeth on the wrong end of the stick. I was at the supper. Some of his facts are wrong. Firstly, the motion about "reported incidents during Capping" had nothing to do with Grad. Supper; it was dealing with the Bishop Bennett Hostel raid, and with the consequences of the injury to a balcony-walker during Capping Ball. Secondly, of course, his 11½ dozen bottles of spirits turn out to be 31 dozen: 8 dozen bottles were ginger beer. This makes two-thirds of a bottle of beer, and one-fifteenth of a bottle of spirits (including sherry, etc.) per person over four hours, which is hardly excessive. The spirits could all have been drunk during the toasts.
|(1)||It had not been realised that the Common Room ceiling is lined with accoustic tiles.|
|(2)||No one, in consequence, had considered the need to install a public address system in time for the supper.|
|(3)||The speakers anyway, mainly spoke rather quietly.|
|(4)||Too many people had been asked to speak, and to speak for too long.|
|(5)||The speeches started very late (even the arranged time, 9 p.m., was rather late) because of the difficulty in rounding up all the speakers.|
Due to (1), (2) and (3), it was impossible to hear most of the speakers 30-40 feet away, in complete silence, let alone with and audience noise at all. We endured one hour and 20 minutes of the most ghastly and unspeakable boredom. In the circumstances, I think the audience behaved rather well. Milling, perhaps. Drunken, no. It was certainly not a drunken brawl. The failure was in the organisation. and can be readily forgiven. I feel that President Mitchell was most unjust to the audience: he should apologise to them as well as to the speakers, since both suffered.
As to the stiletto-heel marks on the floor: they should know by now to lay a floor that can take the sort of shoes that women insist on wearing. Similarly, window-sills that don't stain easily. The cigarette stubbs could have been caused by people standing up, during the speeches, a long way from an ashtray, to avoid "milling." All these things could, and did, occur without the supper being even very badly behaved, let alone an orgy. The writer quite fails to prove his point at all. His only serious complaint was that a few people were sick in the lavatories—that happens at every student show—there is always some silly ass who has to learn about drink the hard way. You can't penalise the whole gathering because of him. Also, some nasty person(s) scribbled on the lavatory-wall. This was, alas, only to be expected. There are perverts in the world. You can't watch them all the time.
Lastly, is Studass money so very badly mispent in thus honouring each successive batch of graduates (which should include every student, some day)?
I gather that the author of the "Graduands' Orgy" tidied up after the supper, but did not go to it. Thus, he got a largely wrong impression of the function. It was noble of him to tidy up, but his article is not calculated to do more good than harm.
—J. C. Ross.