Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 7. 1966.
VUWSA Annual Re for 1966 — 'A successful year in many ays'
VUWSA Annual [unclear: Re] for 1966
'A [unclear: success]ful year in many [unclear: ays]'
During The post year your executive has met on 21 occasions to formulate policy and administer the affairs of the association. The efforts of your executive over the past 12 months, whether you may consider them worth while or not, would have been of little value without the continuing support and co-operation of many members of the student body and the patience of the office staff.
Though the roll of the university has not grown as rapidly as was expected over the past few years, the association now represents approximately 4800 students. A further change has been the increasing number of full-time students, now representing 62 per cent of the roll. This, combined with the stricter approach to unsuccessful students which the university administration has been forced to adopt, has resulted in a greater turnover of students within the association.
Administratively this has created many problems. More students have the opportunity and the desire to use the facilities and activities provided, but because of the pressure of academic work those who feel able to devote their time to some of the administration are difficult to find. This is no new problem. There have always been some prepared to make sacrifices for the benefit of their fellow students, and those who don't too often revert to destructive rather than constructive criticism.
The future, however, must bring some changes. Deficiencies in the constitution and the present administrative structure have been a continuing worry to the association for a number of years. Disruptions are caused by a lack of continuity and administrative experience. It is hoped that current proposals for the reorganisation of your association's administrative structure will go a long way to giving students a greater say in their affairs and at the same time provide greater training for those who, in the future, will take up the reins of office. This is an absolute necessity where large sums of money are to be used for the benefit of the whole. Too often what amounts to basic incompetence is really a lack of training and appreciation of the long-term effects of some administrative decisions. Through the medium of Salient it is now much easier for the student to make his voice heard and it is to be hoped that executives are not in future condemned to work in virtual isolation because members of the association are too apathetic to make their views, ideas and willingness to serve, known.
In many ways this has been a successful, if in some people's minds an unspectacular, year. Much has been done to consolidate the affairs of the association and apart from some unfortunate setbacks the executive feels that it has achieved at least some measure of success in promoting your interests.
Under the current portfolio system we now have nine sub-committees, whose duties provide for the formulation of policy ideas and the successful administration of areas of association activity.
A relatively new innovation at Victoria and the first time it has been directly controlled at executive level. Student accommodation problems in Wellington are considered by other universities to be the most difficult in the country. Board is difficult to obtain in competition with business firms and civil servants. The overall shortage of accommodation in Wellington can only be of detriment to students who are forced to compete with very limited resources on a market where rents continue to spiral, often out of reach of the less well-off members of the community. Your executive feels that the time is not yet right for association funds to be used for the provision of accommodation, but the time is ripe for further pressure to be brought to bear on the community and Government for further provisions. It is felt that approaches should be made to the business community for co-operation in this respect as they, too, have similar problems and can only benefit from an increased supply of the more highly-qualified people the university and technical institutions can provide.
The association has had much pleasure in co-operating with Mrs. Brown, the university accommodation officer, and a guide to the obtaining of accommodation in Wellington has been published and will be available in 1067. Prom the students' point of view much can be achieved by the improving of relations with the city, and by making your executive aware of your problems. More information will enable better representations to be made on your behalf when often ill-founded criticism appears in the news media. It could also be pointed out that a small num-ber of students, often by their actions, make it very difficult for the general welfare of the association's members.
A new portfolio which has laid a solid foundation for future work. With this representation students need to become more aware of what they can do in respect to the extension and effectiveness of the education system which they enjoy. Liaison with staff has produced much useful co-operation in the formulation of plans for vacation research scholarships (at present hampered by the lack of funds), circulation of essays to increase awareness of techniques and abilities to be utilised, and a survey of languages carried out by the Asian Studies Society.
Considerable work has been carried out into the study of bursary anomalies and major projects currently under way nclude a survey of New Zea-land education. The commit-tee has been hampered by the reluctance of students to appreciate the worth of working in this field and to present grievances and ideas for consideration. After all, as the people being educated, students should have many views on the effectiveness of their training and the worth of courses being offered, as a contribution to the community in which they live and work.
Previously under the control of one of the vice-presidents this portfolio also has completed a successful year as separate portfolio. Of recent years the increasing involvement of this association in the International field has been closely tied with advances in NZUSA. An important start to the year was the teach-in on Vietnam. Organised by the previous executive, and in particular Miss Helen Sutch, this was a major step forward in the presentation of ideas on controversial topics in New Zealand. Based on previous overseas examples the teach-in, over a marathon session of 14 hours, enabled an audience sometimes reaching to 1000. to listen to the many points of view and endeavour to form their own conclusions. It is a cause for regret that the seeming unwillingness of supporters of the Government viewpoint caused a slightly heavier weighting on the side of the critics.
It has also been a cause for regret, throughout the extension of debate on this unhappy topic for both sides to make general and illogical statements about those who do not agree with their particular point of view. While the basic and successful aim of the teach-in was to inform, it unfortunate that those in a position to continue informing have often neglected to do so. It is an educated person's duty to think and express his views and the members of this association are by no means disloyal to their country, because thev have thought about something and expressed their conclusions, be thev right or wrong. Too often the people of this country revert to unseemly invective if thinking people both at homo and abroad offer some useful constructive criticism.
Useful contacts were made with voluntary groups within the city during organisation for International Co-operation Year. The main activities this effort being concentrat a week before exams prevent a greater association partici pation. Sharpeville Day activi-ties at the beginning of [unclear: 19] tended to fall somewhat [unclear: f] in spite of a worthwhile [unclear: le] ture and booklet being [unclear: pr] duced. Students though generally remaining apathetic Apartheid were however [unclear: rac] in their reaction to the [unclear: b] ning of NZUSA's president Ian Robertson. Over 1.000 [unclear: a] natures were obtained for petition to the South Africa Government and a vigil [unclear: w] carried out over 24 hours the South African Embassy Though the petition was accepted by the consul [unclear: furt] efforts were being made time of writing this report enable its presentation.
Students reacted very [unclear: to] an appeal for funds to directed to Indian Famine [unclear: lief]. The association has [unclear: undertaken] an appeal to business communitv for same fund. Members [unclear: cerned] should be [unclear: gratulated] for their [unclear: pul] spirited actions.
A committee which can very essential in the [unclear: day] day running of the [unclear: ur] facilities, the House [unclear: comn] tee has had a quiet [unclear: vear] is a cause of concern [unclear: clubs] do not make [unclear: enough] of their rights in regard the use of facilities, weekly newsheet and [unclear: Sal] have continued to be [unclear: us] in informing students activities of interest. penmditure on furniture for common rooms and the kitchen have enabled proved facilities and [unclear: com]
The coffee bar has [unclear: tinued] to function well [unclear: a] a valuable student [unclear: fac] Greater use of this can be made by students.[unclear: ever], and its current [unclear: fina] situation would be greatly moved by this.
Use of the common [unclear: ro] for card playing and [unclear: o] sional gambling has beecause of concern. The [unclear: ency] to cause consider disruption and mess is [unclear: t] depreciated and more [unclear: se] steps will probably have [unclear: t] made in the near [unclear: futur] her improvement does not [unclear: s] place.
• Cultural Affairs
[unclear: nder] Mr. Jamieson and [unclear: Harding] much unprove-[unclear: has] been made in the [unclear: ministration] of this side of [unclear: ciation] life. With over 30 [unclear: liable] clubs there is little use for the student not to take of some cultural [unclear: vity]. The innovation of a rural clubs council and the [unclear: sideration] of club grants a committee familiar with [unclear: ural] matters has made the [unclear: cutive]'s work much easier. [unclear: often] there are complaints [unclear: cerning] the amount of [unclear: ney] devoted to this area of [unclear: vity]. much of the blame st fall on the cultural clubs mselves for not applying money, and sometimes [unclear: bad] administration of [unclear: affairs]. A successful [unclear: Congress] has been held [unclear: the] committee is cur-[unclear: tly] considering proposals pictures to be used in the [unclear: lding].
Clubs who have held major [unclear: ductions] and functions [unclear: oughout] the year are to be [unclear: gratulated] on their efforts stimulate the thinking of [unclear: who] have not bothered extend their learning be-[unclear: that] of an academic [unclear: maton].
A well organised and gen-rally successful year has been [unclear: by] nearly 30 sports clubs. (e new gymnasium is now ing well used and local [unclear: such] as John Reid's [unclear: ash] courts have provided a [unclear: ful] extention to our sport-[unclear: facilities].
It is pleasing to note a re-rgence of strength in the administration of womens' [unclear: and] sterling efforts in using money for tours have en undertaken by [unclear: many]. A reorganisation of fiancial arrangements for [unclear: ants] has produced a most [unclear: tective] system, and the orts committee is to be con-gratulated for their con-[unclear: uing] efforts to put their onies to good and effective [unclear: .]
Tournaments have been Sucessful with a win at [unclear: Win-] in Wellington and a credit-ble performance at Easter in [unclear: edin]. Of note is the re-[unclear: gence] of the Yacht club, now affiliated to the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, which resulted in some fine wins in Dunedin. Also the performance of the rowing eight which won the inter-varsity match for the first tune in 42 years is of credit.
An inaugural Blues dinner attended by 150 people at which the Sportsman of the Year Award was presented was highly successful and guests included a member awarded the first Vuw blue (Walking) in 1913, and representatives of the Maori All Blacks and the touring Springbok team.
• Major Project, which has absorbed the majority of the students' association fee for many years, is the Student Union Building. Extensions to the building will commence this November.
A very successful and remarkably free from incidents Capping week was held. Of special note was a new style Extravaganza and Cappicade for which the producer and editors must be congratulated. At a time when Capping festivities are showing the effect of changing public tastes in entertainment it is pleasing to see efforts being made to adapt old style traditions to current trends.
Functions for graduates have now had to be split up because of increasing numbers and it is probable that 1967 will see the introduction of two graduation ceremonies. Your executive has made representations towards the improvement of these functions, many of which have been incorporated.
A continuation of the trend for the charity collection to be combined with an outside organisation has continued to be of benefit and over £1.800 was raised for the Red Cross in this way.
Salient has benefited greatly from being on a firm financial base and its up to date presentation of news has done much to stimulate increased interest in student affairs. Students are now able to be aware much sooner of what the executive is doing and a high standard of Journalism has enabled many students to become familiar with the views and opinions of others through feature articles.
Cappicade. revived again after last year's unfortunate absence was of a high and satirically effective standard. Unfortunately sales continue to decline and the Masskerade row may have some bearing on this. It is hoped that representations made through NZUSA will cause an amiable compromise to be reached, and much undesirable publicity to students thus avoided.
Also produced by the committee were the Tournament handbooks, and a successful new publication, the Orientations handbook. It is probable that the latter will replace the past contribution to the Introduction to the University, which has been co-edited in past years.
• Public Relations
An increasingly important aspect of association activities is the increased publicity which is given to worthwhile activities. Much of the credit for this must go to the Public Relations committee who have worked in many ways to improve the student side of relations with the community.
A more organised approach has resulted in the much improved co-operation of the news media. It is felt however that the growing trend, both in New Zealand and overseas, to call any person studying at an education institution a "student" has been of detrimental effect. This may seem unduly sensitive but on a number of occasions the word "student" up till now associated with "University student" has caused undue detriment by association.
The City Council elections and the possibility of student candidates was a matter of considerable discussion. Though no suitable candidate was found much interest was created, and should be ex-ploited in the future. It is interesting to note that three Auckland students obtained high polls in the Auckland elections.
A welfare project "48-hour call" was responded to very well by students and again many useful contacts were made downtown, and by their self-sacrifice students illustrated their increasing awareness of the part they can play within the community.
A film of student life, though beset with many administrative and financial problems, is nearing completion and should be a production of great value in making people more aware of the student way of life.
The Tour of Schools suspended for administrative and technical reasons last year by the University Council has been reviewed, and a new approach to this matter has been formulated. Many local schools are now to be brought to the university to see for themselves the problems related to university life.
A gathering of over 100 past executive members of the association at a dinner in May. 1966 was an unqualified success. Those present covered 66 years of Association government and also present was one foundation member of Victoria. It is hoped that this will lead to the formation of a past members or graduates society within the association with all the resultant benefits which past members and their experience can add to our modern association.
• General Affairs
Following an appeal lodged by the previous executive against the raise in transport fares by the City Council the association was successful in having the price of concession fares on the cable car reduced. This was a benefit to all Wellington residents, and the subsequent operating profit on the cable car for the last financial year, in spite of the reduction of passengers, showed that the reduction was well justified. Students at varsity and training college still continue to be major users of the cable car and queues at peak hours tend to indicate a necessity for some modernisation.
Students have in appeals round the university this year contributed to the Foundation for the Blind. South Africa student bursary fund and the Indian Famine Relief Fund to the extent of Just on £600. Very creditable was the £380 raised for the Famine appeal.
This was organised on a much larger scale this year, and the success of the additional activities was pleasing to those who spent so much time on detailed planning over many months.
Administrative problems plus the tendency for false information to be used caused the discontinuing of the photo ID cards. With the introduction of the addressograph library cards by the library, the association made representations to have this made a general ID card. This has occurred, and the one card plus the addition of a year sticker after 1966 will be valid for a student's full term at varsity.
Following a rather hesitant start, progress has been made in this field, and an increasing list of concessions to students is now available.
This safety valve of university life has contiuued to function effectively, and there are current moves afoot to provide a permanent constitutional basis.
Following irregularities in this year's presidential elections the executive set up an autonomous commission of inquiry, to report back on the result and to make suggestions for changes in election procedure. Considering the inadequacies of the constitution it is somewhat of a marvel that any executive has been elected in recent years.
Reorganisation of administration
Preliminary ground work has been carried out with a major overhaul of the financial side of the association, which though not yet complete has at least made some progress towards a more efficient administration of funds. Current proposals under consideration include a two-tiered association structure with the introduction of a student representative council, the main aim being to spread the work load of running the association and to provide an adequate training ground for future student leaders. Once the broad policy basis has been decided on, then the executive will be in a position to have the constitution redrafted. This is a very big project which has taken time to get moving, but if major plans ar to be considered it is only right that all possible aspects should have been considered and weighed as to their relevant merits within our own ways of life.
Old Members Association
Again, a major plan for the future which has gained favour within the executive and past members of the association. It is hoped that when future association structure is considered that this aspect can be incorporated to the overall benefit of students, past and present.
The national organisation has had a very busy year. However, at the moment under its first full-time president, programmes have had to be cut back due to the unfortunate financial position which eventuated during the past year. A great deal of time was spent by your executive in discussing some of the major changes which have eventuated. It is unfortunate that some of the results foreseen have arisen through lack of consultation, preparation and organisation.
As a result Victoria's contribution for the current year to national student organisations, will rise to over 6/- per head. This is not the place to discuss the why's and wherefores of NZUSA, but it is felt that unless some consolidation takes place soon, the national organisation is in danger of becoming more of a liability than an asset to students. All credit must go to Mr. Mountain, the new president, for his reconstruction to date. The damage done is not irreparable, but the severe loss in confidence will take some years of hard work and much revaluation to remove. Once again members of the association gave little encouragement and guidance to their executive on such matters, as was illustrated st the SGM last year when an opportunity was given for students to voice their views on the proposed full-time presidency. As students do vou really want an NZUSA? What do you want from NZUSA? If you want NZUSA how much are you prepared to pay for its services? Only when these Questions are answered will your executive really know what is needed and in what way long - term planning should be directed.
These were held at Victoria in August, 1965, and combined were the largest of Tournaments run to date in New Zealand. We owe a vote of thanks to the public for the fine way in which they responded to the requirement of close on 1000 billets. Without their help Tournament would have been impossible.
The many administrative problems associated with this function only emphasised the need, regrettable though it may be. for the separation into Arts and Sports Festivals. It was not an easy decision or one taken lightly, but the organisational burden for part-time administrators has become too great. It is certain that in the long run the division will be of great benefit, and that small tournaments more often will enable greater continuity in the administrative experience needed for these necessary functions.
Plans for the extension to the union building are now almost complete and work is scheduled to start in October this year. The present facilities are already showing signs of strain, and the extra space will be welcome.
The extra 10/- in this year's fee has gone towards extended hours of opening and maintenance. Students should make more use of the building in the weekend, as the facilities need to be used to warrant the extra expenditure. Increased use of the library has enabled the lunch bar to be opened on Saturdays and this is now meeting costs.
The opening last year of the Tennis Pavilion has added yet another part to the recreational facilities provided. It is hoped that its usefulness will be reflected in the clubs which will now be able to use it as a headquarters. The welfare staff has been extended and valuable services are provided in the medical, graduates placement, counselling, accommodation and physical education fields. The movement of Mr. Landreth to Dunedin ended a long and valued association with students and we extend a welcome to his successors. Mr. Laidler and Miss Riddell.
Mr. Boyd, and his new assistant Mrs. Scoones. as head of the welfare services, have been of assistance in many matters and their advice continues to be cordial and helpful on many occasions. Many past differences have been resolved, and some areas of activity clarified.
The executive would like to extend its thanks to the office staff for their patience and co-operation throughout the year which enabled so much of the association's business to proceed smoothly.
I would like to record my appreciation of the work of the executive throughout the year and especially to the vice-presidents. Miss Caugh-ley and Mr. Boldt, on whom fell much of the work during my absence overseas and illness.
Our thanks also to the university and the vice-chancellor for their advice and assistance on many occasions. Finally to all members of the association who have helped us in many ways through the past year, thanks, and best wishes to Mr. McGrath and his new executive for a successful year to come.