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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 10. 1966.

Campus protest

Campus protest

The Growth Of Student Protest on this campus may be merely a passing phenomenon, it may be an echo of present world events, or it may be a significant change in student attitudes.

In recent weeks there have been, apart from the more common political protests, two specifically student demonstrations carried out on university property.

The first, against the granting of Mr. Holyoake's honorary degree, proved to be a little misdirected. As some of the protesters afterwards admitted, it could perhaps have been better directed at the university administration which first placed Mr. Holyoake in the position to accept the degree.

The show of hostility which it earned from the local press is not symptomatic of very much. Some of the more hostile letters may have provided some light entertainment for this university's psychology staff, but at the public level nothing significant emerged.

The second protest occurred when students, understandably fed up with the pedestrian crossing situation, took the law into their hands and marched.

There's never been a demonstration quite as spontaneous as this one in recent memory— and somehow that sincerity got across to the public. The tetchy editorial writers on the local papers must have been dismayed to find that their disapproving editorials drew a flood of letters from the public which supported students.

But the most important aspect of these demonstrations is also the least obvious. Demonstrations have taken place, so far with impunity, on the university grounds.

It is relevant to recall a demonstration in Auckland, where students who were protesting (however inappropriately) the presence of a security agent in a class, were manhandled off university property by the police.

Is the university here prepared to tolerate orderly student protest on its property? There are some signs that it is not.

If Mr. Ashenden's allegations that Forum has its enemies in the administration are correct, then student protest on campus can expect to meet with even less favour. And while we have no doubt that Forum has staunch supporters on the university staff—men and women who would fight as far and as hard as students would for freedom of speech on campus— student protest is another matter again.

Students who protest on campus should do so With care and consideration. For they have a special duty to their fellow-students to see that both administration and students respect each other's rights—a respect quickly shattered at Auckland in a way which must not happen here.—H.B.R.