Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 13 June 18, 1968
Suburbia damned VUW
Suburbia damned VUW
"Victoria University has never been quite accepted as respectable by the citizens of Wellington", said Mr Conrad Bollinger in an address at the VUW Socialist Club meeting last Wednesday.
"Students are trained to pursue objective inquiries in their studies," said Mr Bollinger, "but incur unpopularity when they turn their searchlight on the society outside the University walls and expose the iniquitous sham and tomfoolery for what it is."
Those holding "deep-seated middle class prejudices" about the University "had their worst fears fulfilled in the first years of the University's existence.
"New Zealand's participation in the Boer War was termed a 'shameful blot on New Zealand's reputation' by the Debating Club at that time," said Mr Bollinger.
"The local press declared it was shocking enough that the issues were debated at all'." Something about . . . .it was compounding the felony to do so in public.
The tradition, said Mr Bollinger, had not yet been broken.
A former Minister of Education, Mr C. J. Parry had said the university was "riddled with undesirable influences" during the witch hunt against German immigrants in World War I.
"Massey, the peasant Prime Minister from Northern Ireland passed the Alien Enemies and Teachers' Act with a single purpose in mind−the removal of a German professor in English at VUW.
"University administrators denied the Professor was purveying literature likely to encourage subversion," Mr Bollinger said.
"The Council also said any student worth his salt reads banned literature.
"But," said Mr Bollinger, "it is doubtful whether the man was ever forgiven by an hysterical suburbia.
"A 'Hotbed of Subversion' was the headline Truth gave an article on VUW 40 years ago," he said.
"It gave in support of its claims the example of a man named Walter Nash adjudicating a debate on contraception.
"The Student, an independent student newspaper in 1933 was banned after only three issues because it encouraged students to refrain from "scabbing on seamen, joining the Special Police Force or the armed forces."
"The Council also banned Spike," Mr Bollinger [unclear: said] "after it published an article by a law student (now Deputy Vice Chancellor) criticising the method of teaching law in the University."
Mr Frank Corner, now Ambassador to United States of America wrote some interesting articles in his student days.
Mr Bollinger said he would like to confront Mr Corner with them now.
"Students in the 30's celebrated the arrival of a German Ambassador to New Zealand by hauling down a swastika and substituting a plain red flag.
'The local papers termed it 'a student stunt'."
A German Embassy official walked out of a barrage of questions at a meeting at the university accusing students of "insulting my Fatherland and Fuhrer."
"Nobody expects the present generation is going to do a whole lot better than those which preceeded it," said Mr Bollinger, "but there does seem to me to be a deeper committment to human values and a more salutary sceptism about ideologies in you lot that gives reason for hope."