Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 15. August 4, 1971
For those who didn't bother to attend Thursday's S.G.M. the Association fee that you will pay at the beginning of next year is now $24, What could one say of a motion that increases fees anyway? The bureaucrats of the Student's Association had their facts and figures which pointed to the absolute necessity for more finance and the dire consequences that would follow a failure to get it, Perhaps those who stayed away from the meeting were in fact indicating their apathetic acceptance of the inevitable.
Certainly the arguments advanced against increasing fees lacked plausibility. Several people tried to find fault in the projected building programme which includes extensions to the gymnasium and the building of an administration tower above the foyer of the Memorial theatre. As was quickly pointed out by Graeme Collins, these additions were barely the minimum necessary for a University that will sometime hold 10,000 students.
Two people came up to complain bitterly that they did not want to have anything whatever to do with the Student's Association and objected to paying $19 let alone $24. Possibly a fairly widely held sentiment, but at this meeting they gained no sympathy. Then there was the plight of the part-time student who was taking a course worth more than $30 tuition fees. Or why was there no leniency for those who had been at Victoria for more than five years? The unfortunate logic of a meeting called specifically to deal with a single motion is that any such complaints can be ruled out of order.
So what line can one take? One guy, apparently a product of the commerce faculty, got up to give his advice on how to keep costs down. Have each student responsible for keeping his Union building clean, he suggested. Organise 6,000 students into a roster system and thereby remove the need for Commercial cleaners. As was immediately interjected, how could such a scheme work, in dealing with a mass of students of whom only about 100 could even bring themselves to a meeting affecting their own pockets.
It wasn't much of a meeting. Such fee increase meetings can hardly hope to be. It is true that the assembled failthful had the privilege of an election campaign speech by Tim Groser on the abhorrent 'user pays' principle, and some entertained at the expense of those against a Students' Association at all.
Generally the spirit was one of resignation, mingled with support for the argument that if we pressure the government for money we should first be prepared to tax ourselves.
The final vote - 90 for and only 15 against.