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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, September, 1922

To the Editor

To the Editor.


A perusal of the notes from Otago which are published above will explain the collapse of any confidence in the Victoria University College Graduates' Association that any past student of V.U.C . resident in Otago may ever have possessed. It may, indeed, he doubted whether the Graduates' Association has ever inspired confidence in any one. Its handling of the Victoria College War Memorial Appeal was timid. Its suggestion for the building of a residential college shows no promise of developing beyond the suggestion. In the prosecution of a constructive policy the Association has lamentably failed. It might, in fact, have been foreseen rom the beginning that an Association from which two-thirds of the men and women who have studied at Victoria College are permanently excluded is likely to prove an indifferent guardian of broad College interests. It is even to be feared that it is likely to guard more jealously the privileges of graduates than those wider and more fundamental rights which affect all students and all universities. The blame for failure does not fall on the office-bearers of the Graduates' Association: it falls on the narrow franchise on which such

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V.U D. Graduates, 1922

V.U D. Graduates, 1922

Photo by Zak Studios

page 17

bodies are based, and the consequent narrowness of aim inherent in their very nature. A like failure marks every other Graduates' Association in New Zealand. The limit of their achievement has been the development of social functions purely local in character.

No one blames the V.U.C. Graduates' Association for its attitude towards the Association of Past Students of V.U.C. Resident in Otago; from its own point of view that attitude is probably correct. Nor must we grieve too deeply over the Executive's hopelessly unbusiness like method of dealing with correspondence. This is due, not to ignorance of business methods on the part of its members, but to an entire absence of any enthusiasm for the aims of the Graduates' Association, a like warmness easily understood when their uninspiring nature is considered.

The time has come for the formation of an association which shall include not only graduates, but all students who have ever attended lectures at Victoria University College. The first work of such a body should he to draw up a roll of past students grouped according to year of entry, on which basis an association may ultimately he organised wielding an influence comparable with that wielded by the associations of alumni of the great universities of the United States. Its principal function would he to keep its members informed of the progress of Victoria College, the growth of its numbers, its buildings, its equipment, and its endowment, the policy of the Council, and the needs and achievements of its various faculties.

It is obvious that such an association can have its headquarters only in "Wellington, and that its success will depend on the vigour of its Wellington executive. But its aim is a high one, and it is believed that men and women will come forward who will carry it through. Among the non-graduates who form a large majority of the past students of Victoria College there are many of our best and ablest, and it is hoped that they will play a prominent part in the proposed corporation. It is greatly to be hoped that bodies similar to that already formed in Otago will he formed in other parts of New Zealand. But a condition essential to success is the formation of a strong central executive in Wellington.

The suggestions contained in this letter would never have been definitely formulated had it not been for the contagious enthusiasm of Miss Edith Davies, with whom they have been discussed on many occasions during the last two years.

I am, etc.,

H. D. Skinner