VUW and VUWSA get heavy with Salient


Victoria University Chancellor Sir Neville Jordan expressed disgust with a recent satirical piece published in Salient.

In an outburst at a recent Victoria University Council meeting, Sir Neville said it was not made clear that the piece was a “spoof” and that it was “disgusting” and a “travesty”.

In response to Sir Neville’s public comments, and after consultation with , the editors sent a private apology letter to Sir Neville.

Sir Neville did not accept their initial apology. The editors were told that Sir Neville required the apology to be amended to specify that the editors “unreservedly” apologize.

Further, Sir Neville required that the amended apology letter be published in print and online. Sir Neville was non-negotiable on the apology letter being published in print.

It was not made clear what the consequences would be if these requirements were not met.

Sir Neville also required all online content of the article to be removed.

In response to Sir Neville’s complaints the editors published an apology in print, including the required phrase ‘unreservedly’. They deleted the article from the website but it remains online in a PDF version of the magazine.

The satire piece consisted of a series of questions and answers. Questions included ‘What’s the best part of your job?’, ‘What’s the worst part of your job?’ and ‘So what do you actually do?’, to which the responses were “shaking sweaty hands at graduation ceremonies”.

The final question asked for “any parting words of wisdom” and the response quoted a “favourite Kardashian/Jenner child” (Kylie): “stop sippin’ on that haterade” and “don’t listen to what people say because they don’t know the truth”.

VUWSA placed some pressure on the editors as this article went to print to not make this information public.

The Salient Charter, Clause 1, states: “The Editor(s) shall determine the form and content of Salient with complete freedom from political interference”.

Salient is funded by Victoria University of Wellington students through the student services levy, and was established as “an organ of student opinion” in 1938.

With respect the VC Chancellor is over-reacting to some pretty obvious satire. And sad to see VUWSA trying to pressure Salient to stay quiet. This is what happens when you sell your soul to the university in exchange for funding.

UPDATE: VUWSA have sent through a statement:

There is a clear distinction between the political arm of VUWSA, run by the Executive, and the operational arm headed by the General Manager.

The VUWSA General Manager, who is the manager of the Salient Editors, raised concerns with the editors regarding any potential legal risks to VUWSA (as the legal publisher of Salient) in publishing an article. At no time were the Salient Editors asked to show the content of the proposed article.

We respect Salient’s editorial independence as outlined in the VUWSA Constitution.

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