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February 26, 2017 | by  | in Editorial |
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Editors’ Letter

Tēnā koutou tauira. Welcome to university, to Wellington, to Salient

We’re eighty years old now but still shuffling along the corridors of this place. Think of Salient as a friendly ghoul; though more accurately we’re Peeves, likely to piss you off but somewhat endearing.  

Don’t let the glamour fool you, Salient is the product of a handful of underpaid staff and a mass of invaluable yet unpaid volunteers. We’re all here to ensure that the pages arrive in your hands. Salient is also your magazine and if you want to contribute, get in touch.

University is a strange place and it takes a while to find your feet, but you will. And standing may bring an entirely new perspective; as Rory Lenihan-Ikin, your VUWSA President, says in his column, standing may mean walking away from this place. Your path is open and walk where you may.

But be clear that the position of the university is one of privilege; it exists due to the contributions of the people, be it your mother’s tax dollars or the work of the cleaners. Privilege comes as tertiary education is no longer accessible for all New Zealanders — high fees, location, and poverty are barriers to many.

While Salient has a unique platform it also has a responsibility. It was Paulo Freire who stated that “washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” He also stated that language is never neutral.

To express our solidarity with those affected by the cuts to the School of Languages and Cultures, this week’s cover includes four Os (it is O-Week) with diacritics for each language cut  — French, Italian, Spanish, German. The marks that distinguish them from English, the language of the administration, embody dissent.

This is our editorial position and you may disagree. Salient is open to constructive criticism and we have channels to include voices that challenge us as editors. Debate is healthy — email your polemics to editor@salient.org.nz.

To reiterate encouragement from our 1982 editor, don’t let the bastards get you down.

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