Behave safely, students told

Police and the University of Otago are warning students not to ''overdo it'' this O-Week, with those who misbehave risking serious consequences - including exclusion from the university.

Otago University director of student services David Richardson said the university's message to students was to have fun, ''but don't overdo it''.

''Don't do anything that you will come to regret in the cold light of day and keep ever present in your mind that alcohol can lead to bad judgements,'' Mr Richardson said.

The ''minority'' of students who did take part in ''antisocial'' behaviour would likely end up in the office of the proctor, who had the power to issue fines of up to $500.

More serious cases were referred to the provost and could end with the vice-chancellor excluding a student from the university.

''Students need to be clear about the code of conduct, as the university takes very seriously any antisocial behaviours such as fire-lighting, bottle-throwing or coercive behaviours that encourage other people into risky situations,'' he said.

Dunedin-Clutha area commander Inspector Greg Sparrow said most students had ''a great time'' without crossing the line during Orientation Week.

''However, there will always be a small minority who spoil it for themselves and others,'' Insp Sparrow said. His message to students and non-students who did step out of line was that the police would always take ''some sort of enforcement action'' if they broke the law - which included making arrests.

Police had not encountered many problems as students trickled back to the city over the last few weeks, he said.

Mr Richardson said students concerned about their safety on campus or when walking home could call Campus Watch on 479-5000.

He was also keen to remind students to keep their flat's doors and windows secure and to report any suspicious behaviour in the student area.

Otago University Students' Association president Francisco Hernandez' message to students was to think things through and ''don't be a dick''.

''If it sounds like a bad idea in your head, don't do it. Listen to that inner voice,'' Mr Hernandez said.

Students could also make use of the support the OUSA offered at events - which included ''red frog'' tents where free food and water was on offer.

''We have got plenty of support for people, because we want to make these events as safe as possible.''

Tips for a good time
• Drink slowly, be in touch with how you are feeling.
• Eat a good meal before drinking alcohol.
• Drink water, before, during, and after drinking alcohol.
• Stay with friends at all times.
• Leave eftpos card at home. Take cash only to get a taxi home.
• Understand why you think you might drink too much and get support to enable you to drink and have fun, not to drink so much that you don't remember the night.

SOURCE: University of Otago director of student services David Richardson


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