Harassment claim follows TV segment

Police are investigating after a Dunedin woman who featured on a television segment about student behaviour in the city complained about harassment stemming from the show.

View St resident Carol Devine told the Otago Daily Times she had been the subject of harassment and online attacks since TVNZ's Sunday programme last week.

''It is serious,'' she said.

''It's identity destruction. My business is affected. It's my name ... that has been corrupted.''

She had complained to police and the University of Otago about the behaviour.

A university spokesman said it was looking into the allegations.

''The University of Otago has warned that any students found to be harassing Dunedin residents in any way face penalties ranging up to exclusion from the university,'' he said.

''The Student Code of Conduct states that any form of verbal harassment will not be tolerated.

''A complaint alleging harassment has been made to the proctor and is currently being investigated.''

Police also confirmed they were looking into the matter.

''Police have received a complaint in regards to alleged harassment of the victim in View St on Sunday night and are continuing to look into the matter,'' a police spokesman said.

''Police are still investigating the matter and, to date, no charges or warnings have been made.''

Ms Devine said she had become the ''face of this campaign'' which appeared to be anti-student, but that could not be further from the truth.

''I'm not anti-student,'' she said.

''I'm not challenging the partying on campus.

''My beef is we are trying to get these pop-up parties [in areas outside the student quarter] addressed and better managed so they are safer for the students.

''I don't want to be the face of this - it's bloody desperation.''

Since the programme aired she had been approached by other Dunedin residents who were also concerned about the nature of student parties in residential areas.

People called out her name outside her house at all hours of the night and a (since-removed) Facebook page was set up mocking her.

''It [the harassment] was pretty bad through the first three nights,'' she said.

Despite that, she would not back down, Ms Devine said.

''I have everything to lose here and I'm fighting tooth and nail for it. All I want is a better Dunedin. All I want is a better class of student coming to this town and if they [troublemakers] are the minority they won't be missed - we don't want them.''

Otago University Students' Association president Paul Hunt said the association was opposed to any form of vigilantism.

''We certainly don't condone harassment or talking to Carol herself as a way of dealing with this. People should express their dissatisfaction with the Sunday segment by signing the petition,'' he said.

 

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