Proctor sees more students

Dave Miller.
Dave Miller.
More misbehaving students found themselves in hot water with the University of Otago proctor last year than any other year since the code of conduct came into force in 2007.

The university's annual disciplinary reports showed the proctor dealt with 576 offenders last year, up from 482 the previous year.

The 567 offences in 2007 were the next highest figure.

However, proctor Dave Miller said students' attitudes towards unacceptable behaviour were moving in the right direction and pointed to the fire-lighting incidents which had been steadily dropping since they peaked around 250 in 2011 and 2012, to 128 last year.

"Last year, we noticed an increasing trend in students not tolerating unacceptable behaviour in their community.

"Many were increasingly vigilant and drew attention to poor behaviour.

"We view this as a positive trend as we work with the student community towards improving the safety and enjoyment for everyone in North Dunedin,'' he said in a statement provided with the figures.

There was "more to be achieved'', but the message seemed to be "getting through that the university has no tolerance of fire-lighting and bottle-throwing'', he said.

The number of students involved in serious enough incidents to be referred to the provost dropped from 27 in 2014 to 22 last year.

The number of students in the most serious category, who are referred to vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne, increased from nine to 12 and six of them were expelled for a semester.

Among those expelled were a student who stole a couch with a group of students and then set it on fire and another who broke a flat window, injuring three of its occupants.

Another student, who assaulted a member of Campus Watch and a police officer, voluntarily withdrew from university for a semester.

In the reports, Mr Miller said students arriving in Dunedin earlier than usual was in part to blame for a busy start to the year, in terms of disorder.

"With many of these students taking up residence in Castle and Hyde Sts, coupled with the run of fine weather, a large number of gatherings caused considerable work for Campus Watch, with a corresponding larger number of students referred to the proctor/deputy proctor.''

However, later in the year the flowof university and Otago Polytechnic students to the proctor's office "settled down'' to beingmore on a par with 2014.

The number of students fined last year increased to 177 from 130 the year before, but the total value of those fines dropped from $23,587 to $21,380.

The case against a 23-year-old woman who stole nearly 100 exam papers from the university's Clocktower building in November remained open while the issue was dealt with by the courts, at the time the report by provost Ken Hodge was written.

Her semester 2 grades were being withheld and her 2016 enrolment for this year was considered "provisional'' until the provost hearing process was completed.



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