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Sustained University efforts lead to fewer student offences in 2018

Clocktower reflected in the Centre for Innovation

Monday 18 February 2019 12:23pm

The University has released the 2018 discipline statistics showing a significant and steady downward trend in student offences. For the first time in many years, no discipline cases were referred to the Vice-Chancellor by the Provost during 2018. There was also a 14.2 per cent drop in recorded incidents since the previous year.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne, last week welcomed the results during the University Council meeting, and said that it was testament to several University initiatives and also a shift in attitude from the students.

“Over a considerable period of time the University has undertaken a concerted and lengthy programme aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour within our student community. Initiatives such as the introduction of Campus Watch and the Code of Student Conduct, Closed Circuit Television camera implementation and extensive proactive campaigns by the Proctor and the Otago University Students Association (OUSA) to educate students have proven very effective in targeting issues such as fire-lighting, glass breaking and, latterly, flat initiations.

“In addition to prevention and education strategies, we have encouraged our students to participate in drug and/or alcohol counselling and restorative justice when appropriate, and to interact with the community in positive ways.

“I am very proud of the progress made to date and the downward trend in poor behaviour, however we cannot be complacent.” Professor Hayne added that University will continue to lead improvements in pastoral care while ensuring a fun and safe environment for all students.

Professor Hayne commended the efforts of University staff, particularly the Proctor, Provost, Campus Watch, the Heads of Residential Colleges and OUSA.

“All of these people have worked extremely hard in contributing to the significant improvement in student behaviour. I also thank our students and OUSA who can take substantial credit for the decreasing trend. The student community is often singled out and criticised for poor behaviour, and I think they deserve to be acknowledged for this significant turn-around.

“They are the valuable young citizens who are the heart and soul of our community. I have the privilege of getting to know many of them and to walk in their world. I can say with certitude that the vast majority of our students care about the community they live in and are considerate and caring of others. I hope that they are as proud of today’s results as I am,” said Professor Hayne.