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Clocktower.Tuesday 13 February 2018 9:10am

Dave Scott image
University of Otago proctor Dave Scott encourages students to have fun but look after themselves during the lead up to the 2018 academic year.

The University of Otago is preparing to welcome students for the 2018 academic year. To ensure they all have the best experience possible, Proctor Dave Scott has some advice.

He encourages students to be considerate of others, respect the wider community, and look out for each other, highlighting the common-sense rules in the Code of Student Conduct, and and two great OUSA-led initiatives aimed at keeping students safe.

Download the Code of Student Conduct (PDF format, 188KB)

"We share North Dunedin with other residents, businesses, schools and early childhood facilities – think about them before you smash glass or have a rowdy party, and don't be afraid to speak up, or intervene, if your friend is about to do something stupid – be a good friend, do the right thing and take care of them,'' he says.

The University has a responsibility to keep all students safe, both in and out of the classroom.

“We're not the fun police, but we are entrusted with young people from around the country and around the world, to not only give them a world class education, but to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable student experience.''

He also has a message for non-students visiting the North Dunedin campus area, as, in previous years, high school pupils have been known to turn up to student parties and events.

“Think carefully of the consequences of your actions. University students are not your peers and it is ill-advised to pretend they are.''

Key safety messages:

Code of Student Conduct

As part of its responsibility to keep all members of the University community safe, the University has a Code of Student Conduct.

These common-sense rules are distributed to every incoming student, and are available for review on the University's website. Breaching these rules may result in consequences including fines or community work, right up to exclusion from the University.

“We want people to have a great experience, but we also want it to be safe and not adversely affect other people. We expect all students to be considerate of others in regards to noise, rubbish, glass, any form of harassment, or unsafe and illegal activity in general,'' Mr Scott says.

Flat security

“Don't make yourself an easy target – lock your doors.''

North Dunedin is often targeted by thieves looking for flats with relaxed security. Deterring them can be as simple as making sure the last person to leave the house, locks the door.

Campus Watch has free UV pens available to mark valuables if required.

Personal safety

“Have a wing-man or wing-woman and look after your mates.''

Make sure you always have a plan to get home, watch what and how much you drink, and don't forget about Campus Watch – the team can walk you home if you don't feel safe, and are your "phone a friend'' in any situation so put their number in your mobile (0800 479 5000).

Mr Scott also advised against drinking on the roofs of flats.

“Roofs are not for partying. Climbing onto roofs is a huge safety risk – alcohol and heights do not mix.

Glass ban initiative

The Proctor also supports the OUSA's voluntary glass ban initiative.

The push to ban the bottle will start this week to capture students arriving ahead of Orientation Week and involves off-licenced premises in North Dunedin promoting canned or plastic products over glass, and the increased availability of recycling bins.

“Our intention is to reduce the issue of broken glass in North Dunedin. We know students are going to drink alcohol, so hopefully this will encourage them to choose a non-glass version, and in doing so reduce glass issues,'' he says.

OUSA President Caitlin Barlow-Groome says the association aims to keep students safe.

"This initiative is not only going to benefit students, but the wider community. It aims to reduce broken glass by encouraging people to purchase cans or plastics.''

The glass ban was trialed last year during Re-Orientation and after positive feedback, OUSA decided to roll it out in a larger capacity.

"It is awesome to have the Proctor and the licensed premises on board of such an important campaign,'' she says.

Good One campaign

OUSA's Good One volunteer party register adds another level of support to what the Proctor's Office already provides in party planning assistance.

“This is another proactive initiative set up by students, for students, to keep everyone safe,'' Mr Scott says.

Ms Barlow-Groome says the register aims to assist with host responsibility to ensure everyone is “having a good one''.

“Anyone can register their party through the website. Details of their party are logged with local police who can offer advice to ensure they're prepared, or help out if things get hairy,” she says.

The website also provides tips, tricks and advice which those throwing the party may not have considered, to try and mitigate any unexpected hassles.

“Unfortunately, things can sometimes go wrong, and when they do it is good to be prepared and to have the support of the local community services such as police, fire or health services.

“In most instances, the police will simply give the party host a call to ensure they're all sorted and offer some advice to ensure a safe event.”

Community stakeholders involved include the Proctor's Office, local police, Red Frogs and the Southern District Health Board.

Visit the Good One Campaign website

For more information, please contact:

Ellie Rowley
Communications Advisor
Tel: +64 3 479 8200

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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