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On Tuesday, February 23, first-year students at Weir House found themselves on the receiving end of a strongly worded email from the university Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford.
The email addressed a series of complaints from neighbours regarding behaviour at Kelburn park on the previous Sunday and Monday.
The listed offences ranged from drinking and littering, right through to noise and “associated behaviour.”
Guilford wrote that “allegations received by the university about behaviour over the last couple of nights appear to breach that Statute [Victoria University’s Student Conduct Statute].”
Under the Statute, misconduct is defined as “behaviour that is otherwise detrimental to the safety of staff and students of the university, the effective functioning of the university or to the reputation of the university.”
This hardline approach has raised concern among some students and staff, including VUWSA president Jonathan Gee.
Gee told Salient, “in everything else the university does students are treated like adults.”
“Suggesting a maximum penalty of exclusion is a disproportionate threat to students who have only just started uni. Students aren’t being treated like adults.”
In a statement on March 3rd, Guilford said that the university has a student code of conduct and “reminding students about their responsibilities to themselves, the university, and the community is entirely appropriate.”
Guilford is concerned that the behaviour of a small number of students over the last few year “has begun to seriously undermine the reputation of Victoria students, the vast majority of whom contribute very positively to Wellington.”
Neighbours of Victoria have become increasingly upset, Guilford said, by “intoxicated students keeping them awake at night and damaging their properties and the neighbourhood” and that it was too much to ask for them to be “cleaning up after drunk students and repairing fences and gardens.”