Acting Proctor unwilling to act on harassment claims

Acting Proctor Andrew Ferguson will not act on the accusations of harassment made by social work student Chris Boyd, saying Mr Boyd was offered the opportunity to meet with the then-Proctor Dave Miller which he refused.

Last week fourth year social work student Chris Boyd contacted Critic with accusations of harassment from Campus Watch officers on two separate occasions. According to Mr Boyd a Campus Watch officer named Lynn approached him outside the OUSA Recreation centre on Albany Street two weeks ago and proceeded to question whether he was a student or a “gang member” due to his appearance. Following a complaint, Mr Boyd was apparently contacted by a Campus Watch officer named Steve who continued to imply the Otago student’s appearance warranted enquiry.

Acting Proctor Andrew Ferguson has refused to comment on whether it is inappropriate for Campus Watch to question students based on their appearance, saying he was not responsible for any decisions made by recently retired Proctor Dave Miller. 

Mr Ferguson did acknowledge the incident took place and was subsequently reported, however the acting Proctor said Mr Boyd was offered an opportunity to meet with the then-Proctor Dave Miller which he refused. Mr Boyd refuted that the offer was extended to him, saying he was contacted by an officer named Steve instead. Mr Boyd understood that the officer known as Steve had been instructed by the Proctor to speak of his behalf.

Mr Ferguson has said he is still willing to address the incident further, however this was reliant on Mr Boyd electing to meet with him. 

“I will not take any further action unless [Mr Boyd] wishes to follow up the complaint with me”, said the acting Proctor.

However, the disgruntled student says he does not see any value in the meeting given his recent interactions with the University organisation.

“I think I would be wasting my time if [the Proctor] is not willing to address the discrimination that was directed towards me,” says Mr Boyd.

Andrew Ferguson is the acting Proctor following the departure of the short-lived appointment of Dave Miller who left the job after four months. Senior Police Sergeant Dave Scott has been appointed as the new Proctor. Senior Sergeant Scott will begin his tenure at the end of May.

This article first appeared in Issue 10, 2016.
Posted 10:38am Sunday 8th May 2016 by Henry Napier.