OUSA pointed out a fuckton of problems with the proposed changes to the Code of Conduct in a 20-page submission to the University. The Uni is updating its Code of Conduct and received public submissions on the proposal until 7 May.
The very first thing that the Exec said in their submission was that they “oppose the University regulating students’ off-campus behaviours,” because it is an “extreme encroachment on the privacy and rights of students.”
While “OUSA recognises the intention of the University in mitigating risks to student wellbeing,” the Exec expressed concern that the University is going too far and acting as “judge, jury, and executioner”.
The Exec said that there is a “complete lack of clarity” of the Uni’s obligations to students. “This is especially ironic given the bold title on the second page of the Code of Conduct: “Your Responsibility, Our Responsibility.” Shots fired.
OUSA also suggested that the Uni be clearer when communicating with students about technical matters, and highlighted that many students don’t really know what a “provost” is anyway. They also suggested that rather than “him/her”, the Uni just uses “the student”, because gender neutral language is important and easier to read.
The rubbish issue was a major point of contention. The Uni wants to be able to fine students for litter on their property, even though that property is not in any way owned by the university. Not that having a shit flat is acceptable. OUSA reminded the Uni that there are tenancy laws very much already in place to hold tenants accountable for litter.
OUSA asks: what counts as rubbish, anyway? “Students have been known to keep non-aesthetically pleasing but functional furniture outside their homes.” Yes, they’re talking about you and your mouldy couch. OUSA also cleverly pointed out that “rubbish publically viewable” would include anything visible from the top of the Richardson, which is everywhere.
As far as sexual misconduct was concerned, OUSA said that the Uni was “taking on too much power and oversight into disciplinary and investigative roles than it could ever effectively operate.” They recommended that the Uni let other officials handle criminal matters, and that a Deputy Provost be appointed to assist with sexual misconduct cases.
OUSA said that they want to be careful about initiations, but that a focus on penalty would be less effective than educational programmes focussing on harm reduction. Giving the Uni the power to determine what counts as “harmful” and the ability to police private property would be a dangerous step.
Other points of contention were “a glaring lack of cultural competency laid out in the Discipline Statute,” recommending a free alcohol and drug counselling system, and incorporation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi from the outset of this policy.