26 Feb 2009

Mass disorder prompts rethink by student body

11:19 am on 26 February 2009

The Otago University Students Association will review its handling of Tuesday night's Toga Parade, which dissolved into mass disorder on central Dunedin streets.

Police say the chaos began when more than 1,000 first-year students were pelted with eggs, flour bombs and rubbish by older students. Eight arrests were made.

The association organises the annual parade for first-year students, and its president Edwin Darlow says he was dismayed by Tuesday night's events.

Mr Darlow says nobody anticipated that people who were not involved in the event would turn up and disrupt the marchers.

Many retailers were forced to spend time scrubbing shop frontages. Mr Darlow says association members and volunteers also helped contractors clean up the streets overnight.

Meanwhile, Dunedin police say they are happy with student behaviour at the Captain Cook Tavern on Wednesday, where hundreds turned out in costume.

The annual all-day party at the tavern was cancelled this year because of concerns about drunken disorder at previous events.

But that did not deter a large number of high-spirited students, some of whom arrived as early as 8am.

University Vice Chancellor David Skegg says despite disgraceful behaviour from some students at the parade, there has been a remarkable improvement in student behaviour in the last two years, since the introduction of a code of conduct.