LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) believe that the behaviour demonstrated by some students in Dunedin on the night of the 25th August was completely unacceptable. The UCSA deeply regrets that a long-standing and well-run event like the Undie 500 has been tarnished by the actions of a group of deviants.
The UCSA and the University of Canterbury Engineering Society (ENSOC) are clear that the riots that took place on the Saturday night were not a part of the Undie 500 event, and that the criminal activities of a group of students were outside the control of the ENSOC organising committee. Comments made by groups such as the Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association (OPSA) regarding the organisation of the event itself are uninformed.
ENSOC Secretary Theo van de Wetering said of OPSA’s public statements, “It shows a complete lack of understanding of how we go about running the Undie. If they had actually asked us, we could have told them the number of hours that goes into talking to and working with the police and alcohol safety groups before holding this event. We are gutted that the actions of a few idiots have been labelled as part of the Undie.”
Both the UCSA and ENSOC have acknowledged, however, that the Undie 500 event did serve as a catalyst for the behaviour that occurred on the following Saturday night, and that a certain amount of responsibility for the actions of Canterbury students must rest at their feet. “As the actions of the rioters have reflected on all students here at the University of Canterbury, I apologise on their behalf to all those who suffered detriment as a result of the riots in Dunedin,” said UCSA President Belinda Bundy.
Whether the Undie 500 can be distanced from rioting behaviour in order to continue in the future is an issue that will need to be resolved by all relevant parties in the coming months. In the meantime, the UCSA and ENSOC are in full support of the ongoing actions of the Dunedin police in holding those who took part in the riots to account under the law.