Tom Burnett –
It had to happen . . first the Russell McVeagh ‘sex scandal’ and now Auckland University Law Students’ camp following in the wake of publicity about Otago University’s law school’s rambunctious summer camp activities. And soon, no doubt, another law firm that will be drawn into the expanding legal profession #MeToo moment of sexual impropriety and worse.
The complaints over the Auckland Law Students Association camp involve more than the Kiwi-standard binge drinking to encompass, according to the NZ Herald report, ” skinny-dipping, and dirty-dancing competitions” (with extra points for nudity).
This follows heavy criticism of Otago Law School’s famed March camp, which reportedly involved many of the same general characteristics, but with the added feature of jelly wrestling.
“. . the evenings were dedicated to raucous parties with drinking games, vomiting, sex and seedy skits. No staff were present but the 200-odd students were overseen by sober student leaders,” the Herald said.
Both universities recently pulled sponsorship activity by Russell McVeagh, along with every other law school, as a mark of disapproval. Now, however, they have found themselves in the position of defending their own law school camps and the evident rowdy, raucous, sex- and alcohol-fueled evenings that they engendered.
The University of Auckland does not organise its camp directly, although staff review the arrangements. Otago Law School is organised by the Society of Otago University Law Students (Souls Otago) who have cancelled this year’s event. Their camps generally also feature the appearance, albeit for a limited time, of their Dean Professor Mark Henaghan, who has announced his retirement at the end of this year – and his move to Auckland Law School next year.
One former Otago student claimed that Professor Henaghan was present at the 2014 camp when students stripped in a ‘talent quest’ skit at the 2014 law camp where four girls stripped until they were in their underwear with “stars over their nipples”.
The university is reportedly investigating the incident, which was previously reported in LawFuel.
So far as the Auckland camp is concerned, one online forum saw an Auckland student say their camp was “all about getting laid and drunk” and that it “should be renamed STI camp”.