Otago students' toga parade turns into shambles
Wed, 25 Feb 2009 12:00a.m.
University of Otago students' annual toga parade dissolved into chaos last night, leaving the city with a big mess to be cleaned.
Dunedin's main street was left littered with eggs, rubbish and glass, car and shop windows were smashed and some participants were injured.
The Otago Daily Times reported three teenagers had been arrested on minor disorder charges.
Otago University Students Association president Edwin Darlow said a breakdown in communication was believed to have resulted in hundreds of first-year students assembling an hour earlier than the official 7.30pm start, which may have fuelled the trouble.
The parade of about 2000 left the Dental School, heading for the Octagon via George St, about 7:00pm. By that time, participants had been targeted by egg-throwing bystanders.
As the large mass of students moved into George St, hundreds of eggs, bottles, rubbish, and buckets full of vomit and faeces, were thrown from first-floor verandas and alleyways, as well as at shop frontages.
Car windows were smashed, rubbish bins were emptied on to the street, the shop window of Brent Weatherall Jewellers was cracked, shop signs were pulled down and glass littered the street.
Senior Sergeant Trevor Thomson, of Dunedin, said officers were prepared for the parade but were taken aback by the early arrival of "unorganised halls" at the starting point, the Dental School, in Great King St.
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27/02/2009 12:01:26 a.m.
If events like this didn't happen wouldn't students find other, less controlled ways of having this sort of fun. At least (as seen in this video)police were there and they did take action against atleat one person.
26/02/2009 11:23:49 p.m.
Wow, perhaps we should be greatful that hundreds of kilos of flour, or thousands of kilos of tomatoes, or that a herd of raging adrenaline tanked bulls were not running with the police and toga party.The young modern kiwi, away from home, at a student symposium. All this angst, bravado, and exhuberance seems to have been steadily rising over the years. Tanking up on substances like alcohol can lead your mind on this sort of journey if you let it. It's a make it up as you go along kinda thing, like those peculiar books kids like where we have decisions to consider: Turn to page 50 if you jump off the street light. Or page 99 if you do not.While it appears that no serious harm has been done, this behaviour is not likely to produce students across the board a broader acceptance by their community.The boy racers are another crowd under the spotlight recently. Mostly young and male. Some alleging significant events involving local police. But challenge some young people to a game of chicken, and I don't believe the results will ever be particularly favourable. Why don't the people concerned in this instance, perhaps those alleging mistreatment, be invited to talk to a group of senior police and outline their grievances. This may help police to look for creative rather than reactive responses. I think young people look at the behaviour of their elders and cannot believe how many in this group have ordered the lives around certain labels which give no true account of themselves. There is so much that is hidden or implied and simply left unsaid in modern labels used in mass communications of understandings and knowings. If alcohol is a drug, why cannot adults agree to call it a drug? Must we say, alcohol and drugs? Why not simply say drugs if we are talking about substances that affect our thoughts, moods, and potentially or behaviour? Youth can see the special pleading for so many things, especially the popular scapegoating exercise of a few within their number.
26/02/2009 10:06:07 p.m.
I hate to rain on your parade, but exactly what do you propose to replace this sort of event?I was apart of this years toga run, and I have to say that it wasn't brilliant respectful in regard to peoples property, but if you tell next years they can't do it what do you think will happen? You will end up with exact same situation without the OUSA, police or campus watch keeping an eye on everything and everyone involved. I understand that some of you want to have a moan over what happened, but I would love for someone to actually come up with a solution to the 'problem' that was presented.As almost every situation like this it's the minority that is the problem, and it's not the 1st year students that cause the issues. Was it us throwing vomit? Nope. Us throwing glass bottles? Nope. Eggs? Yeah, but a lot less then the people who stood up on the rooves.If you want to get a hold on the situation, do something about the people throw stuff at us, not the 1st year students who are trying to fit into the city. We weren't the issue, they were.
26/02/2009 12:39:55 p.m.
Connor, while I agree with you that alot of the student troubles in Otago are due to a small minority of idiots, to suggest that the damage caused by the toga parade was not THAT bad suggests that A. you don't originate from Dunedin and have no respect for the residence and B. that you have nothing to do with the cleanup.Good on you Charlotte.
26/02/2009 10:08:42 a.m.
First thing's first. The parade wasnt actually THAT bad. A couple of windows got broken and the streets were a bit messy. So what? No real harm was done. There were a select few who got too wrapped up in the event and did things that were stupid (i.e the idiots who threw the buckets filled with vomit and faeces) and, admittedly, it was a wee bit silly for OUSA to organise the event the night before rubbish collection (this opened up the door for people to throw bottles that were in the rubbish bags lining the streets)Throwing eggs and water bombs and paint is acceptable. Hell, it's part of the fun, and the tradition. But it was the dumb arses throwing bottles that are the reason that this made national news.Also, the girls who got interviewed on campbell live because their car window got broken weren't as innocent as the news story would have you believe. They were Yelling abuse out the window to the "freshers". What the hell do you expect to happen when you provoke a crowd largely consisting of intoxicated youths? You'd have to be an idiot.As for it being a "riot". That is absolute bollocks. The crowd followed the police escort the entire way to the octagon, and all the way back. Only one side of this story has been covered, and i'm not happy about it.Us students are not devil worshippers. For the most part, we are respectable, honest members of society. Unfortunately there are a tiny minority of dickheads that the media just love to get news stories from which give the rest of us a very negative steriotype.
25/02/2009 8:35:26 p.m.
Peter Robb wrote:
The reason it may have truned into a shambles was the egg throwing gaunlet style of parade it was to start with. UNder the ANZ Moray Place were a determined group of male youths [ 3] that had dozens of eggs and were throwing them at students. Females were squealing and runnifg for their lives. Males returned fire with whatever they had and held up cardboard sheilds and bodyboards.This gauntlet the first years have to run is causing the tone for the evening.I got some good pics too.Bring back the uni hall I say...
25/02/2009 6:39:48 p.m.
Wow.I'm an OUSA volunteer. I was at the 'parade' last night and let me tell you we went to hell and back. I also helped with the parade last year and let me tell you, last year was a walk in the park, thus year was a disaster, but no one group can be given all the blame.Also what I would like to make clear, as it was not even mentioned in the 3-news report tonight is that a group of us spent three and a half hours last nigh from 8:30 till midnight with brushes, brooms and buckets cleaning, and scrubbing the footpath and windows. What most people saw thismorning was NOTHING when compaired to what it was like after the 'parade' had finished.Yes it is shamefull and yes it is clear that changes have to be made, but all I ask is that people think of each side of the story before they rush to conclusions.
25/02/2009 5:48:09 p.m.
Duncan:I may be a student but it doesn't mean I have ever taken part in anything like this. Every year the students get worse and have no respect for the city or the people who actually live in it, its time something serious is done about this those businesses that were damaged are people's lively hoods and some are struggling enough now
25/02/2009 5:01:55 p.m.
Duncan:"this is not true" Great just make statements with not actually backing"the halls are alot more strict then living at home" Like what? The students are minded by RA's who largely care about behaviour within the hall they do not monitor student behaviour outside of the hall. "Istill do not see where you get the view of the halls mentality encouraging things being thrown at the students" - Each year the halls have their new conscripts engage in behaviour such as car running, post box smashing and drinkathons, not much of a stretch to think these people might decide to cause trouble at the toga party. "They hold the parade as a fun student community event where they can all get dressed up not to cause the trouble we have seen" -This event is not organised by the Halls but by OUSA.
25/02/2009 3:59:18 p.m.
"This is disgusting, every year this happens and it needs to be stopped. I am a student and a ratepayer and don't think that it very fair that we have to clean up after these louts"this toga party is an annual event.. if you had payed any attention it is not the 1st year student whom are participating in this event that are the problem here. if you take a crack at anyone you should be aiming at teh other people on the balcony's of appartments, as these are the main culprits. The parade is an event to get to know other students. And as you state you are a student yourself wouldnt you have taken part in this yourself some time ago?in response to Thomas "A large part of the problem seems to be the Hall mentalilty, where causing trouble is seen as a positive rather than what it is."this is not true the halls are alot more strict then living at home. Istill do not see where you get the view of the halls mentality encouraging things being thrown at the students. They hold the parade as a fun student community event where they can all get dressed up not to cause the trouble we have seen.
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