Monday 24 September 2018

Police academy

Otago's University Proctor has some odd ideas about what a Proctor's allowed to do. 
A Leith Street flat says University Proctor Dave Scott trespassed and stole their property when he entered their house while they were out and took several bongs/water pipes.

About three weeks ago, the proctor was visiting flats on Castle Street and Leith Street North to deliver letters about initiations. The entire flat was away, apart from one person who was asleep upstairs. The flatmates said the proctor let himself in through the unlocked back door, where he found several water pipes sitting out on a table and took them.

Because they weren’t home, the flatmates didn’t know what had happened to the pipes and assumed they had been robbed. They estimated the pipes were worth $400.

“We thought someone had stolen them, but then we thought that if anyone had done it around Castle/Leith someone would recognise our pipes as they are well known,” one flatmate said.

The proctor returned the next day, and told them that he had gone into their flat and confiscated the pipes. According to the flatmates, he told them that as long as they cleaned up the flat, he would let them off with a warning and wouldn’t take it to the police.

...The Proctor is not a police officer and does not have the ability to get search warrants to enter homes, nor does the Code of Conduct give the proctor the ability to enter private homes without permission.
When I was at Canterbury, the University Proctor was an academic. I'm not sure who is Proctor there now, but Prof of Laws Ursula Cheer is the one I mainly remember. [See substantial update below]

Otago chose a different way of picking a proctor. Their magazine reported as follows, in the appointments section:
Mr Dave Scott as Proctor. He was previously the Dunedin Area Response Manager with Dunedin Police, and Southern Police District Centre Co-ordinator. He took up his role in May.
Somebody ex-Police, I'd have thought, should have known you can't walk into somebody's house without permission and steal a bong - although it isn't hard to imagine cops thinking it's ok to do that rather than charging somebody with marijuana possession and that they would be being lenient in doing so.

I'm not sure why a University would appoint a police manager as Proctor. The Proctor's job does have some policing aspects to it - investigating breaches of discipline. If you caught a student plagiarizing or cheating in an exam, the case could ultimately wind up in front of the Proctor. Having a Laws academic in that role made a lot of sense. They'd know the rules and procedures, and would know academic practice and context.

Otago is a strange place.

UPDATE: The Proctor at Otago is nothing like the Proctor at Canterbury. I had wrongly assumed that the University Proctor in both places handled the same role. At Canterbury, the Proctor checks against discipline breaches, including academic conduct violations. At Otago, the Proctor seems to be the name they give for the head of security. It makes perfect sense to hire somebody with a policing background for that kind of a role where it wouldn't have for one with responsibilities over student academic conduct. Thanks to @Jacky_Braid for the tip that the Proctor role there might be different than the one at Canterbury.

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