Is student behaviour getting worse?
In a nutshell, no. The behaviour is not getting worse. In fact, on the basis of a number of objective measures and the reports of the police, the behaviour is getting better. The numbers of students who were referred to the Proctor for disciplinary matters has actually declined. The number of students referred to the Provost by the Proctor has increased, reflecting the University’s tougher stance on breaches to the Code of Student Conduct. Does this mean that everything is okay? No. And the University, the City, the Students Association, and the Police continue to work together to improve the amenity of North Dunedin and the pastoral care of the students who live there. We also continue to fight for changes to laws and practices that will help us keep our students safe in this amazing community.
The vast majority of our students enjoy the freedom of being here at New Zealand's only truly residential University without causing law enforcement authorities or the city or the University any problems whatsoever. There are more than 20,000 young people living in this part of town. By and large, they respect themselves and those around them. The main behavioural problem we see among a small minority of students has been noise, and damage to property and glass debris on streets. The students involved in the worst events tend to be less interested in study. The University is working hard to identify these students early, helping them to make better decisions about their future.
Despite these positives, the University remains concerned about the harmful potential of fires at student flats and at the amount of broken glass left on streets around the University.
Several factors come into play here. It is important to keep in mind that there has been steady growth in the number of students coming to Otago over the past decade. The problems of a minority of our students have become more noticeable, because the absolute numbers of students (including both brilliant ones and trouble-makers) has increased. Because the University of Otago is such a sought-after place to study, we now have unprecedented numbers of young people living in the North End, and comprising the majority of the population immediately surrounding the campus. Another factor to bear in mind is that Orientation, the one week in the year when potentially harmful behaviour is most likely to occur brings in many students from out of town, from other universities in New Zealand, who come here especially to take part in the social activities and "party atmosphere" during Orientation Week in Dunedin. Added to this mix are local workers flatting in the University area, and other visitors from outlying suburbs within the city, as well as Otago Polytechnic students. The numbers of young people on the streets walking between parties and events in the North end at night is exceptionally high during this time. Otago's O-Week is a magnet for young adults - not just for our students.
The most important point here is that excessive, dangerous levels of drinking is a problem everywhere in New Zealand where you get large crowds of young people together in one place at one time, and cheap, easily-accessible alcohol. Unfortunately, price and access are two things that only the Government can control.
There seems to be a spate of measures being discussed to deal with a dangerous drinking culture - why now?
Increased measures to combat dangerous drinking have been happening since 2006. That year, Otago started a unique pastoral care service for students that is only available at this University. The 24-hour-a-day walkabouts by Campus Watch are a way to provide support to students who need to learn where to put out the rubbish and where their lectures are located as well as students who are lost or cannot get home. Campus Watch keeps an eye out for students who might be in a vulnerable state due to excessive drinking, and provide a safe ride home if necessary. Also, when dangerous activity by students and non-students is spotted, they liaise with Police and the Fire Service to discipline the perpetrators. The Code of Student Conduct and its associated preventative effects (students can be forced to leave the University and abandon their studies for serious offending) has also been in place for several years now. And this is having an effect; students think twice now before they ruin their educational investment! Our Student Health service is also second to none, and when they come to our attention, problem drinkers get the help they need to overcome harmful and addictive levels of drinking.
But this University still faces an uphill battle because our drinking laws in New Zealand are too lax. Let's remember, the enactment of these liberal laws more than a decade ago, has given rise to an exponential increase ain drinking problems that law enforcement authorities, and hospitals, health workers, and ambulance workers around New Zealand have had to grapple with everywhere- not just here! Otago has an internationally recognised research capability in public health including the effects of alcohol on the individual and society in general. This University has spear-headed, for the safety of all young people in this country, a campaign to advocate to restrict the number of off-licence venues, such as bottle shops and supermarkets, but so far, our campaigns have fallen on deaf ears. We continue to conduct research and advocate in this area because we are concerned for the health and welfare of our students, and also for all people in New Zealand.
Is the way the city is portrayed by the media fair/accurate?
Sometimes yes, but when it comes to University problems, we find some media are on the hunt for stories about bad student behaviour. Students will also play up to the cameras, behaving worse than they might otherwise, simply to get a rise out of a photographer. It is also important to remember that some of the mayhem is not caused by students, but by others. Rarely do journalists confirm that the perpetrators of particular events are actually students, and often they are not.
Lastly, is scarfie culture still alive and well?
Of course it is. But let me remind you what it means to be a scarfie. The media have misappropriated the term to mean something evil, messy, and disrespectful—the term is often used as synonym for binge drinking and antisocial behaviour. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The scarfies of today, like the ones who have attended this University for almost 150 years, are defined by a spirit of adventure. Scarfies are bright, articulate young people who have high ambitions for themselves and who are brave enough to leave the comforts of their home to establish a sense of independence and community here in Dunedin. Scarfies become doctors, dentists, lawyers, teachers, accountants, scientists, and opera singers. They become politicians and journalists. They write novels and symphonies. They make friends easily and are always up for a challenge. They sometimes question authority and in doing so, they contribute to important changes in the world around them. They are fun-loving people with a zest for life. So yes, scarfie culture is alive and well. This city and this country would be far less rich without it.
Chapter in Book - Research
Colombo, M., & Hayne, H. (2010). Episodic memory: Comparative and developmental issues. In M. S. Blumberg, J. H. Freeman & S. R. Robinson (Eds.), Oxford handbook of developmental behavioral neuroscience. (pp. 617-636). Oxford University Press.
Hayne, H. (2010). Learning and memory during infancy. In J. Low & P. Jose (Eds.), Lifespan development: New Zealand perspectives. (2nd ed.) (pp. 24-31). Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson.
Hayne, H., & Richmond, J. (2008). Memory. In M. M. Haith & J. B. Benson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of infant and early childhood development. (pp. 290-301). Amsterdam: Academic.
Hayne, H. (2007). Verbal recall of preverbal memories: Implications for the clinic and the courtroom. In M. Garry & H. Hayne (Eds.), Do justice and let the sky fall: Elizabeth F. Loftus and her contributions to science, law, and academic freedom. (pp. 79-103). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Hayne, H. (2007). Infant memory development: New questions, new answers. In L. M. Oakes & P. J. Bauer (Eds.), Short- and long-term memory in infancy and early childhood: Taking the first steps toward remembering. (pp. 209-239). Oxford University Press.
Hayne, H. (2006). Age-related changes in infant memory retrieval: Implications for knowledge acquisition. In Y. Munakata & M. H. Johnson (Eds.), Processes of change in brain and cognitive development: Attention and performance XXI. (pp. 209-231). Oxford University Press.
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Journal - Research Article
Scarf, D., Gross, J., Colombo, M., & Hayne, H. (2013). To have and to hold: Episodic memory in 3- and 4-year-old children. Developmental Psychobiology, 55(2), 125-132. doi: 10.1002/dev.21004
Jack, F., Simcock, G., & Hayne, H. (2012). Magic memories: Young children's verbal recall after a 6-year delay. Child Development, 83(1), 159-172. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01699.x
Morgan, K., & Hayne, H. (2011). Age-related changes in visual recognition memory during infancy and early childhood. Developmental Psychobiology, 53(2), 157-165. doi: 10.1002/dev.20503
Pharo, H., Gross, J., Richardson, R., & Hayne, H. (2011). Age-related changes in the effect of ostracism. Social Influence, 6(1), 22-38. doi: 10.1080/15534510.2010.525852
Willcock, E., Imuta, K., & Hayne, H. (2011). Children's human figure drawings do not measure intellectual ability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110(3), 444-452. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2011.04.013
Hayne, H., & Jack, F. (2011). Childhood amnesia. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 2(2), 136-145. doi: 10.1002/wcs.107
Patterson, T., & Hayne, H. (2011). Does drawing facilitate older children's reports of emotionally laden events? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25(1), 119-126. doi: 10.1002/acp.1650
Hayne, H., & Imuta, K. (2011). Episodic memory in 3- and 4-year-old children. Developmental Psychobiology, 53(3), 317-322. doi: 10.1002/dev.20527
Hayne, H., Gross, J., McNamee, S., Fitzgibbon, O., & Tustin, K. (2011). Episodic memory and episodic foresight in 3- and 5-year-old children. Cognitive Development, 26, 343-355. doi: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2011.09.006
Pharo, H., Sim, C., Graham, M., Gross, J., & Hayne, H. (2011). Risky business: Executive function, personality, and reckless behavior during adolescence and emerging adulthood. Behavioral Neuroscience, 125(6), 970-978. doi: 10.1037/a0025768
Scarf, D., Hayne, H., & Colombo, M. (2011). Pigeons on par with primates in numerical competence. Science, 334(6063), 1664. doi: 10.1126/science.1213357
Tustin, K., & Hayne, H. (2010). Defining the boundary: Age-related changes in childhood amnesia. Developmental Psychology, 46(5), 1049-1061. doi: 10.1037/a0020105
Jack, F., & Hayne, H. (2010). Childhood amnesia: Empirical evidence for a two-stage phenomenon. Memory, 18(8), 831-844. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2010.510476
Jack, F., MacDonald, S., Reese, E., & Hayne, H. (2009). Maternal reminiscing style during early childhood predicts the age of adolescents' earliest memories. Child Development, 80(2), 496-505. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01274.x
Candel, I., Hayne, H., Strange, D., & Prevoo, E. (2009). The effect of suggestion on children's recognition memory for seen and unseen details. Psychology, Crime & Law, 15(1), 29-39. doi: 10.1080/10683160802084850
Gross, J., Hayne, H., & Drury, T. (2009). Drawing facilitates children's reports of factual and narrative information: Implications for educational contexts. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23(7), 953-971. doi: 10.1002/acp.1518
Davis, N., Gross, J., & Hayne, H. (2008). Defining the boundary of childhood amnesia. Memory, 16(5), 465-474. doi: 10.1080/09658210802077082
Strange, D., Hayne, H., & Garry, M. (2008). A photo, a suggestion, a false memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 587-603. doi: 10.1002/acp.1390
Strange, D., Wade, K., & Hayne, H. (2008). Creating false memories for events that occurred before versus after the offset of childhood amnesia. Memory, 16(5), 475-484. doi: 10.1080/09658210802059049