Friday, 28 May 2010

The Students Are Revolting!

This was the scene recently at Otago University, as warriors clad in cardboard and rolled up newspapers battled rival soldiers along the Leith River and on the Union Lawn...

You could forgive Otago University students for wanting to stage a revolt, but this is actually the annual Selwyn College Capping Battle, traditionally fought between the hall's male students and members of the local 'Lindskii regiment' (now supplemented by former Selwyn residents, or 'Exies').

The female students also have a vital role to play in the battle. The girls take on the role of Nurses, "reviving" fallen warriors on the battlefield with a nip of red wine (or whatever red liquid they decide to fill their bottles with that day).
The battle's been part of Capping Week celebrations since the early 80s, with the more committed amongst the students spending many hours constructing the cardboard and paper armour and weapons.

For now, it's all fun. But don't be surprised to see a similar uprising from the wider student body in a few years time, if the crazy old cats running Otago University continue down their current crusade of self destruction.

Varsity bigwigs recently unveiled a grand 25-year 'Master Plan' for the University of Otago Campus. Planners are expecting an extra 7,000 students by the end of that period, along with 500 more staff, and the need for an additional 100,000sqm in floor space.
Unfortunately, that healthy increase in Otago's campus population may never happen if the University's incessant campaign to kill off the traditional 'Scarfie lifestyle' continues unchecked.

The 'powers that be' seem to have convinced themselves that students from all over the country choose Otago purely on academic grounds, with no consideration for the unique 'Studentville' atmosphere which has attracted young people to the chilly south for decades.

The Otago University Council recently voted to close down the Design Studies department for apparent financial reasons.

Yet somehow it managed to find the spare funds to buy local drinking landmark 'The Gardies', paying around half a million dollars over the market value for the pub to ensure it stayed out of the hands of anyone else.

The University still hasn't decided what to do with the building, although it has made it clear it doesn't have any plans to get into the pub business.
The University's haste in making a over-market offer had more to do with concerns that another hospitality industry entrepreneur could enter the frame, than any of its claims of "space requirements".

The Gardens Tavern, at the end of Castle Street, was partly squeezed out by restrictive opening hours (which the University and Police campaigned heavily in favour of). The University has already taken over the former premises of The Bowler, and is trying hard to trip up The Cook.

Otago University is now looking to put another nail into Castle Street, by leasing 14 flats from a tenancy agency (plus 6 in Cumberland St), which it will sub-let only to International Students.

The University obviously believes these students will not indulge in evil activities like drinking games or couch fires, and the new-approved residents will all be in bed by 10pm.
(Except for weekends, when Castle Street can probably look forward to non-stop Karaoke sessions, including painful renditions of the Bob Dylan classic 'Ray Rady Ray').

OUSA magazine Critic rightly described the move as another step in the University's "ongoing war against the `Scarfie' drinking culture". Local rag the ODT however bought the line of University officials, who not surprisingly denied the plan was "designed to counter the excesses of student culture".

Could this be the caption in 25 years time?... R.I.P. Otago University?

[ Right now I'm listening to: ^ Eminem - Not Afraid
^ La Roux - Bulletproof

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted in Labels: , , |