Obscene voting topics exposed at Otago college

Morning Talk 11/07/2018
Photo credit: Selwyn College.

Second-year students at an Otago college would secretly vote and award first-year girls with obscene accolades, such as best breasts and best lips for giving oral sex, it has been revealed.

Monica Nelson, a former student at Dunedin’s Selwyn College, was awarded the “Best Rack” prize in 2014 and has now described it as sexist and bullying.

She told University of Otago student magazine Critic that at the time, she didn't think much of the award. However, she now feels unsettled that students were objectifying and labelling other first-year students based on appearances.

"The second-years know that the practice is discriminatory, so they use code words for our labels," Ms Nelson explained to Critic.

"You get stood up, and potentially shamed, in front of your entire hall and you don't even know why."

Speaking to RadioLIVE’s Mark Sainsbury, Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) president Caitlin Barlow-Groome says it’s just speculation.

“Honestly, we haven’t heard anything at OUSA. We encourage students that if they have heard of things to come talk to us and we’ll work with the university to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“We definitely don’t encourage bullying and harassment in our residential colleges," Ms Barlow-Groome told RadioLIVE.

Critic has identified the tradition as happening every year since at least 2012, and say it was a part of the Selwyn College Students' Association AGM.

Both Selwyn College and Otago University were contacted for comment by RadioLIVE.

Listen to the full interview with Caitlin Barlow-Groome above.

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