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Behaviour & Discipline

While it is hard to provide an environment that pleases every single Member of the College all the time, our aim is to do so. Our underlying values of courtesy, consideration for others and common sense (the three Cs) are usually sufficient to ensure a friendly, quiet, safe and respectful environment for everyone to thrive in. In this regard, the College expects Members to voluntarily respect College property, the rights of others and College norms, customs, expectations and rules.

On College premises, or while representing the College or on any trip or at any function organised by the College or Student Exec, or outside the College, Members are expected to conduct themselves in such a manner that:

  • is not detrimental to the reputation of the College;
  • does not endanger the safety of any person or any property;
  • does not interfere with any other person's rights or enjoyment of their property; and
  • is in keeping with the standards maintained at the College.

Harassment/Bullying/Discrimination/Anti-Social Behaviour

St Margaret's College aspires to be an inclusive community and we believe that all members of the community have the right to study and live in an environment that is free from any form of anti-social or malicious behaviour.

Bullying is any repeated unreasonable behaviour that is directed toward a person, or a group of people, that can lead to physical or psychological harm. This includes cyber bullying.

We do not tolerate any form of harassment, abuse (including via written or electronic media, physical, spoken or published), assault or anti-social behaviour. Examples of behaviour we deem to be anti-social includes but is not limited to: name calling; disruptive behaviour; abusive language or behaviour; any form of physical violence; unwanted physical contact; unwanted non-verbal contact; unwanted electronic messages; harmful digital communications; intentional or reckless intimate visual photos or recordings; stalking; sexual assault; sexual harassment, exclusion and/or derogatory comments and language. We will not accept any form of behaviour that harms, causes concern or violates a person’s dignity through: bullying; harassment; abuse; coercion; intimidation; assault; or behaviour that may be deemed to be anti-social or malicious in nature.

Any proven incident of harassment may result in the offending Member being excluded (termination of residency) from the College.

If you feel you have been subjected to any of the behaviour listed above, we recommend you take the following steps:

  • Make sure you are safe
  • Talk with a staff member to decide if you wish to make a complaint
  • Seek advice and get support from a staff member
  • You can check out the other support services available at the University of Otago at

Disciplinary Process

While the vast majority of Members never have to be spoken to about discipline matters, there are certain times when sanctions are required. Such sanctions may include (but are not limited to):

  • formal and informal warnings
  • requirements to undertake work and/or attend programmes or counselling
  • fines and reparation (including those made on groups of which the Member is part of in respect of damage the cause of which cannot be specifically attributed) and directions to make reparations to third parties
  • restrictions on activities, including alcohol bans and non-association or non-attendance requirements
  • suspension of the right of residence, or termination of the Member’s Accommodation Agreement neither of which shall affect a Member’s ongoing liability for fees.

The process to be followed in relation to any specific incident shall be appropriate to the nature of the allegation involved and the range of penalties under contemplation, provided that in any process the Member shall be entitled to be fairly informed of the matter of concern, and shall have the opportunity to provide a response or explanation before any penalty is imposed.

Where a Member faces an allegation that amounts to criminal behaviour, or where the circumstances otherwise make it inappropriate for the Member to remain in the College while the matter is considered, the Head of College may suspend the Member from the College until such time as it may be appropriate to return to the College. In certain instances, in the best interests of the College community and/or the Member/s concerned and irrespective of the nature of the suspended Member’s role in an incident, it may be inappropriate for the Member to return to the College in which case their Accommodation Agreement will be terminated.

Procedure For Concerns

If students at any time feel unjustly treated by any person, they should see the Head of College. If they would like someone to speak on their behalf or have a support person, they should contact their floor's College Leader.

If Members feel unjustly treated by the Head of College, they should write to the President of the College Council.

University Policies and Procedures

As a University of Otago student, you have agreed to abide by the University’s policies and procedures. Among key documents, there are three key documents for consideration while staying in the College:

Code of Conduct

The purpose of the Code of Student Conduct is to promote the University's academic aims and a sense of community through the cultivation of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding. To this end, the University expects that students will not engage in behaviours that endanger their own or others' safety and well-being. Students are expected to conform to the standards contained in this Code of Student Conduct off-campus as well as on-campus.

Ethical behaviour Policy

The purpose of this policy is to promote ethical interactions between members of the University community and to provide an environment of safety, respect and dignity so members can participate fully in all aspects of University life.

Student Charter

The University is committed to scholarship through excellence in teaching, research and service and to the provision of a stimulating campus environment for the development of lifelong learning skills. The purpose of the Charter is to advance those aims, to acknowledge the University's commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and to promote good relations between the staff and administration of the University and its undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

This policy sets out options for reporting sexual misconduct and the process for responding to reported incidents of sexual misconduct.

The University reserves the right to pursue through its disciplinary procedures matters that are also being, or may also be, addressed by the legal system or under any of the above-mentioned University policies.

Harmful Digital Communications

Under the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 it is illegal to make a visual recording, on any device, of another person without their knowledge or consent, where the recording shows them naked or partially naked or involved in any activity (e.g. showering or toileting) that involves dressing or undressing.

These are known as intimate visual recordings and are illegal even if they are not shown to other people or shared on social media.

Any allegation that a Member has made an intimate visual recording of another Member (or any other person) is likely to be treated as serious misconduct and if proven may result in termination of the Member’s contract with no offer being made to rehouse the Member in another College.