'I never felt pressured' - Otago law camp attendee

Morning Talk 06/03/2018

A former law student who attended one of the controversial law camps has hit back at claims the camps were in any way inappropriate.

Otago University recently cancelled its annual law camp following complaints of past excessive drinking, nudity and jelly wrestling.

Bridget Morton, who is now a qualified lawyer, says females were not forced to strip when she attended in 2011.

“We did do a talent quest…in the year I went. There was one female that did take her clothes off. That was entirely her choice.”

She told Mark Sainsbury on RadioLIVE that she didn’t feel forced to drink.

As for feeling unsafe, I never felt unsafe.

“I really don’t see the problem,” Ms Morton said.

The student-organised camp which has been running for more than 10 years was due to run this weekend, but came under review because of complaints about events at past camps.

The university had two complaints laid from parents last year, as well as concerns that have been raised in the last two days.

Pro-Vice Chancellor Tony Ballantyne said that, "this afternoon we met with representatives from Society of Otago University Law Students (SOULS), and I chose to withdraw the University's support of this upcoming camp.

This comes after NZME reported a woman who attended the 2012 event said girls were picked and told to jelly wrestle, with some uncomfortable but obliging out of social pressure.

Mr Ballantyne said they "deeply appreciated the work SOULS has done to make this year's event as safe as possible in light of concerns that were raised last year".

"We understand how disappointing this might be for some students," he explained, "but due to the concerns raised in the last 48 hours, we believe that a rethink and redesign of the event is required.”

The university would not be commenting on individual staff members, and welcomed any further concerns people had.

Listen to the full interview with Bridget Morton above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.

Parts of this story were originally published on Newshub.co.nz.