The University of Otago student law society has cancelled the law camp run for second-year students following a series of allegations of nudity and jelly wrestling.

The camp has been highly scrutinised by former students for the levels of alcohol consumed and the activities run during the weekend.

The camp is organised by The Society of Otago University Law Students (Souls Otago), and has been running for at least the last 10 years.

The camp was scheduled to be run next weekend, with Souls Otago vowing to clamp down on drunkenness and ban "full nudity".


But today, Souls Otago put out a statement saying the pro-vice chancellor and the university were not prepared to support the camp at this time.

"Without this support, regrettably, Souls is unable to run the camp this year."

The group would contact students directly affected, it said.

The camp had been held for at least the last 10 years, with this year's event due to have taken place this weekend.

Souls Otago said that the comfort and safety of their students was highly regarded by the organisation.

"Souls encourages any student to speak up about their concerns with any event we run and should be assured the 2018 Executive will take any concerns very seriously.

"We understand that many students will be disappointed," they said.

Otago University said the camp had previously been sanctioned by the university and signed off at university proctor level.


University humanities pro-vice chancellor Prof Tony Ballantyne said it met with representatives from Souls this afternoon and chose to withdraw the university's support for the upcoming camp.

"As a result, Souls has decided to cancel this year's law camp.

"We fully support them in this decision.

"We deeply appreciate the work Souls has done to make this year's event as safe as possible in light of concerns that were raised last year, and we understand how disappointing this might be for some students.

"But due to the concerns raised in the last 48 hours, we believe that a rethink and redesign of the event is required.

"We have offered our support to Souls today in assisting with future events that will be collegial, respectful and enjoyable for participants," Ballantyne said.

When pressed on whether specific alleged incidents were being investigated, the university told the Herald today: "We are not commenting on individual staff members, as there is a due process to follow when examining concerns received this weekend. Please respect this."

However, the university confirmed it was examining three issues that had been raised.

"Two complaints from parents last year, and concerns have been raised in the last two days. These concerns are taken seriously, and will be promptly examined."

One third-year Otago law student, Rachel Stedman, defended the law faculty, saying she had only ever had positive experiences with staff.

"I'm disgusted to the point of being really angry. I never felt like I was anything except a valued law student. I was given so much support."

- Additional reporting Otago Daily Times