Binge drinking, skinny-dipping, and dirty-dancing competitions with extra points for nudity have occurred at the University of Auckland's annual law camp, students claim.
The weekend-long camp on Motutapu Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, run by the Auckland University Law Students' Society (AULSS), has come under scrutiny after the University of Otago student law society scrapped its law camp following allegations of nudity and jelly wrestling.
University law schools are in the spotlight after weeks of public debate over the general culture of the legal profession in New Zealand, following allegations that male Russell McVeagh employees engaged in sexual acts with young female interns.
Now Auckland University law students have made similar claims to Otago students about their law camp, which is held every March.
Students say that daylight hours featured healthy team-building and bonding exercises and games including obstacle courses, raft building, and orienteering.
But the evenings were dedicated to raucous parties with drinking games, vomiting, sex and seedy skits.
No staff were present but the 200-odd students were overseen by sober student leaders.
One self-described conservative, teetotal student spoken to by the Herald was shocked by the antics.
"I'm not really used to that whole situation so I kind of just assumed that's what happens when you go to normal uni parties," said the student, who wished to remain anonymous.
She was unfazed by the rampant binge-drinking and sex, but when her group was asked to go skinny-dipping, and then perform "racy" dance shows, she became "super-uncomfortable".
"I wasn't drinking but before we did the skit thing, our leaders said, 'This whole thing would probably just be easier if you were drunk'," the law student said.
"The more dirty the skit, the more clothes you took off, the more points you would get, at least it seemed that way. It was uncomfortable because it encouraged you to strip or be vulgar and that's very not me.
"There was a skinny-dipping game where if you went completely in the nude then you got more points, but the entire team had to do it. That was where I felt kind of peer pressured by the sort of thinking that I have to do it because everyone else is doing it.
"It was very out of my comfort zone. But I am also the kind of person to be open to almost everything, so I was feeling really weird, I never do these kinds of things, ever. I was kind of in the head space thinking, 'Well, what everyone else does, then maybe I should do it too'."
She added: "I've always wanted to experience being drunk or doing something crazy. But I didn't expect it to be at law camp."
When they arrived on the island, condoms were handed out, the student said.
Throughout the weekend, she said, couples snuck off to have sex.
"There were lots of people puking, people stripping naked or taking off whatever and just dancing," she said.
Although it was "easier to get a Vodka Cruiser than a water", she said she felt no pressure to drink.
Another student posted on an online forum that they will pull out of this year's camp after hearing that it's "all about getting laid and drunk" and that it "should be renamed STI camp".
While the University of Auckland does not have a role in organising the law camp, law school staff review arrangements with the president and other AULSS officers to "ensure that they are aware of their health and safety and other responsibilities".
A university spokeswoman said the law school has not received any complaints about the camp.
However, she said added that the law school regularly reviews activities that students are involved in and there has been "discussion about the law camp at different times".
"Over time, the university has increased what is required of student societies organising activities," the spokeswoman said.
"This includes issues relating to the health and safety of students, such as preventing abuse of alcohol and how students are looked after if this happens."
The Society of Otago University Law Students (Souls Otago) yesterday cancelled its law camp scheduled to be run next weekend after criticism over its alcohol consumption and activities.
Souls Otago said 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," it said in a statement.
One former student claimed that Otago law school Dean Mark Henaghan was present when students stripped in a talent quest skit at the 2014 law camp.
She told the Herald that four girls removed clothing until they were only wearing their underwear with "stars over their nipples" at the 2014 camp.
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."
Last year, during an Otago University Road Show address in Auckland, Henaghan reportedly joked about a parent's complaint over law camp nudity.
"A student's mother calling him to complain about nudity at a school camp while he was present while checking on the students' welfare, (resulted) in his comment that it had taken him 1.5 hours to drive there, did she really think he would leave once the nudity began? It was, he said, a brief glimpse of partial nudity," LawFuel New Zealand reported.
University of Canterbury Student Association (CSA) president Josh Proctor, meanwhile, said his association has given guidance to UC's Law Society to help them run a "successful and inclusive" law camp this weekend.
Meanwhile a former University of Auckland law student has told the Herald that a staff member tried taking her to his seaside bach during a lunch break.
The ex-student, who has since completed her degree, says the "very uncomfortable" incident happened last July.
She never reported it at that time over fears it would affect her degree, and subsequently, her career prospects.
Now that she is working fulltime, and after having read the Russell McVeagh and University of Otago law faculty revelations, she wants to make a formal complaint about the law school staff member.
"I don't think it was sexual harassment, I prevented it from happening. But I think [the staff member] was acting inappropriately for sure, with an intent to do something," said the former student, aged in her mid-20s, who does not want to be named.
"Who knows what he was going to do at [the bach]. What kind of message would I have given if I had said I was happy to go to his bach. His bach means no one lives there, it was an empty home."
The University of Auckland said if they did receive a complaint, its "strong investigatory and disciplinary procedures would be applied appropriately", a spokeswoman said.
"These follow the principles of natural justice, which require that both the person making the allegation and the person against whom the allegations are made be treated fairly. We would not respond via the media."