Students face expulsion over rogue Undie 500 disorder
Students belonging to the Otago Polytechnic Students' Association (OPSA) have been warned they face expulsion if they take part in illegal activities during an underground Undie 500 event planned for the weekend.
OPSA said today it would expel members guilty of violence and damage at the event, and has recommended students to simply stay away.
The annual Undie 500, in which students drive from Christchurch to Dunedin in vehicles costing less than $500, was cancelled this year after the event was marred by disorder in 2006 and again last year.
However, a rogue event has been talked about on social networking websites Facebook and Bebo and an email was circulated among Canterbury University students this week saying an Undie 500-style rally was planned for this weekend.
OPSA co-president Meegan Cloughey said even the official version of the event was poorly planned and inevitably led to carnage that reflected badly on the vast majority of students who were not involved.
"We are sick of the Dunedin community and students being seen to be part of this.
"These groups need to understand that drunken parties which predictably lead to street violence and property damage is not acceptable, it's just bloody stupid."
Co-president Ryan Ward said the race was no longer an event for entertainment value.
"It is purely poorly organised public disorder, and anyone guilty in such illegal activities should be punished to the full extent," he said.
Ms Cloughey feared the underground version of the event would be even more poorly organised than the disbanded official Undie 500.
She said she was disgusted at the plans organisers had for this weekend.
"How would Christchurch students feel if we went up to their city, burned cars, couches and caused violence on their city streets?
"We would rightly never be allowed back. Yet somehow they believe it's alright to do in Dunedin."
Meanwhile, police are calling in extra officers from Canterbury, Invercargill and rural parts of Otago this weekend in anticipation of the rogue event.
Clutha area police commander Inspector Dave Campbell said police would patrol highways from Christchurch to Dunedin.
Other measures would include checkpoints, hotel visits, policing liquor bans and having multiple officers on foot and in patrol cars in the North Dunedin area from 6pm Friday.