Calls for University of Otago proctor Dave Scott to resign over confiscated bongs

Students are calling for Otago University proctor Dave Scott to resign after his alleged bong taking spree in Dunedin flats. 

At least three Dunedin flats have come forward alleging Dave Scott entered their homes without permission and confiscated bongs. 

Now students are signing an online petition demanding his resignation. 

"I just felt so strongly about this. It's got to stop. If anything is worth a petition it's this," Whakamana Cannabis Museum curator Abe Gray says.

The tertiary institution is standing by Mr Scott's actions saying Mr Scott thought the occupants would rather deal with him than the police.

It's not illegal to own a water pipe, also known as a bong, but it is illegal to smoke marijuana.

Tens of thousands of dollars has also been pledged to pay for private prosecution against the proctor.

Mr Gray says a private pledger known to him donated $25,000 to start legal action. 

"I expect other donations [from now on]. The money is there, we're just seeking advice on what the best legal course of action is. Whether we sue vice chancellor, the proctor or other legal action."

The proctor's actions over-stepped the mark, he says.

"[There's] a strong sense of injustice, the proctor essentially broke and entered, burgled the students in question."

He says previous proctors have taken the same form of justice. 

"They try to morally police behaviour on individual adults off campus and abuse their resources, it's the worse way to use those resources.

"This is the tip of the iceberg. This is just the beginning. This is going to be a story that keeps on giving," Mr Gray says. 

Protests are expected on the university campus on Friday. Mr Gray believes it could be the largest protest held on campus in a decade. 

The University of Otago has been approached for comment. 

In a statement provided to Newshub on Monday, a university spokesperson says much of the proctor's focus is on working informally with students to help them meet the university's behavioural expectations, and to help them avoid disciplinary processes or the attention of the criminal law. 

While visiting a flat recently to remind students about the risks associated with initiation ceremonies, he saw "in plain sight, through an open sliding door, a number of water bongs of the kind typically used for illegal drug use," the spokesperson says. 

"He judged that the occupants of the flat would rather deal with him informally over the matter than have the police search the flat so he decided to step through the door and uplift the items." 

The proctor often has to deal with difficult situations and tries to give careful thought to the interests of students involved, the spokesperson says.

"Neither he nor the university claim a right to search private premises and what was done here was unusual and unlikely to be repeated.  

"However, the proctor will always try to resolve matters with low-level intervention.  As he says: 'I am focused on helping students gain degrees and not criminal convictions.'"

Mr Scott previously hit media headlines when it was revealed he had ordered campus workers to remove hundreds of copies of a student magazine that depicted a woman menstruating on the cover.