An Dunedin flat is mourning the loss of their “iconic” bongs after the University Proctor reportedly waltzed onto the property uninvited and took them.
According to University of Otago student magazine Critic, Proctor Dave Scott was visiting flats to deliver letters about initiations when he let himself in through the unlocked back door and spotted several water pipes on the table. At the time only one flatmate was home but was asleep upstairs, so the students thought they had been robbed. “We thought someone had stolen them, but then we thought that if anyone had done it around Castle/Leith someone would recognise our pipes as they are well known,” one flatmate said.
They estimate the pipes were worth $400 all up. The proctor returned the next day and told the group he had confiscated the paraphernalia, but wouldn’t go to police if they cleaned up the flat.
The flatmates said they “tidied up hoping to get them back but have accepted now we won’t be having them returned”. It has since been confirmed that the bongs were destroyed, and the group was left with a warning.
According to university spokeswoman, Scott “comfortable with the action taken”, because the pipes were used to smoke cannabis and were left out in the open. It is not illegal to own a water pipe in New Zealand, but it is illegal to use them to smoke cannabis.
Abe Gray, cannabis activist and owner of Whakamana Cannabis Museum, told Critic he would urge the flatmates to report the pipes stolen to the police as Scott had no right to remove them. “The police don’t really charge people for drug paraphernalia now; it’s more the breaking and entering. I can see why they would be reluctant, but I would advise them to make an official complaint.”
“[The Proctor] is not legally empowered to make those judgements; he’s not a vigilante.”
A second flat has now also accused Scott of entering when no one was home, picking up rubbish and taking two bongs worth over $300. They were also given a warning.
Critic is now reporting that this behaviour might not be the “unusual and unlikely to be repeated” occurrence a University statement has claimed it was. A student who wished to remain anonymous told the magazine that in 2016 Scott let himself into their flat and confiscated bongs and grinders.
“He said he smelt weed from the street, which was why he came in. He was dropping off pamphlets on initiations. He scolded us for five minutes, then took all the paraphernalia. He said it was our warning, and off he went,” the student said.