XF 1.5 Managing Display of User Status

I'm having people use Status messages instead of PM's to each other, simply because they don't know better, and then their conversation shows up on the right side of the main page of our forum.

I would like to remove the display of user status from the main page - is there a way to do that and, if so, how, please?

I'd also consider managing it by the user group and/or the individual user.

I'd also consider still allowing people to input their own status but disabling any response to a user's status - they can PM instead.

We are currently on 1.4 but have purchased 1.5, I believe, and will be switching to that very soon.

Thanks very much.