The New Zealand Herald

Mentally ill student told to leave

University and INZ give overseas student allegedly raped in health unit orders to go

- Lincoln Tan

Awoman who says she was raped in a mental health unit had her enrolment terminated at the University of Auckland and was told she could face deportatio­n.

The 21-year-old woman from China suffers from chronic mental health issues. She was placed in Auckland Hospital’s mental health unit in late October.

There, she was allegedly raped by another patient and a month later tried to take her own life.

In a letter dated December 11, the woman, a fourth-year University of Auckland student pursuing a double degree in science and health science, was told her enrolment was ending.

Noting that the student had to be admitted after she needed life-saving medical interventi­on in Auckland

Hospital, deputy vice-chancellor Adrienne Cleland said the terminatio­n was for a breach of enrolment conditions.

“It is clear that there has been a change to the state of your mental health . . . and you did not promptly inform the Internatio­nal Office as you were required to do under your Enrolment Conditions,” Cleland said in the letter.

“The University has cancelled your Student Agreement for your breach of enrolment conditions, thereby terminatin­g your enrolment.”

Two days later, Immigratio­n New Zealand (INZ) informed the student in an email the terminatio­n meant she no longer met the criteria for her student visa and gave her five days to leave New Zealand.

“This is because your visa conditions state that you may study at Auckland University and today that was terminated,” the email said. “You are therefore liable to be served with a deportatio­n liability notice.”

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said her experience in New Zealand has been “one nightmare after another”.

Shortly after arriving here in 2015, she said, she met an older man who took intimate photos of her and blackmaile­d her into having sex with him.

A police report was made, but she said she withdrew the complaint after the man agreed to delete the images.

The woman did not tell the university about this or the alleged hospital rape because she was ashamed.

“I believe I am fit to study and can graduate this year if I am allowed to continue. My family has spent over $100,000 in fees.

“What I needed was support but instead University of Auckland chose the easy way out.”

But she said even if the university overturned its decision, it would be “too toxic” for her to continue her studies there.

Auckland City Detective Sergeant Mark Greaves, confirmed an ongoing police investigat­ion into “a complaint involving allegation­s of a sexual nature”.

He said it reportedly happened at a health facility in Auckland City on October 24 last year.

An Auckland District Health Board spokeswoma­n said it was unable to comment as there was an ongoing police investigat­ion.

University of Auckland spokesman Todd Somerville said the university did not comment on individual cases involving a student’s health and welfare.

However, he said the student in this case had received “an exceptiona­l level of care and support” from the university.

“The decision to terminate her enrolment was based on expert advice of her own medical team, who felt that it was not in her best interests to remain as a student at the university,” Somerville said.

INZ general manager verificati­on and compliance Stephen Vaughan said the email to the woman that threatened deportatio­n was sent before the agency had been informed of the circumstan­ces around her reasons for not completing her studies.

“[She] has been advised that INZ will not take any further action in her case until she has had the opportunit­y to seek advice on her immigratio­n options,” Vaughan said.

 ??  ?? The woman says the University of Auckland is now “too toxic” for her to stay.
The woman says the University of Auckland is now “too toxic” for her to stay.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand