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Source: University of Otago

Sunday 6 October 2019 5:01pm
Tēnā koutou,
It is with great sadness that we need to inform students and staff of two events that have occurred in our community over the weekend. There is no easy way to deliver this news. Sadly, we had a tragic student death early Sunday morning, and on Saturday evening, we had a fire in one of our residential colleges.
We are deeply saddened by the death of a second-year student at a student party in a flat on Dundas St on Saturday night. The Proctor’s office is currently supporting the family of the student who died. We are also aware that many members of the student community are badly affected by what occurred or are supporting those who are. Our staff are working with students today, and will continue to do so at this very difficult time. Our deepest sympathies are with all those affected. Police continue to investigate, and the University will work with them as required. At this time, the University’s primary focus is on supporting our student community and the family of the student concerned.
Earlier on Saturday night there was also a fire in a student’s room on the second floor of the South Wing of University College. No-one was hurt in the incident and the evacuation of the entire college took place successfully. The fire caused extensive damage to the room. Water and smoke damage also affected a number of other rooms. For safety, the residents of the South Tower were accommodated overnight elsewhere in the college, in nearby colleges and with friends and family. Although there were no injuries in the college, the students who have been displaced, are understandably, unsettled.
Ours is a close-knit community and there will be people in our midst who will be deeply affected by one or both of these events.
Please stay in touch with and take care of each other in the days and weeks ahead. Do not underestimate the power of talking to and supporting each other.
Ngā mihi māhana,
Professor Harlene HayneVice-Chancellor University of Otago
James HeathPresident, OUSA