Statement from Vice-Chancellor

25 September 2019

We are devastated by what has happened and extend our deepest sympathy to the family. This is an extremely distressing time for University students and staff. The University of Canterbury is doing everything it can to support the Police investigation into the tragic death of a New Zealand student in the Sonoda student accommodation.

  • Cheryl de la Rey

    Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey says the University of Canterbury is devastated by what has happened and extend our deepest sympathy to the family.

We are devastated by what has happened and extend our deepest sympathy to the family.  This is an extremely distressing time for University students and staff. The University of Canterbury is doing everything it can to support the Police investigation into the tragic death of a New Zealand student in the Sonoda student accommodation.

Despite the comprehensive pastoral care programmes in place, for us it is inconceivable to imagine how these circumstances could have occurred.  We understand that the matter is now with the Coroner and we are respectful of the family’s wishes at this time not to comment further.

The University will commission an independent comprehensive investigation to identify how this situation could have occurred and what actions need to be taken.

Support has been put in place for students within the Sonoda residence and additional support is being offered to students in all other student residences and halls, as well as across the broader UC community.  UC’s trained professional student care advisors and Campus Living Villages’ (CLV) pastoral care team are onsite and available to support students and staff.

The wellbeing and pastoral care programme at UC is extensive. Student care support services include counselling, health and wellbeing, financial and academic support.

Student accommodation services within residential halls provide another layer of pastoral care with Residential Assistants supporting students.  Within the Sonoda accommodation two Residential Assistants are employed, with a duty manager to support for incidents.  Social spaces and bathrooms are cleaned twice a week and CLV meet with UC fortnightly to discuss students of concern.  PWC have also recently completed an internal Health and Safety audit of our accommodation processes.

There is further support within the Academic Colleges and the University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA).  

Whilst the police investigation continues we are somewhat limited in what we can say about the specific circumstances.  Once again we pass on our condolences to the family and all impacted.

Professor Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Whakarae

 

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