*Content warning: This article discusses sexual assault and may be upsetting.
The University of Auckland is reviewing another allegation of sexual assault after recently saying it “deeply regrets” how it handled similar allegations from another student.
The Herald on Sunday revealed a man – who a university proctor agreed had twice raped and physically assaulted another student – was given a written reprimand and allowed to keep studying.
Meanwhile, the woman had to quit her studies and return to her home country after becoming severely depressed.
The university proctor also told the man not to contact the woman.
A letter she received last October outlining these actions – which also suggested he attend a course on “creating cultures of consent and respect” – “devastated her”.
The university has since written to the woman to say the proctor’s original decision was incorrect and the disciplinary committee would reopen the case.
In an email to the student body earlier this week, vice chancellor Dawn Freshwater said the university “deeply regrets” its inadequate response to allegations of sexual assault made against the student.
And in an email today, Freshwater said legitimate questions had been raised about the university’s disciplinary response, particularly in cases where criminal behaviour is alleged.
“Since Monday a second similar case has been brought to our attention, which we are now reviewing.”
The disciplinary committee which was scheduled to hear the first case had been postponed following a request from the respondent’s lawyer.
“We have publicly acknowledged that errors have been made, and we have apologised for them. We have also committed to holding an independent review of our disciplinary processes to determine where they can be improved.
“In the interim, all cases involving harmful sexual behaviour will be reviewed to ensure that the appropriate pathway to resolution is taken.”
Freshwater said in the email she was determined the university would be “open and transparent” with the community on these issues and was aware many members of the university community were disappointed in the handling of these issues.
“I want to stress that our intention is always to seek a fair, transparent and timely resolution, within the jurisdiction of the University and its powers.”
Sexual harm – Where to get help
If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email [email protected]
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station – click here for a list.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it’s not your fault.
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