Otago University reaches agreement over medical school admissions dispute

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A legal challenge to Otago University’s medical school admissions process won’t be heading to court, with the university now having reached an agreement with the applicant.

Red Lecture theatre building

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The university admitted it was facing a legal challenge after coming under under intense scrutiny for proposing a cap on admissions for Māori and Pasifika students through preferential entry pathways.

The agreement does not include any changes to the Medical Admissions process, compensation or commitments by the university as to the outcome of any individual’s application for admission.

The university and the applicant has released a joint-statement, and neither party will be commenting further.

“The university accepts that the proceedings have highlighted the desirability of increased clarity and transparency in its Medical Admissions process. The applicant is satisfied that the university will be taking appropriate steps over time towards that outcome,” the statement said.

Both parties had agreed that any review of the current admissions process would be informed by all relevant stakeholders, including Māori and Pasifika.

“The applicant accepts that any review of the admissions process must be carried out in respectful consultation with a range of interested parties, including Māori and Pasifika communities, and recognises that the court proceedings are an unhelpful distraction which will not assist with the thoughtful dialogue required.

“As previously stated by the university, any discussions will include careful consideration and broad consultation, informed by the university’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its Māori and Pacific Strategic Frameworks.

“The university remains fully committed to the principles which underpin its Mirror on Society Policy, which is a cornerstone of admissions to Health Sciences Professional Programmes at Otago.”

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