A woman who says she was raped in a mental health unit has had her enrolment terminated at the University of Auckland and told she could face deportation just days before Christmas.
The 21-year-old woman from China suffers from chronic mental health issues and was warded at 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 terminated.
Noting that the student had to be admitted following an incident requiring 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, 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 met an older man who took intimate photos of her and blackmailed her into having sex with him, the woman said.
A police report was made, but she said she withdrew the complaint after the man agreed to delete all the images.
The woman said she did not tell the university about this or the alleged hospital rape because she was ashamed.
"These are not things you want people to know, but I didn't know this could result in them terminating my studies," she said.
"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.
Detective Sergeant Mark Greaves of Auckland City Police confirmed an ongoing police investigation into "a complaint involving allegations of a sexual nature".
He said the incident reportedly occurred at a health facility in Auckland City on October 24 last year.
"This is a complex investigation and we are not in a position to make further comments at this time," Greaves said.
An Auckland District Health Board spokeswoman said it was unable to comment as this was an ongoing police investigation.
University of Auckland spokesman Todd Somerville said the university does not comment on individual cases involving a student's health and welfare, and a privacy waiver "does not change that position".
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.
"The University also determined that, given the exceptional circumstances of this case, we could not meet our responsibilities under the 'Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016', in particular to ensure that our international students are 'well informed, safe and properly cared for'."
INZ general manager verification and compliance Stephen Vaughan said the email to the woman which threatened deportation was sent before the agency had been informed of the circumstances around her reasons for not completing her studies.
He confirmed that she had not been served with a deportation liability notice.
"[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.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• KIDSLINE : 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (24/7)
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (24/7)
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (24/7)
• WHATSUP : 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• YOUTHLINE : 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.