The University of Auckland's dismissal of an international student after a suicide attempt is being slammed online as "shameful", "disgusting" and "lacking in compassion and decency".

Hundreds have commented on Twitter, Facebook and Chinese social media sites - a vast majority in support of the woman who suffers from mental health issues.

The Herald reported on Wednesday that the 21-year-old fourth year student from China who is pursuing a double degree had her enrolment terminated for not telling the university about the change in her mental condition.

She was allegedly raped at an Auckland mental health unit in late October and tried to take her own life a month later.

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"F**k what an utter lack of compassion and decency," one said on Facebook.

Another said: "The University of Auckland all you needed to do was let the girl have a damn break cos LORD KNOWS the pressure of university can mess with your mental health.

"Expulsion seems pretty extreme. Could've given her some time to get better and once she felt fit, return to her studies. From my understanding, this girl's family have spent upward of $100k sending their daughter to your school so WASSUP?"

One commented: "Suicidal people rarely even tell their family how they are feeling before its too late but the university expect you to let them know? What a joke."

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The letter written by the university's deputy vice-chancellor Adrienne Cleland was also posted on several online forums.

In the letter, Cleland said the reason for the termination was because the student had breached 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 wrote.

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"The University has cancelled your Student Agreement for your breach of enrolment conditions, thereby terminating your enrolment."

The Mental Health Foundation CEO Shaun Robinson criticised the university's decision as "cold, callous and extremely uncaring", Newshub reported.

University of Auckland spokesman Todd Somerville said the student had received "an exceptional level of care and support" from the university.

"The decision to terminate the 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.


In a statement from the university, a spokeswoman said the decision to terminate the student's enrolment was not taken lightly.

"It was based on explicit advice from her own medical team who advised that the student was at high risk if she continued to study in New Zealand. Our assessment, following meetings and conversations with them and the student's family, was that exceptional circumstances meant we could not continue to meet our obligations to her (under the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016).

"However, we are absolutely confident that this student has been extensively supported and treated with care and compassion for the four years of her enrolment here. We are committed to pastoral care, for both international and domestic students, and provide a wide range of support, as well as counselling and professional care when it is required. There has been no exception in this case."

When asked about the backlash, the spokeswoman said: "The University will not and must not breach student confidentiality regardless of any waiver or conversations initiated by anyone else. We therefore cannot enter into a conversation with members of the media or social media community or respond to speculation. Our correspondence with her was in confidence.

"The letter advising the student of the termination of her enrolment was necessarily formal as part of a complex legal process, was delivered in the context of her mental health care, and formed a small part of a significant body of correspondence from the University that demonstrates the compassion that has been shown to the student during her time with us."

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