Death of University of Lincoln student shocks campus, triggers internal review


An inquest into the student’s death is ongoing. Photo/Lincoln University, Facebook

The sudden death of a student in her dorm room on the first day of a new semester has shocked a “tight” campus and sparked internal scrutiny.

The University of Lincoln student was found dead in her bedroom on Monday, just after returning from the Canterbury institution from her mid-year break.

“Police were called to an address in Ellesmere Junction Road on Monday evening where a woman was found dead,” a police spokeswoman said.

Police say his death is not being considered suspicious and will be referred to the coroner.

The death shocked the campus, and University of Lincoln Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Edwards said they stood with the grieving parents and family.

“We are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of one of our students in his room at Lincoln University’s residence halls,” Edwards said.

“We continue to support the grieving parents and family, who have requested confidentiality, as well as our community of students and staff.”

Although the death is under police investigation, Edwards said the university was unable to provide additional information at this time.

“Findings from the investigation will help inform our own review, which has already begun,” he said.

“Lincoln University is a tight-knit community and we do everything we can to care for the safety and well-being of our students.”

Police would not say how long the student’s body had been there.

Lincoln University owns and operates seven residence halls, each with at least one residential assistant living on-site.

In 2019, Mason Pendrous, a student at the University of Canterbury, was also found dead in his bedroom in a halls of residence. Her body remained unnoticed in her bedroom for up to four weeks.

His death prompted New Zealand universities to update and expand their pastoral code.

Greens higher education spokeswoman Chlöe Swarbrick, however, claimed that none of the country’s eight universities had implemented the pastoral code – a claim dismissed by Chris Whelan, chief executive of Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara.

“The safety and well-being of our students is paramount to all eight New Zealand universities and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the deceased student. A tragedy like this is felt across the sector “Whelan said.

“We categorically reject the claim that none of the universities have implemented the Pastoral Code which came into effect on January 1, 2022.

“All universities have reported that they are compliant in most areas of the code. Where they are still working, as the code allows, individually or collectively, to implement some outstanding aspects, this mainly relates to new requirements for gather and report publicly on how they are doing in areas such as complaint resolution, student voice and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

He added: “Universities provide the New Zealand Qualifications Authority as Code Administrators with regular reports on progress made in closing these remaining gaps. To date, there has been no indication that progress are insufficient or that the outstanding deficiencies create an undue risk to students’ safety and well-being.”

Where to get help

If you are worried about your mental health or that of someone else, the best place to get help is your local GP or mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or putting others in danger, call the police immediately on 111.


• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 in Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HOTLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email or online chat.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
• DEPRESSION HOTLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.

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