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The problems of rejecting a medical school brought to court


A woman who has refused entry to the University of Otago medical school four times has filed a complaint in court.

Kelly Alexandra Roe appeared before the Dunedin High Court yesterday and told Judge David Gendall that she is not asking for financial damages or the impeachment of anyone.

She was also not now looking to enroll in the course for which she had been previously refused.

“The point is only to get some sort of court statement on what is and is not legal… for other students in the future,” Ms. Roe said.

“I’m afraid this will lead to a class action lawsuit in the future. “

Attorney Diccon Sim said the higher education institution believes Ms Roe has been treated fairly in all of her dealings with the university.

He disagreed with his interpretation of the Education and Training Act with respect to students over the age of 20.

Ms Roe first applied to study medicine at the University of Otago in 2012, she said.

She was offered an interview and turned down a position, discovering several years later that she had achieved the second lowest interview score of all applicants.

Ms Roe told court yesterday that she tried to reinstate in 2017 and 2018, but was taken out of the process prior to selection.

In 2020, she said, the university refused to provide her with an enrollment request.

This decision was against the spirit of the law, argued Ms Roe.

Despite the woman’s best efforts, Mr Sim said they were not exhaustive.

She had not applied for admission to the course as part of the “exceptional circumstances” course, an option which had been expressly emphasized to her.

Ms. Roe has had a busy 12 months in court.

In December last year, she filed for judicial review after the University of Auckland denied her application to enroll in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery courses in 2018 and 2019.

The High Court dismissed the court challenge and ordered Ms Roe to pay costs in excess of $ 18,000 to the university.

She attempted to argue the decision in the Court of Appeal, but was unable to provide financial security for any charges that may have arisen.

“She is pursuing her appeal for her own benefit, not to advance a real problem of public importance,” Justice Forrie Miller said.

Over the past 11 months, she has also faced the University of Waikato, the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee and the Auckland District Health Council, without success.

Justice Gendall reserved his decision yesterday.

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