17 Sep 2020

Otago University admits legal challenge to preferential pathway

From Morning Report, 8:18 am on 17 September 2020

The University of Otago has confirmed a legal challenge is part of the reason it was looking into implementing caps to a preferential entry pathway for medical school.

It's proposal to limit of Maori entrants to 56 and Pacific and other groups to 20 through preferential entry pathways has been heavily criticised. 

In a statement the University admits the suggestion was a response to a legal challenge to their admissions scheme.

It said it are firmly committed to increasing the number of medical students enrolling at the University from underrepresented groups and will strenuously defend the preferential pathways in court.

Professor Paul Brunton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences at the University of Otago, told Morning Report the legal challenge is "part of the backdrop" of the policy review.

But he said it was already up for review anyway and the university needs to have free and frank discussions during that process.

He did admit this time the process could have been better though.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if we were doing this again, we would do it differently.

"I completely acknowledge that. But nevertheless, we do need to, again, consider and review our policies, which is normal university practice."