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A new safety check policy introduced at University of Otago halls of residence has sparked concerns about privacy.
According to a notice sent to students of Abbey College this week from its warden, Chris Addington, all residential colleges have been directed to institute a safety check system "as part of our normal routines and procedures".
"As well as the weekly clean of bedrooms there will be a second time during the week when a member of the cleaning team will knock, open your door and ensure all is OK," he wrote.
It follows the death of a University of Canterbury student in Christchurch, whose body went undiscovered in his residential college room for nearly four weeks.
An Abbey College student contacted the Otago Daily Times with concerns over the new policy.
The student, who asked not to be named, said students would not be told when the checks would occur.
"Students are upset about the prospect of being seen naked, having sex, etc, and feel the new measure constitutes an invasion of privacy."
He had talked to several students who were "extremely distressed by the policy", he said.
Incoming Otago University Students' Association president and colleges officer Jack Manning said while safety was "vitally important", the University needed to be cognisant of student privacy and respecting personal space.
"We would be concerned if these safety checks lead to any sort of disciplinary action or consequences based on what is found - as this no longer becomes about students safety but instead enforcing college rules.
"If they are truly intended for safety then the colleges should both give notice and make it clear that these randomised checks will not lead to disciplinary action."
A University of Otago spokeswoman refused to confirm if the direction to introduce the checks came from the University, and if so, when the direction was given or why.
In a statement she said it was proud of the pastoral care provided to students, and the University has a high ratio of professional staff, and student staff, to residents.
"All the cleaning staff, catering staff, administrative staff, evening security, and property staff also form part of our support network around student wellbeing and pastoral care and there is continual contact between staff and students.
"Any students with concerns about the level of monitoring and supervision provided are encouraged to discuss these concerns with the college head."
Mr Addington referred questions to the University.