Hayne agrees to meeting over med school admissions

Te Oranga ki Otakou president Isaac Smiler and Otago University Medical Students’ Association...
Te Oranga ki Otakou president Isaac Smiler and Otago University Medical Students’ Association president Anu Kaw review a copy of an open letter sent to the university requesting a Zoom hui about possible changes to the way students gain entry to medical school. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
The University of Otago’s vice-chancellor has agreed to meet students who are seeking answers about possible changes to selection processes for the medical school.

Student leaders say trust needs to be rebuilt and the university’s leaders should apologise for their handling of the saga.

Harlene Hayne
Harlene Hayne
The university has been considering whether the system for giving priority entry to minority groups such as Maori and Pasifika should be adjusted but student groups are opposed to suggested changes and student leaders have misgivings about discussions held away from the public eye.

Otago University Medical Students’ Association leaders wrote an open letter to vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne, health sciences pro-vice-chancellor Paul Brunton and Otago Medical School dean Rathan Subramaniam yesterday, requesting a Zoom hui and public commitment from them to the Mirror on Society policy.

The policy aims to help create a health workforce more reflective of New Zealand society's make-up.

Prof Hayne said she welcomed the opportunity to have "a fair and frank discussion" about the university’s goals and intentions.

The meeting is set for September 29.

"In the meantime, please rest assured ... the University of Otago remains firmly committed to our Mirror on Society policy," Prof Hayne said.

The university is, however, considering limiting the priority pathways, which have recently become the way most students get into second-year medicine at Otago.

The student representatives said that, as future health professionals, they were deeply concerned about suggested changes to medical school admissions regulations, "as well as the attitudes of those presenting them".

"We oppose a cap being imposed on the number of applicants that can enter medicine through any of the five Mirror on Society categories of Maori, Pasifika, rural, low socioeconomic and refugee."

University leaders have been at pains to point out suggestions in discussion documents — including that preferential pathways should be capped — are not a formal proposal for change.

The university is also facing a legal challenge relating to the management of medical school admissions this year and Prof Brunton confirmed this was considered when the documents were drafted.

Otago University Medical Students’ Association president Anu Kaw said students were distressed about the university’s handling of the issue.

"That sense of trust has been eroded," she said.

Te Oranga ki Otakou president Isaac Smiler said the university had acknowledged flaws in its processes.

What was missing now was an apology, he said.

The student leaders took some heart from the university’s pledge to "strenuously" oppose the legal challenge, which is before the High Court.

The medical collective asked for written confirmation from university leaders about what the consultation process for reviewing preferential pathways would involve.

Student representatives want the university to acknowledge discourse about the issue has been hurtful and caused distress for many students.

The collective is seeking answers about the rationale for possible changes.

Otago University Students' Association academic representative Emily Coyle said the association supported the stance taken by the Otago medical students' collective.

"The university has been vocal in its commitment to the Mirror on Society policy but OUSA calls on the university to align its words and actions when it comes to these proposed changes."


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Shall we (Everyman and his dog), let them get on with it, without gainsaying moves to rapprochement?

So the leader has agreed to meet the foot soldiers, big deal.
"That sense of trust has been eroded,"
What about the sense of trust that the hard working, studious, dedicated and talented students of the nonpreferred ethnic or social economic classes had that, merit, results and character have meaning in our university ????
Let's be clear, that includes, Chinese, Twinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malay, Thia, African, Middle Eastern, Latino, East European, West European, North American, Indian, Australian, to name a few but of course the target is European Kiwi's.
Hayne clearly operates under postmodernist Marxist ideology, as does a considerable portion of academic staff.
I agree an apology is required but it's not to the over entitled demanding privilege as a birthright.
A rising tide raises all boats, a falling tide leaves those in shallow water, beached as.
Reduced standards does NOT help anyone.

I'm a little confused. Are you saying that students from the nations listed are over entitled?

Marx hasn't had this many mentions since the 'women are property, lose your chains' scandal.

#hill, you're being gazumped by sound logic. What they are suggesting is people should be promoted on their expertise not their skin colour. The latter could by its own definition only be racist. Unless your happy for your families next surgery to be done by a b- grade srudent?

A student contemplating study as a first year medical student at Otago that wasn't eligible for a Mirror on Society enrollment would be entitled to ask the following questions:

1. What percentage of the cohort will be Mirror on Society students during the year he or she attends?
2. At the end of the first year to what degree will the marks of the pathway students be favoured over non pathway students to achieve the outcomes the university has publicly stated?

Without this information a non pathway student cannot reasonably make an informed decision regarding the suitability of Otago for their study versus other options.

It's already been acknowledged that about 50% of the places available were taken by 'pathway' students this year.
That means about 25% of the population gets double the entry rate between them and 75% gets their prospects halved.
No wonder the percentage of 'pathway' students keeps increasing.
Why take on a years student debt competing for diminishing opportunities ???
As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Merit should be the only qualifier for taxpayer funded, higher education.

The Fizz. It's not logic, it's Eurocentric ideology.

One of the claims is the over representation of the intake, 40% of maori , pacifica,low social economic and rural is causing some students with extremely high grades to be refused admission due to the intake numbers being filled ....many of those with lower grades. I understand the mirror society idea but I would think the medical profession is one profession the brightest and best is the way forward in the long run.

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