Lockdown lifted at Otago's Christchurch campus

Students are now allowed to leave the University of Otago's Christchurch campus after it was placed in lockdown earlier today.

A university spokesman said people who were under lockdown at the campus' building in Riccarton Ave could now leave after police said it was safe to go home.

The university put out a statement from Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne, which has been circulated to staff and students.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies have been conveyed to our Christchurch colleagues and students in light of the disturbing and tragic events in Christchurch this afternoon," it said.

"We believe that all our students and staff in Christchurch are safe and accounted for, but we also recognise that students and staff may have friends and family that are not yet accounted for in the wider city."

The statement urged students to stay in touch and take care of each other. For those requiring extra support, our EAP counselling is available now, and 24/7 over the weekend for all staff and students who need support to phone 0800787286.

"Due to these tragic events, the University of Otago is postponing its 150th anniversary street parade which was scheduled for tomorrow," the statement said. 

A replacement date would be decided in due course, a university spokesman said.

The university has also called off another anniversary-related social event, which was to have been held at the Marsh Study Centre in North Dunedin late tomorrow afternoon.

This would have been a social gathering for university alumni, before the scheduled Highlanders-Crusaders Super Rugby clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium, a
university spokesman said.

Some other anniversary-related matters were also being reviewed, in the light of the tragic circumstances in Christchurch, he said. 

The Otago University Medical Students Association posted a message to Facebook saying: "Our hearts are with those who have been affected by the terrible tragedy that took place in Christchurch earlier this afternoon. To our medical students of Islamic faith, we love you and stand with you. To our medical students in Christchurch and those who have whānau in Christchurch we hope you’re keeping yourselves safe. We ask you to love each other and support one another during this time."


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