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The university is also expected to apologise to students.
University leaders have not confirmed a change of tack, but several student leaders say they have been told a discussion document that suggested caps on preferential pathways will be withdrawn.
Students also say the university has assured them that if changes such as caps were proposed in future, Maori and Pacific leaders would be involved in discussions from the outset.
The revelations follow a meeting yesterday involving vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne, health sciences pro-vice-chancellor Paul Brunton, Maori development director Tuari Potiki, Pacific development director Tasileta Teevale and leaders of some student associations.
Student leaders had written an open letter calling for the meeting because, as future health professionals, they were worried about suggested changes to medical school admissions.
Students from minority backgrounds — Maori, Pasifika, rural, low socio-economic and refugee — are given priority entry to health professional programmes at Otago as part of a drive to generate a health workforce more reflective of New Zealand society’s make-up.
The scheme, known as the Mirror on Society policy, is due for review next year.
Competition for medical school places is especially intense and the system has been under scrutiny amid a legal challenge and a suggestion emerged the priority pathways should be capped.
University leaders had struggled to outline why changes to the medical admissions system had been suggested or explain a lack of involvement from Maori and Pacific leaders in the initial stages of change being pondered.
They had conceded there were problems with the way they had run the process suggesting changes but, prior to yesterday, stopped short of apologising for mishandling the situation.
Otago University Medical Students’ Association president Anu Kaw said yesterday’s meeting was productive.
"We were extremely grateful for the opportunity to meet with the university’s senior leadership team and to have the platform to voice our concerns directly to those that influence changes within the university," Miss Kaw said.
University leaders acknowledged their processes had led to distress, she said.
Students had been assured any future proposal for change would start from scratch, she said.
Te Oranga ki Otakou president Isaac Smiler said he was pleased with the meeting outcomes.
University leaders had acknowledged the "Maori voice wasn’t included in early stages" of presenting the discussion document and that this had
caused hurt, he said.
"I’m happy it has been taken off the table.
"We begin again at point zero."
A comprehensive consultation process was put forward for the future, he said.
A university spokeswoman said Prof Hayne believed the meeting was positive but declined to comment further about a discussion not held in public.