Exam papers found

A woman has been arrested and stolen University of Otago exam scripts recovered, but they have been deemed unmarkable.

The 23-year-old woman had been charged with burglary following the theft of the 98 unmarked exam scripts from the university, Dunedin police announced yesterday.

The scripts, stolen from a secure area of the Clocktower Building on Saturday, had been recovered but were in an unusable state, a university statement said.

A court date for the woman had not been set, police said, and no further comment would be made ''as the matter is now before the courts''.

A university spokeswoman said they were pleased an arrest had been made in relation to the burglary.

''We cannot comment further on any matters surrounding the arrest as this could compromise judicial process,'' the spokeswoman said.

Because the scripts could not be marked, the university would ''continue working with the students who had their exam scripts taken''.

''Our priority remains with these students, and we are very grateful for their understanding,'' she said.

University officials said there had been ''considerable damage to property'' during the burglary.

The stolen exam scripts had been completed by students taking at least six papers, mostly on Saturday, the university said.

A member of the public, who did not want to be named, emailed the Otago Daily Times late on Tuesday and said he and some friends were on campus about 5pm on Saturday and noticed a door at the back of the Clocktower Building, leading to an outside courtyard, was unlocked.

He reported the incident to police about 1pm yesterday, as he thought it was unusual the door was open during the weekend and the final university exam had been held that morning.

Police Southern district communications manager Nic Barkley said he could not confirm that report was made, as it could form part of the police investigation.

Otago University Students' Association president Paul Hunt earlier said he felt ''shock'' when he heard the exam scripts had been stolen.

The theft was ''really frustrating for everyone involved''.

Some students who had completed their examinations might have wanted to forget about them, but were subsequently discovering

their ''work is potentially down the drain''.

Some students could find having to resit an examination difficult, and the OUSA was offering help through its student support centre and wanted to ''ensure everyone gets a fair outcome''.

Many students had been adversely affected and the OUSA was keen to help, he said. The university did not respond to further questions from the ODT yesterday, including about its progress in contacting affected students.



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