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More than 100 students preparing for their final exams are being offered counselling after a young man fell to his death in the atrium of a six-storey building at the University of Auckland.
The first and ground floors of the Business School's Owen G Glenn Building in the central Auckland campus were filled with students studying during the final week of exams when the man, believed to be a student, fell from the sixth floor yesterday morning.
A witness, who did not want to be named, said there were more than 20 students in the immediate vicinity when the incident happened about 11.30am.
Grief counsellors were quickly at the building and computer labs closest to the scene on the ground floor were evacuated.
"I've been here for five years and [something as shocking as this] has never happened," the witness said.
People who were gathered at tables, in labs or at the cafe in the atrium were alerted by a scream followed by a loud noise, he said.
Staff from a cafe on level one covered the man's body with black tablecloths while a woman yelled for people to stop taking photos on their phones.
The witness said some staff and students were "pretty rattled" and had taken the rest of the day off.
More than 100 students were on the ground floor sitting exams in sound-proof lecture theatres at the time of the incident.
He said while many people were at the building at the time, it was fortunate not to have happened during the busiest period.
Last night the Auckland University Students' Association posted on its Facebook page: "A reminder to everyone sitting exams that university counselling support is always available to help you deal with stress or anxiety".
The young man who fell to his death is believed to have been a student aged in his 20s.
The university offers free counselling services.
More than 100 people were studying in the area at the time, and grief counsellors spoke to about a dozen students immediately after the incident and later opened up a room in the building for anyone looking for guidance, the witness said.
Students affected were able to apply for compassionate consideration for any exams later this week.
Three history students who had been studying in the building at the time said they had been told they had to sit their exam in the hours after witnessing the incident.
They said their lecturers had offered support and taken them to the counselling services where they were told they could later apply for compassionate consideration for their exam results.
"Our lecturer reminded us to keep a hold of yourself and remember exams are not the end of the world," said one of the students, who did not want to be named.
Where to get help
* Mental Health Services: 0508 625 662
* Youthline: 0800 376 633, text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Lifeline: 0800 543 354
* The Lowdown: text 5626, email email@example.com
* Depression helpline: 0800 111 757