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News of this happening at a house in Dunedin on a Saturday night seemed unbelievable, more akin to something which might happen at a big venue in a far-off overseas city.
Only it wasn't fake news. It was all too real.
Wondering how a fun night out could have gone so terrifyingly wrong will not change the horror and grief felt by the young woman's family, friends and acquaintances.
Elizabeth Yates put it well in Up the Golden Stair when she wrote: ''I think that we should not, by any twist of the words we use, minimise what we are going through, what anyone goes through, when death enters upon life and removes a member of our circle, family-close or friendship-wide. There will be time enough to ponder the event, to philosophise about it, to discover its significance. Now, the bleak fact stands: a light has gone out; wherever it may be shining, it is here no longer.''
There will be much to ponder about this event and to determine what might be done, if anything, to avoid the possibility of any similar occurrence in the future. Investigations into what happened are already well under way.
However, now is the time for supporting those directly or indirectly affected and, as several commentators have said, not the time for finger pointing. Without knowing the detail of what happened, such behaviour would be premature, in any case.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the University of Otago's response has been sensitive and sensible. Understandably, it has not been keen to enter into discussion about wider issues regarding students' partying behaviour at this time.
Vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne has had the difficult task of meeting the young woman's parents earlier this week, describing them as ''simply remarkable people''. Although they were dealing with their own grief, she spoke of their courage and generosity in helping the university to look after the students most severely affected by the tragedy.
The university has set up a drop-in support centre, moved to help re-home the occupants of the house in Dundas St where the death occurred, and begun work on a compassionate consideration process for those who might be unable to sit exams, due to start next week.
While students have been able to access professional help, Prof Hayne observed that the biggest support they had sought in the initial aftermath of the event was from each other.
Otago University Students' Association president James Heath called for students to be there for each other, to ''reach out to friends and flatmates; talk, listen, show the strength of our community''.
Maybe it is also time to quietly reflect on what role the wider community has in a city which hosts so many young people living away from home and taking their first tentative steps into adult life.
Do we do enough to welcome, guide and celebrate our students, helping them when they make mistakes, or are we more likely to be standing superciliously on the sidelines, waiting for failure so we can tut-tut?
In this instance, perhaps we could follow Mr Heath's advice - reach out to students , talk, listen and show the strength of our community.