SIT confident in standard of student accommodation

Penny Simmonds
Penny Simmonds
Having completed an initial review of its accommodation services, SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds is confident the polytech is on the right track.

The Tertiary Education Commission had asked all tertiary providers in the country to carry out a review of their accommodation services.

The request follows the death of Christchurch student Mason Pendrous, whose body was discovered after lying for a month in student accommodation.

SIT owns several properties in Invercargill providing accommodation for about 300 students.

Ms Simmonds said her team undertook a ''full stocktake'' and was ready to send its initial report to Wellington.

''We feel confident that we have good policies and procedures around the duties and the job descriptions of our residential assistants.''

She believed the review was focused on providers who owned large student halls.

''The main point is SIT doesn't have any resident halls. All the student accommodation is multi-room apartments, where there are several students in each apartment. Also most of the rooms are double and have more than one person in them.''

Mrs Simmonds said all staff who were connected with the accommodation had a student welfare component in their job description.

Also a physical check was conducted at each apartment to make sure every student has being accounted for.

''We have gone the apartments way because it suits our students,'' Mrs Simmonds said.

She said SIT had not had any major incidents reported.

Chief executive of the Tertiary Education Commission Tim Fowler said he had asked all tertiary education institutions (TEIs) to ''urgently ensure every student who uses accommodation'' was safe and had the support they needed.

''I have subsequently asked that TEI council chairs and commissioners do a stocktake of their accommodation provision and conduct a review - preferably independent - to assure themselves and me that they have appropriate systems and procedures in place to ensure the effective pastoral care for all students.''

The deadline for reports is November 29.

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

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