The body was only found after students at the Sonoda Christchurch Campus accommodation reported an odour.
The young man’s body was found at approximately 11pm on Monday, September 23. His room had reportedly been located at the end of a hallway, where cleaners were not expected to work.
It is not yet understood how the young man died. The lengthy amount of time it took for his body to be discovered meant police had to bring in a disaster victim identification team (DVI) team to confirm his identity.
This incident has prompted other students to come forward with concerns about the quality of care provided at the halls of residence in question, which are managed by Campus Living Villages (CLV).
One anonymous student said:
We have no idea who is running this place, there is an overwhelming lack of presence from adult staff in this hall.
If a student was in crisis the hall of residence would have no idea… we could disappear for weeks and it would go unnoticed by staff here.
Although the student described the death as ‘shocking’, she also noted that she could ‘see how it was able to happen’ after ‘thinking about what procedures CLV has put in place to make sure their residents are all right’.
New Zealand’s education minister Chris Hipkins has described the death as deeply troubling, and has urged the university to conduct an investigation, said:
If you’re going into a hall residence or a hostel, you are paying top dollar for not just a roof over your head but also the pastoral care that goes with that, And I think clearly that’s not been present in this case.
As reported by Fox News, an autopsy was conducted Tuesday, September 24 with investigators still completing a scene examination on Wednesday, September 25.
According to Fox News, University Vice Chancellor Cheryl de la Rey has stated that it was ‘inconceivable to imagine how these circumstances could have occurred’:
This is an extremely distressing time for university students and staff. The University of Canterbury is doing everything it can to support the police investigation into the tragic death.
The chancellor has said the university will now commission an independent investigation into this tragedy.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this young man at this difficult time.