Otago police arrest woman over stolen exams

Otago police arrest woman over stolen exams

Police have arrested and charged a 23-year-old woman with burglary in relation to the University of Otago incident where exam scripts were taken on Saturday night.

The unmarked exam papers were taken from the exams office in the faculty's Clocktower building in the break-in, along with considerable damage to the property. The office is in a secure area of the building that requires swipe-card access. Valuable electronic equipment was not taken.

The University of Otago released a statement saying the exam scripts have been recovered but were in an "unusable" state.

"This means we will continue working with the students who had their exam scripts taken," the statement says.

University students who had their exams stolen were given an ultimatum. Fairfax Media reported students were notified if they were affected and given the option of retaking the same exam, sitting a take-home test, or choosing an aegrotat pass.

The 98 exams stolen covered a range of subjects, including politics, English, microbiology and dentistry, Fairfax reported.

The majority of the papers had been sat by University of Otago students on Saturday.

Dentistry students were told without explanation to re-sit their exam and to not tell their classmates, the Otago Daily Times (ODT) reported.

An affected final-year dentistry student told the ODT the university said the exam could not be marked for some reason.

He said the exam was the same as the previous one and the university had "rushed us through" so papers could be marked before graduation.

They had speculated it was because of the stolen exams but were not explicitly told.

A University of Otago spokeswoman confirmed to the ODT the dental exam had been re-sat.

Deputy vice chancellor academic Professor Vernon Squire said the immediate concern is for the students who have been affected.

"We understand how upsetting and disappointing this is for the students," he said. "The considerable effort they have put into their study and exams has essentially been ruined by this reprehensible criminal act."

Police are unable make further comments, as the matter is now before the courts.

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