Dunedin in 'shock', 'grief' after student Sophia Crestani's death

Dunedin is "in grief" and "in shock" after the death of a second-year student at an out-of-control party on the weekend.

Speaking to media on Monday, University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne said that Sophia Crestani's death on Saturday night has "severely" affected everyone.

"Our hearts to out go the family and the friends of Sophia, the student who was tragically killed," she said. "Right now, our main focus is on looking after our student community."

Hayne said the incident was a "tragic accident" and it was "far too early" to say if the university would make changes to the frequency or nature of the patrols by Campus Watch.

"As you know there is a police investigation but in the days and weeks to come the university will be working with the family, with police, with OUSA to think about whether or not there are ways we can make our community even safer," she said.

On Monday, Police said inquiries into what happened at the property continue.

"Police have now finished their scene examination at the property, and have spoken to a number of students who were present," said Area Prevention Manager Inspector Wil Black.

"We're still keen for anyone who was there who has information that may help Police form a detailed timeline of what happened, to get in touch with us."

OUSA president James Heath said the student community "is in grief, it is in shock".

"Now is not the time to be pointing fingers or blame. Now is the time to be supporting our community. That is our top priority and we are holding off on any wider discussions," he said.

A drop-in centre would open from Tuesday to help students, and he encouraged them to seek support.

"Most significantly, we urge our students to be there for each other. Reach out to your friends and flatmates. Talk, listen and show the strength of our community," he said.

Residents of the Dundas Street flat where Crestani was killed will relocate and the university was working to help them find alternative accommodation, Hayne added.

The university is working on a process for compassionate consideration for students who face upcoming exams.


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