The woman was twice rejected from the University of Auckland medical school. (File photo)
A woman was ordered to pay more than $ 18,000 to the University of Auckland after going to court to apply for a place in her medical school.
Kelly Alexandra Roe applied for admission to the university’s Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) in 2019 and 2020, but was denied both times.
She then applied for judicial review in the Auckland High Court, saying the university did not have the power, under the Education Act, to deny her a place.
Under the law, she was eligible for enrollment because she was a domestic student aged 20 or older, she argued.
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She also claimed that the university does not have the right to set minimum academic standards for admission or entry requirements for domestic students 20 years of age or older.
Roe wanted the decisions that she did not qualify to be declared illegal and for the university to reimburse her for the costs she incurred as a result of those decisions.
But that was not the opinion of Judge Sally Fitzgerald, who dismissed Roe’s claims.
In her judgment, Fitzgerald admitted that Roe met the criteria to be considered an eligible student under the law, but she said the university had the right to impose its own entrance criteria.
The MBChB was “oversubscribed” and the competition for spaces was very competitive, Fitzgerald said, in which case the university was entitled to create selection criteria.
To enter the course, Roe would have to complete the first year of a Bachelor of Health Sciences or the first year of a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences; or have completed a full-time degree in New Zealand with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 6 within the past five years.
She did not meet any of these requirements.
In 2015, Roe enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Sciences, but failed an exam and withdrew. Then, in 2018, she started a Masters of Philosophy at the University of Waikato to apply through the graduate course.
But she was unable to provide staff at the University of Auckland with the unofficial transcript they needed to prove she had graduated. It was therefore refused.
Fitzgerald said Roe did not meet any of the requirements, the decision to deny her request was “legal”.
“For the sake of completeness, and although Ms. Roe does not allege that the recency requirement is unreasonable or capricious, she has a clear academic goal, ensuring an appropriate level of academic consistency and competence among prospective MBChB students. “said Fitzgerald.
She said that too much time between previous studies and entry to the program “could call into question the fact that the academic capacities required to obtain the relevant degree remain up to date”.
Following this judgment, Fitzgerald then ordered Roe to pay the University of Auckland $ 18,164 to cover their legal costs.