Residents at UniLodge Whitaker were told at the end of last month they may need to move out for returning international students’ 14 day quarantine.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said at the start of May that international students could be allowed to return to New Zealand, as long as they undergo self-isolation.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told Radio New Zealand that allowing international students to return could help generate the city’s economic recovery.
Craccum reported at the start of the semester that around 2,000 students from mainland China were unable to return for Semester One due to the government’s travel restrictions.
In an email, the university told UniLodge Whitaker residents that a draft plan included an option to use the Whitaker Place residence for quarantining returning international students, but also emphasized that no decision has been made yet.
“We certainly do not wish to make things easier for one group of students by making things more difficult for another.”
In case the residence is needed, the university said it will provide residents with alternative accommodation on campus and help with moving costs.
Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, the President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Association, told Stuff that international students have been treated as cash cows, and while much “time and energy” had been put into the draft plan, Auckland students had not received the same amount of “care and compassion” during lockdown.
The university has not responded to Craccum’s requests for comment, but told TVNZ that the draft plan which was prepared for Auckland Council was still being worked on, and the decision will be subject to other conditions like the provision of student visas.
Two learning centres have also been set up in mainland Chinese cities of Chongqing and Harbin for Chinese students if border restrictions continue in Semester Two.