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March 11, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Student Turns Vigilante

Campaign Rainsforth

A University decision to allow a campus caretaker to continue work after he was charged with the theft of a PhD student’s smartphone has prompted the student to drop out and start a poster campaign against University administration.
Chris Cherry, a PhD student at the time of the theft, has plastered posters around kelburn Campus to make students aware that Arana
kenny—a victoria caretaker—was not suspended after the theft. Cherry believes Victoria are “putting your property at risk.”
The posters ask students to direct all complaints to Associate Director of Campus Operations and Campus Services rainsforth Dix, and links to a blog Cherry created. The blog explains how the caretaker stole the phone from a toilet ledge.
The phone was stolen in June 2012, and six months later in December, the student tracked Kenny down. “he was so stupid that he’d left my Google account logged into the phone”, said Cherry.  “When I realised someone was using my account to download apps, I
push installed tracking to the phone and collected evidence which was later handed to police.”  Kenny was arrested in January 2013. Photos taken on the stolen phone by Kenny have been published on the blog, including toilet selfies and summer holiday snaps.
After kenny was arrested, the student emailed Dix and told her a member of her staff had been arrested and charged with theft while
working at the university. “Ms Dix’s eventual response was to tell me that one of the outcomes was that Mr Kenny had to apologise and buy me a new SIM card, and I would also be given an opportunity to tell Mr kenny how the theft had made me feel”, said Cherry.
Dix told the student that Kenny was very keen to participate and that she was disappointed that he didn’t want to take her up on the offer. The student objected and intimated that he would leave the PhD programme because he was not comfortable being around the person who committed a crime against him.

“[I have] made the decision to withdraw from the PhD the only solution the University could come up with was for me not to use the campus, so I feel that I have no other option except to give up my scholarship. I’ve also lost my tutoring position,” wrote Cherry on the blog.
The blog also includes the student’s email correspondence with Dix and accusations that she has a “history of hostility and misleading people.” University management had no comment for Salient when asked. “We cannot comment on a matter which is currently before the courts”, said a University spokesperson. “We have no comment to make on the actions of the individual student involved.”

Cherry was disappointed with the University’s handling of the issue. “The University has a duty of care to staff and students – they should have either suspended Kenny pending the outcome of the court case, or made public the fact that there is a thief working on campus”, he told Salient. “The University has completely shut down communication with me, so I’m very limited in what further action I can take.”
Kenny entered no plea in the court case, which has been delayed for reasons unknown to Salient.


Phillipa Webb

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