UQ college accused of discrimination during Covid-19 procedures


By Sophie McManus

Students at prestigious University of Queensland college, Duchesne, have accused staff of discrimination and unfair treatment.

They claim they are experiencing serious mental health problems at the hands of their administration.

Ex- student representative, Tazmyn Fuller, 21, says she suffered mental harm through the college’s mandatory isolation processes.

“Part of the reason I left Duchesne was because of the isolation procedures that they put me through which were completely unnecessary… and illogical,” she says.

Students claim the isolation procedures were ‘prison like’ and say they were confined to their ‘tiny’ rooms for up to three weeks, sometimes food would not be delivered.

Ms Fuller is not alone.

Students say they were fed like prisoners, sometimes, their meals would be forgotten altogether.

Students say they were fed like prisoners, sometimes, their meals would be forgotten altogether. Credit: Sophie McManus

Student Ella Rose Lawrence, 18, says she tried to leave because her mental health was in serious danger.

“I tried to leave Duchesne, break my contract over the Covid period.

“We talked about how I was having some mental health issues, they weren’t considering that with their exemptions, but they were considering financial hardship.”

But Ms Fuller says she claimed financial and mental distress without any success of a refund.

“They refused to give my money back even though I claimed mental health issues because of the isolation, as well as severe financial pressure.”

This discrepancy in the colleges procedures led some students to accuse the College of discrimination.

“They gave my friend Bridget all of her money back, which is really great for her, but we were in the exact same position, they wouldn’t give it back to me, they even told her not to tell me”.

Duchesne College was approached by QUT News but declined to comment.

For now, students such as Ms Lawrence, say they are forced to stay at Duchesne College.

“I felt unsupported by the college and I continue to feel unsupported by the college,” she says.

Students say behind the wall of this establishment, there are some serious issues.

Students say behind the wall of this establishment, there are some serious issues. Credit: Sophie McManus

Duchesne College prides itself on being a nurturing environment in which young women can grow.