AUT confirms investigation took place

02 Jun, 2020
AUT confirms investigation took place

AUT’s values are the foundation of how we work and learn together and it is a serious concern when anything suggests we may not be living by these values.

Recent media coverage about an allegation of sexual harassment involving AUT has raised understandable concerns.

AUT remains committed to zero tolerance of sexual harassment and to full, fair and proper responses to all allegations of it according to our values of pono/respect, tika/integrity and aroha/compassion and our comprehensive policies and procedures for dealing with harassment.

There has not been accurate reporting on this issue, including the suggestion that AUT has not investigated the allegation – this is not true.

As with any investigation of this kind a large amount of detail will, and should, remain confidential, however, AUT can confirm:

  1. A formal investigation was immediately undertaken by AUT upon receipt of a complaint submitted by Australian National University (ANU) on behalf of one of their staff members.
  2. External legal advice was received both before and after our investigation and our investigation and its outcomes were deemed appropriate.
  3. The substantive remedies sought by ANU on behalf of the staff member were met and communicated to them (ANU did not allow us any direct contact with their staff member).

ANU has expressed a view to external parties that AUT has not investigated the complaint. Specific information about their concerns has been requested since December, but not responded to.

On Friday, Professor Abbott stepped down as Dean of the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences.  Professor Abbott indicated that he was resigning from this role because the recent publicity about the ANU’s complaint and the reactions of some to it, had made it untenable for him to continue as Dean.

It is essential that all staff and students of the university have full confidence in our approaches to preventing and dealing with harassment. Because of this, and in keeping with our aim of being a place of continuous learning we will be reviewing our processes, procedures and programmes.  We want to be certain we are a place where all of our people feel welcome, safe and able to succeed - and able to raise concerns if that is not the case.