University of Auckland fires senior academic who tried to shake female Muslim student's hand

  • 08/03/2018

A senior male academic has been fired by the University of Auckland (UoA) after he tried to force a female Muslim student to shake hands.

When she refused, he laid a sexual discrimination complaint against her.

UoA vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon sent a newsletter to his staff warning them such "serious misconduct" would not be tolerated.

"Late last year we terminated the employment of a senior male academic staff member, after a complaint was received," he says in a screenshot posted to Twitter.

"The staff member concerned intentionally set out to force a young female Muslim student to shake hands with him. He did this knowing that she would consider it culturally or religiously inappropriate to have physical contact with a man who was not a close relative.

"When she declined to shake his hand, he made a complaint of sexual discrimination against her."

The University launched a formal investigation - however it found the man was at fault and he was fired.

"I believe it is important for all members of our community to understand that such behaviours have no place in the University," Mr McCutcheon says.

"If they do occur I will not hesitate to authorise appropriate investigatory and disciplinary procedures."

The University told Newshub it is an internal matter and would not comment.