The University of Tasmania has apologised for what it's described as a failure to protect people, following an independent review into the tenure of former vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen.
Professor Rathjen served in the role at UTAS from 2011 to 2017, after which he went on to become the vice-chancellor of the University of Adelaide, a position he held from 2018 until July this year.
Melbourne-based barrister Maree Norton's review into Professor Rathjen's time at the helm of UTAS identified 11 complaints, with three directly relating to the former vice-chancellor himself.
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On Friday, UTAS chancellor Michael Field responded to Ms Norton's review saying the university regretted that its processes had not adequately protected its people.
"We are deeply sorry for the distress these failures have caused," he said. "We will provide whatever support we can to those who've suffered as a result of our failure."
The review made seven recommendations, all of which the university accepted and committed to adopting by July 1, 2021. Ms Norton was not asked to investigate any of the complaints, however, complainants have the opportunity to request the university to formally investigate their claims.
National Tertiary Education Union Tasmanian division secretary Perpetua Turner said the union was "not surprised" by the outcome of the review.
"We've known from our members and from staff that in the previous vice-chancellor's time there was some behaviour that was not concurrent with the university's values," she said. "It's rather disappointing that this investigation took a long time to happen."
The review was launched in September, after South Australia's Independent Commissioner Against Corruption found that Professor Rathjen engaged in "entirely inappropriate conduct" after a University of Adelaide function, showing "egregious disrespect" towards two female university staff.
Professor Rathjen responded to the ICAC's findings in a statement, apologising to the women but saying the inquiry had been "procedurally inadequate".
"I deeply regret the distress and embarrassment that I caused two female staff members after a university function in Sydney in April 2019," he said at the time, adding that the university had investigated what had happened and found that it didn't constitute "serious misconduct".
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