An external review has found widespread bullying and "a culture of not resolving issues" at Auckland's AUT University.
University Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack has apologised "to all those past and present who have been subjected to bullying or other forms of harassment", but has not resigned.
The university council said it supports McCormack leading work to change the university's culture "given his unequivocal acceptance of the review findings and recommendations".
Queen's Counsel Kate Davenport, who carried out the review, has also recommended that all AUT students should get compulsory "comprehensive consent training to assist in minimising sexual harassment and consent issues between students".
All AUT managers "need to receive training in leadership", and all AUT staff "need training in appropriate behaviour, how to call out bad behaviour, self-reflection and unconscious bias training, and how to have difficult conversations".
The review was ordered after two top AUT managers, health faculty head Dr Max Abbott and research head Dr Nigel Hemmington, resigned last year after allegations of sexual harassment.
Dr Marisa Paterson, director of the Centre for Gambling Research at Canberra's Australian National University (ANU), laid a complaint against Abbott in August 2019.
Davenport found that "about eight individuals have been identified as having harassed female staff" at AUT.
She said none of them were now employed by AUT, but one case of alleged sexual harassment was still before the Employment Court.
She found that "AUT's dispute/complaints process to resolve harassment and sexual harassment issues is inadequate, its policies and processes on harassment could be improved and that AUT did not sufficiently investigate [Paterson's] complaint".
"Those we saw said (inter alia) that AUT has a culture of not resolving issues, and a complaints procedure that was ineffective because it did not permit the resolution of complaints/concerns other than by facilitated discussion or, alternatively by making a formal complaint procedure with the need to engage lawyers and to prove the allegations made," Davenport said.
"Many felt isolated and that support was lacking from within AUT for the resolution of workplace issues.
"I heard a raft of concerns about the culture of AUT. People told me of bullying, lack of consultation, unresolved conflict, and a lack of faith in the complaints process.
"Bullying was the single issue most frequently complained about. It is unfortunate to observe that while academics are said to be the 'critic and conscience of society', some apply this to their dealings with their colleagues and are rude and badly behaved.
"This behaviour has a significant negative effect on those who receive it and on the happiness of many staff. AUT would be a happier place if all staff could treat others as they wish to be treated."
Davenport said AUT "has had notice of the issue of bullying as it was raised in staff engagement surveys and the annual reports from the Respect in Action co-ordinator for at least four years before this review".
"All these reports identified concerns with harassment/bullying. AUT it took action to address these issues but I did not see significant outward evidence of this response and the staff we saw appeared unaware of these measures," she said.
"More work is needed to address the issues and to communicate changes to be made."
AUT issued a statement saying that the university council and Vice-Chancellor McCormack accept Davenport's findings and are starting work immediately to address the issues she raised.
The key findings of the review are:
• "AUT does not have an ongoing problem with sexual harassment.
• "AUT does have an ongoing issue with bullying within its staff which should be addressed. Bullying of students did not present as an issue.
• "While AUT's policies are adequate they could be improved and streamlined to ensure easier and more transparent access," the statement said.
McCormack said: "In response to these findings, on behalf of the university and personally, I want to apologise to all those past and present who have been subjected to bullying or other forms of harassment.
"As a university, we should have done better and my commitment as vice-chancellor is that we will do better starting today."
The report contains several recommendations for change and independent expert Shayne Mathieson has been engaged to advise and guide their implementation.
McCormack said Mathieson "has enormous experience to share and she will guide our work in response to the review and the programme of work that will begin immediately".
"The Council supports Vice-Chancellor McCormack leading this work given his unequivocal acceptance of the review findings and recommendations," the statement said.
"The vice-chancellor thanked the 405 staff, ex-staff and students who engaged with the review to tell their stories or give their views on important matters for the university."