A top AUT academic accused of sexual harassment has resigned from his role.

AUT's Dean of the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences Professor Max Abbott has resigned with immediate effect.

"Given recent media publicity and reactions of some to it, I have concluded that continuing in my role as Dean of the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at AUT is presently untenable and would not be in the best interests of the University," a statement from Abbott said.

"Accordingly, and reluctantly given my past 29 years in the positions and commitment to it, I resign from it with immediate effect."


In a statement, AUT vice chancellor Derek McCormack said he accepted Abbott's resignation on Friday.

Abbott would continue as a professor at the university.

His resignation comes after Dr Marisa Paterson, director of the Centre for Gambling Research at Canberra's Australian National University (ANU), laid a complaint against Abbott last August.

The complaint detailed allegations of "prolonged and persistent stalking, sexual harassment, physical harassment and bullying" by Abbott over a two-year period.

Dr Marisa Paterson. Photo / Supplied
Dr Marisa Paterson. Photo / Supplied

McCormack said it was essential that all staff and students have full confidence in its approaches to preventing and dealing with harassment.

"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's not the case."

McCormack said he understood media coverage of the sexual harassment allegations had raised concerns, but he said claims that AUT had not investigated the allegation were untrue.

"The substantive remedies sought by ANU on behalf of the staff member were met and communicated to them."


He said he had been seeking specific information from ANU about their concerns and allegations that they had not investigated the complaint since December, but had not had a response.