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University of Auckland staff member fired for trying to shake hands with Muslim student

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The ousted staff member filed a complaint of sexual discrimination against her after she refused to shake his hand.

A newsletter from vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon directed to all university staff said the academic had tried to shake her hand with the knowledge that it would be inappropriate.

“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,” the statement read.

A formal investigation had established his behavior had amounted to “serious misconduct”.

“However, I believe it is important for all members of our community to understand that such behaviors have no place in the University and that if they do occur I will not hesitate to authorize appropriate investigatory and disciplinary procedures.”

The University of Auckland Muslim Students Association issued a statement that it condemned any kind of non-consensual behavior towards a person.

“Not only do we think every individual should have the right to religious and cultural freedom, but we think every person is entitled to bodily integrity.

“We want every Muslim student to feel safe and comfortable on campus and incidents like this undermine that.”

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