UCD President Professor Andrew Deeks has apologised to assistant professor Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin and said the college is implementing a range of new and revised measures to address harassment in the workplace.

His statement comes a day after Dr Ní Shúilleabháin spoke publicly about her experience of harassment by a former colleague at the university in an interview with the Irish Times and also posted about it on Twitter.

In a statement, Prof Deeks said: "I am greatly saddened that one of our colleagues experienced such traumatic events over an extended period, and I apologise to Aoibhinn on behalf of UCD. I also apologise to other colleagues and students who have suffered such experiences while in our care."

Prof Deeks said that the college will adopt a zero-tolerance approach throughout the university, covering both students and staff, and that they will encourage those experiencing such behaviour to come forward so they can be supported and steps taken.

"Bullying, harassment, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct have no place in UCD, and we are already working to strengthen our current policies with a number of measures.

"We are proposing a core procedural shift in how such matters are dealt with, which is to establish the option for the university to instigate an investigation in the absence of a formal complaint (currently the university can only investigate where there is a formal complaint)," Prof Deeks said.

"Other measures include a new concept of disclosure with respect to sexual harassment and sexual misconduct and clarifying the relationship between informal and formal internal complaints and complaints to the Garda Síochána," he added.

Dr Ní Shúilleabháin said she had received an apology from the UCD President and would be speaking with him during the week.