Associate Professor sets record straight on uni disrobing

SUNSHINE Coast University Associate Professor Lainie Cameron has corrected errors in an article published under the headline "Sunshine Coast Uni tutor strips down to her bra and panties".

In a letter to the Sunshine Coast Daily, Assoc Prof Cameron points out several errors and inconsistencies in the article.

The Sunshine Coast Daily accepts the corrections by Assoc Prof Cameron and apologises to her and the university for any embarrassment caused by the inaccuracies in the report.

Statement to the Sunshine Coast Daily

Kristy Muir's article "Tutor's strip tactics shock class" published on the front page of the Sunshine Coast Daily (SDC) print newspaper and online on Saturday 20 October 2012, is erroneous and sensationalist (published online as "Sunshine Coast Uni tutor strips down to her bra and panties").

Inaccuracies commence in the headlines and continue throughout the article. I make this statement to correct the details of the matter, so that it can be understood in context.

The subject mentioned is SPX303 Exercise Management in Chronic Diseases, scheduled for 4th year Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Science students only.

In 2012 there are 15 students enrolled in this subject. SCD claimed "More than 30 students witnessed the display", an impossible assertion given the enrolment numbers.

These students will soon graduate to work as exercise physiologists in hospitals, community health, and private practice settings where they will need to undertake physical examinations of their clients.

In demonstrating to students the extent of disrobing required to conduct an examination of the shoulder girdle, I removed my shirt only, and a student conducted the examination on me while I provided feedback to him and to the class about the examination process.

Once the examination was complete I put my shirt back on, and directed the class to pair up to practise the same procedures on each other.

I did indeed say that "I would never ask students to do something that I am not prepared to do myself", and then demonstrated exactly what I was asking students to do. This event occurred in week 3 of the semester.

Students were notified in week 1 that physical examination and necessary disrobing would be part of the subject content.

An introductory palpation exercise that did not require disrobing, but did require that students touch each other, was undertaken in class in week 2. A secure classroom that could not be viewed into was booked for classes in weeks 3 and 4 when physical examination practicals were undertaken.

I removed my shirt for not more than 20 minutes in the week 3 class only. Towels were provided for students to drape each other for modesty while still allowing sufficient exposure of skin necessary for clinical examination.

I did not disrobe at all in the week 4 class because by that stage of the semester, I had broken the ice with students over this potentially sensitive matter.

SCD ran headlines that my "strip tactics" to my "bra and panties" shocked my class, denoting an attitude of exhibitionism, and that I removed much more clothing than was actually the case.

Further, the claim that I taught for "more than an hour" in a state of undress is a gross inflation of the time required for a fundamental physical examination.

These factual errors in reporting the size of the class and the extent and duration of my disrobing lead me to dispute that the complainant, who wishes to remain anonymous, was actually "attending the tutorial" as SCD asserted.

All students have been offered opportunities to provide feedback on my teaching, in both identified and anonymous formats. No student raised concerns about my conduct during the class.

No formal or informal complaint was lodged with me or with university management by any SPX303 student during or following this class.

SCD ran the story at the end of week 11 of the semester, when the matter was no longer contemporaneous. All 15 students enrolled in this class have stated that the complaint did not come from them.

By naming me, yet remaining anonymous and simultaneously falsely purporting to be a member of this class, the complainant has done considerable damage to the trust cultivated among my students.

Students' enrolments in any given semester can be verified through the sighting of university documentation.

By failing to check the veracity of claims made of a source, such that he was a student in a particular class, the Sunshine Coast Daily has done damage to a positive learning environment, undermined my work, and compromised the collegiality of the student group.

I request that the Sunshine Coast Daily print a retraction of this article, both in print and online, apologise to me and to the students enrolled in SPX303 this semester, and undertake to make reasonable attempts to verify all future sources before running highly sensationalised stories.

Associate Professor Lainie Cameron
Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Discipline Leader, Sport and Exercise Science
University of the Sunshine Coast


ORIGINAL STORY: A SUNSHINE Coast university teacher who stripped down to her underwear during a tutorial will not be disciplined.

A student at the University of the Sunshine Coast lodged a formal complaint after his tutor spent more than an hour teaching in her bra and panties.

The student, who was attending a tutorial in exercise management in chronic disease, said he considered the behaviour "inappropriate", "disgraceful" and "unprofessional".

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Birgit Lohmann has investigated the incident and says it is "standard practice in clinical training".

THE male student, who wished to remain anonymous, said Melainie (Lainie) Cameron, Associate Professor of Clinical Exercise Physiology and Discipline Leader, Sport and Exercise, should have brought in a model to demonstrate her point.

He recalled his teacher saying, "I am not going to get my students to do something I wouldn't do".

More than 30 students witnessed the display.

"There is no reason for the lecturer to disrobe at all," he said.

"We shouldn't have to see our middle-aged teacher's female anatomy.

"This should not be a standard of teaching.

"You don't go to your doctor's surgery and have the physician demonstrate what he wants you to do.

"There is no discipline which should force you to see something like this. Art students don't paint their teachers."

Professor Lohmann said the university had considered the matter and found the academic had acted appropriately.

"This is standard practice in clinical training, which requires the disrobing of patients for examinations.

"The demonstration was delivered to students who are about to enter the workforce as qualified clinicians.

"It is presented to ensure that students understand how to treat any patient who is required to disrobe with respect and dignity."

The concerned USC student said a review should be conducted into what is deemed appropriate teaching and learning standards.

"I am shocked by the response from the university," he said.

"It is sending the wrong message and setting a dangerous precedent."

The university's code of conduct, available online, states all staff are required to promote the integrity of the university by showing respect towards all persons, including other staff, students and the general public.

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