Ian Shanahan Lecturer,
Department of Music
University of Western Sydney (Nepean)
PO Box 10
Kingswood NSW 2747
Phone (Home) – (02)9871 4282 ISD 61-2-9871 4282
Phone (Work) – (047)360 877 ISD 61-47-360 877
FAX (Work) – (047)360 166 ISD 61-47-360 166
(details lifted from public web page here)
From The Age
Tickler loses unfair dismissal bidJuly 6, 2004 – 5:05PM
The industrial umpire has rejected a claim of unfair dismissal by a university music teacher who was sacked for lifting up female students and tickling them.
Ian Leslie Shanahan, a part-time music teacher and composer, was sacked by the University of Western Sydney last year for serious misconduct.
A disciplinary committee found he had lifted female students onto his shoulders and tickled them on three occasions in August and September 2002.
He was also alleged to have smacked another student on the buttocks, and told her that “if things don’t work out between you and your fiance, you know where to come”.
The incidents followed several warnings by the university for Shanahan to “maintain a professional distance” from his students, and avoid “inappropriate behaviour”.
Shanahan disputed the committee’s ruling and went to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) demanding to be reinstated.
He denied “lifting and tickling” the students, and the smacking allegation.
But the AIRC this week upheld Shanahan’s dismissal, finding the evidence against him was compelling, and that “lifting and tickling female students” was improper conduct for a university lecturer.
“High standards are required of those in positions of trust,” AIRC senior deputy president Rob Cartwright said.
“Such conduct is, in my view, unacceptable and constitutes serious misconduct…”
He said the other findings of inappropriate conduct by Shanahan compounded the seriousness of his behaviour.
Citing evidence from Shanahan’s psychiatrist, senior deputy president Cartwright said the teacher’s inability to recall the incidents might be explained by a difficulty in recalling events during periods of hypomania.
However, he said he was not convinced this was the case.