University Clarifies Stance on Instructor Called Anti-Vaccine

February 20, 2015

Queen's University in Canada announced Thursday that Melody Torcolacci, an instructor accused of teaching scientifically invalid anti-vaccine arguments, would not be returning to teach the health course in which she made the statements, The Globe and Mail reported. But Provost Alan Harrison said that an anti-vaccine PowerPoint used in the class -- prompting student complaints -- may have been taken out of context. He said that the PowerPoint was anti-vaccine, but that he was not sure the same could be said of the class lectures. Nonetheless, he said that the instructor would be returning to teach other courses, not this one.

David Robinson, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed that the association has been limited in its analysis of the case so far. "We’ve weighed in only to say that we need to be cautious about jumping to conclusions on this one," he said. "There is a lot we don’t know, and [we] need to be wary of trial by social media."

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