The University of Wollongong has been slammed for accepting a PhD thesis by an anti-vaccination activist.
The thesis by Dr Judy Wilyman claims the World Health Organisation and the pharmaceutical industry have been involved in a conspiracy to push immunisation.
Several medical researchers and public health advocates have criticised the thesis, with calls for it to be sent to UOW’s academic board for review.
A UOW spokesman defended its position, stating that it ‘’supports researchers’ academic freedom of thought and expression’’.
‘’UOW does not restrict the subjects into which research may be undertaken just because they involve public controversy or because individuals or groups oppose the topic or the findings,’’ the spokesman said.
‘’UOW does not endorse the individual views of its academics or students.’’
The spokesman said the university recognised the importance of ‘’open and respectful public policy debate to the preservation of a free and democratic society’’.
He said all UOW PhD theses were assessed by at least two external examiners with ‘’unchallengeable’’ knowledge in the field of study.
Dr Wilyman’s thesis was entitled ‘A critical examination of the Australian government's rationale for its vaccination policy’.
The Mercury has contacted Dr Wilyman and the supervisor of her thesis, UOW Professor Brian Martin, for comment.