The University of Wollongong’s acceptance of a PhD thesis by an anti-vaccination activist demonstrates an “anti-scientific culture” according to an online petition.
The Change.org petition, which was started on Friday, had already gained close to 1000 signatures by Sunday morning.
It is in response to a thesis by Dr Judy Wilyman –included on the petition’s web page – that claimed the World Health Organisation and the pharmaceutical industry were involved in a conspiracy to push immunisation.
“We ask the Department of Education and Training to take immediate disciplinary action against the University of Wollongong,” the petition stated, “and ask the Department of Health to issue unequivocal condemnation of this travesty.”
The thesis has been criticised by medical researchers and public health advocates.
A University of Wollongong spokesman defended its actions, stating it “supports researchers’ academic freedom of thought and expression”.