SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Queen’s University is launching an investigation after students raised concerns online about an instructor who is allegedly promoting anti-vaccination theories in an introductory health course.
Current and former students at the Ontario-based school shared lecture slides and materials said to be from the course “HLTH 102 Physical Determinants of Health,” offered by the university’s school of kinesiology and health studies.
Students said the course, taught by instructor Melody Torcolacci, had been flagged in the past.
In a statement posted on the university’s website, principal and vice-chancellor Daniel Woolf said Wednesday that he’s asked the school provost to work with the Arts and Science department to look into the matter.
“The university is committed to the academic freedom of our faculty members; at the same time, the university expects that faculty members will present intellectually rigorous research and course material and that they will present available scientific evidence objectively and declare their biases,” Woolf said.
He also said that he “became aware of the situation” regarding the course on Wednesday.
Torcolacci did not respond to email and phone requests for comment.
In a description posted online, the course objectives are listed as providing students with “an understanding that many of the different elements you are exposed to through the course of a day could profoundly impact your physical health.”
In a series of tweets, students shared materials they claim were distributed during Torcolacci’s class, including materials that questioned the safety of vaccines, linked the polio vaccine with autism, and warned students to “educate before you vaccinate.”