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Melody Torcolacci won't be teaching Queen's students about vaccines next year

02/19/2015 12:50 EST | Updated 04/21/2015 05:59 EDT
A Queen's University professor who included anti-vaccination information in her course will not be teaching it next year, an official at the Kingston, Ont., university says.

Students complained Melodie Torcolacci’s Health 102 course included slides containing unsubstantiated claims about vaccination risks, which sparked an investigation earlier this month by the university’s provost Alan Harrison.

"As a result of my information-gathering, which included comments from students actually in the class, I am not able to state unequivocally that the instructor’s sole intention was to present the case against vaccination. Many who were not at the lectures, and saw only the slides, asserted that this was her intention; when reviewing the slides, one is able to understand how they reached this conclusion," Harrison wrote Thursday in the Queen's Gazette, the university's official newspaper.

The director of the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and Torcolacci "have agreed that a different instructor will be assigned to HTLH 102 when it is next offered."

Harrison said departmental and university staff will work with Torcolacci before the next academic year to ensure when she returns to teaching, her courses will be presented in a way that it is "intellectually rigorous, that any scientific evidence is presented objectively, and that personal biases are declared."

Torcolacci requested and was granted leave from Health 102 and then a leave from the university until April 30.

Torcolacci is a former national champion shot putter and Queen's track coach.

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