Judy Wilyman, the University of Wollongong, and disrepute

Judy Wilyman is studying a PhD at the University of Wollongong. She is studying under the supervision of Professor Brian Martin. She is an anti-vaccination activist.

Wilyman has been bringing the University into disrepute for some time, with activities such as her callous remarks accusing a grieving family conducting their community immunisation advocacy of doing so in exchange for money:  University stands by anti-vaccine student. From Rick Morton’s article:

Vice-chancellor Paul Wellings refused to comment on Ms Wilyman’s ongoing candidature, but a university spokesman said the institution stood by Ms Wilyman because her personal views did not inform her work…

Ms Wilyman has tried to speak to a NSW couple, Toni and Dave McCaffery, who lost their four-week-old daughter, Dana, in 2009 to whooping cough, which she was too young to be vaccinated against.

In June this year Mr McCaffery released a statement begging anti-vaccine movement leader Meryl Dorey and Ms Wilyman to stop using his daughter’s death for their own gain.

Ms Wilyman questioned whether the family had been paid to use their daughter’s death to promote vaccines.

The University has long held back from taking any meaningful action against Wilyman. She continues to use the McCafferys’ name against their wishes. The University is aware of this. Still, nothing.

Another thing Wilyman likes to do is cite the imprimatur of the University, in direct contrast to the statement above by a “university spokesman”.

On her website she directly cites her work at the University, and states that her extra-curricular activities form a part of her PhD:

This website is set up to present an academic debate and it contains arguments that will be presented for the completion of a PhD. Lobby groups have edited my comments on their websites and in media  articles to discredit myself and my research. All of the arguments I am presenting are on this website and have been presented to academics at the university.

Wilyman  website and universityRemember that quote, above: “a university spokesman said the institution stood by Ms Wilyman because her personal views did not inform her work…” That was almost twelve months ago.

In late September 2012 Wilyman had a whine about my posts which addressed her callousness in regard to the McCaffery family. She states this of the University of Wollongong, and their support of her anti-vaccine claims:

This individual (who is hiding behind anonymity) has presented fabricated information about a researcher in an academic institution: a researcher that has the full support of the university to present these scientific arguments.

On May 22 2013 Wilyman sent out an email, again claiming that the University supports her anti-vaccine research:

Here is a link to the evidence for these statements and be assured that the university would not be supporting this research if it was not accurate.

Wilyman May 22 2013 UoW supporting her research

Many people asked @UoWResearch what they thought of this. Here was their reply, in the form of a public statement, issued on May 24 2013:

Wilyman UoW tweet views are her own
One would think that such a public rebuke would guide Wilyman back to the realm of good fortune. It would seem that consistently citing the imprimatur of the University in your anti-vaccine work, where there is none, would be something to avoid. I mean, she got away with it, again. One would not tempt the fates, right? Alas. This is Wilyman World. Everything is possible.

Today we received another work of comedy gold from Wilyman. You really need to read it for yourself. Wilyman sent out an email in which she admits filing an unsuccessful complaint against Media Watch. That’s okay. Anyone can make complaints. We do it often, and successfully, when warranted by substance. Wilyman’s substance was, apparently, tickle-juice. You can read the copy of the ACMA findings, here.

In her email Wilyman makes some bizarre claims. Remember, she is researching at the university. She repeats the vaccines cause autism lie. She has some problems with the language of the host, Jonathan Holmes (ACMA didn’t). After that things disintegrate. The University of Wollongong PhD Candidate internet researcher states:

The Council for Media Integrity in Australia was set up by an organisation called the Skeptics in  1996. This organisation has many subscribers who are discrediting academic researchers and providing misinformation on  vaccines to the public. This evidence is described here [her list of meaners].

See, now, here’s the thing. There is no “Council for Media Integrity in Australia”. It wasn’t set up by “an organisation called the Skeptics” (it is an educational outreach program in the US set up by CSICOP). And, I’m guessing this is what she is getting at, this has nothing to do with Australian Skeptics Inc. I mean, they all look the same, right? They all sound shadowy and suppressive.

But there is one more pertinent point I would like to highlight which is more in line with this post. In this email Wilyman again cites the University of Wollongong, this time in the same sentence as her vaccines cause autism lie:

The scientific literature provides overwhelming  evidence that it is possible for the combination of childhood vaccines that are recommended by governments to be a cause of  autism and other chronic illness in children. This is the reason why I have spent the last 5 years presenting you with this researched information from the university.

Oh really? Over to you, University of Wollongong. How long do your past, present, and future academics need to have their reputations sullied by the claims of an anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist who can’t even Google?

How much is enough disrepute?

About reasonable hank

I’m reasonable, mostly.

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21 Responses to Judy Wilyman, the University of Wollongong, and disrepute

  1. tuxcomputers says:

    I feel sorry for Sian, she went to that University.

  2. I feel sorry for anyone who has a degree from, or works at, UoW at the moment. Apart from Ms Wilyman’s supervisor and the Social Science Faculty. They are a bit of a joke at the moment.

    • wzrd1 says:

      I’ll say. If I see any CV’s with UoW for a degree, those will end up in file 13. At this point, I can not trust that university to provide a proper education to the students.

      • Kris says:

        That’s OK, I wouldn’t send a CV to someone who uses an apostrophe for a plural. Save us both the trouble.

      • Sian Morton says:

        As a very active, and dare I say informed, UOW graduate and pro-vaccination advocate, who also knows where to put my apostrophes (but perhaps not my commas) I am heartily sick of being tarred with the same brush.

  3. Maddy says:

    I can’t believe Wilyman put that material out in the universe herself … I suppose she _did_ read it before she released it.

  4. Trevor says:

    What an idiot.

  5. Jo Alabaster says:

    Well, at least UoW are making my university (RMIT, who offer dodgy chiro and TCM degrees) look credible by comparison.

  6. Andy says:

    My son leaves school at the end of this year and he asked how he would go about starting a career in comedy. I’ve advised him to move to Woolongong.

  7. @advodiaboli says:

    You’d think UoW would rate the notion of Truth in Academia very highly, such that Wilyman would be challenged to present exemplary evidence for her anti-vaccine position/s. Arguing that it is her own opinion and thus not their problem is unsustainable given her reliance on “research from the university”.

    But it’s also clear that a top down relationship exists between her research claims/conclusions and the fact she’s nurturing these views at UoW. There is a fundamental flaw in how she deals with information and formulates arguments. Falsehoods are manufactured and evidence is denied.

    UoW are essentially failing her as a student by not correcting the mechanics of an ongoing intellectual disaster. Wilyman and her supervisor Brian Martin are happy to challenge the validity of the scientific method (“the dominant paradigm”).

    Given the scale of her claims and the importance of the topic of vaccination, Judy Wilyman should focus all attention on established facts and demonstrable evidence. UoW should strive for academic excellence and honesty from both staff and students.

    • Kris says:

      Everyone I know and have spoken to at the uni about this is embarrassed and pissed off about Judy Wilyman continuing to use the uni’s name on her website and in her ravings.
      Rest assured that there are people at the uni who ARE working to get the university to act.

    • I think this is a key point. Not only the university, but also her dissertation chair, are failing her by not fostering critical thinking skills nor even providing advice on how to present an argument in a professional manner.

      In my view, the university’s biggest problem is that it seems they have now embroiled themselves in a Catch-22 situation. One the one hand, they will have a big problem once she graduates (if that ever happens; she seems to have been a “PhD candidate” for ages now), as she will forever carry the name of their University as part of her credentials.

      On the other hand, were they to boot her out of the University or tell her to stop using their name in her missives, she becomes a martyr to the anti-vax cause, and most likely the university would face massive blowback from individuals who think that universities should allow anyone in their employ to say anything they want, any time they want. The Ward Churchill case in the US comes to mind.

      • Kris says:

        Yeah I think it’s a damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation. “I got kicked out of my UOW PhD for exposing the TROOOOF!!!2!!#$!” holds just as much cache with the anti-vax crowd (more, really, when you think about it) than the fact that it’s because she’s been utterly unethical in using their name and also her PhD status.

        And her supervisor is Brian Martin, who has gone in to bat for the AVN on numerous occasions.

        • Sue says:

          He appears to be the Chair of Whistleblowerology. Unwilywoman’s agenda sems to right up his alley. “How the heroic dissenter is crushed under the boot of expertism.” As a theoretical physicist in an Arts faculty, I guess he feels at home.

  8. John says:

    If anyone presents to me with a resume citing a UOW education, I shall henceforth not even consider them for a job.

  9. Pingback: Judy Wilyman has no clothes | reasonablehank

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