PhD student told he can’t defend thesis while dressed as a pirate
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PhD student told he can’t defend thesis while dressed as a pirate

PhD student told he can’t defend thesis while dressed as a pirate

In possibly the strangest news you will hear this week: Delft University of Technology has refused to allow a student to defend his PhD thesis in pirate attire.

The student in question is 38-year-old geohydrologist Michael Afanasyev who claims to be a Priest of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

According to Dutch News, the ‘Pastafarian’ accused the university of discrimination. When the university refused to listen, Afanasyev decided to take his case to the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights.

Dressing as a pirate is an important part of the faith. Their website claims: “Pirates play an important role in religion. According to the Pastafari, the followers of the faith, they are divine beings. Global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters are all direct consequences of the declining number of pirates since 1800.”

The student is not one to give up when it comes to his religion. Afanasyev previously won the battle to wear a colander in his Israeli passport photograph. Colanders are considered “a sacred object” by the faith.

“We put it on our heads,” the website claims, “to honor God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster .”

Speaking with VolskrantAfanasyev said: “Muslims can wear head scarves on their passport pictures for religious motives and Sikhs can wear turbans. [Then] it would be logical for us to wear a colander to honour our god, his noodly appendage.”

While some have reacted with amusement, there were concerns that the student was making a mockery of other religions. The university has yet to comment on the matter.

Dutch News reported that therefore, “participants [should] wear suitable clothing.”

It was also reported that a PhD candidate from the university who specialised in robotics had brought a robot to the ceremony. Allegedly this was allowed because the robot was “wearing a bow tie for the occasion”.

The case will go to the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights tomorrow (Nov 21).

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