The University of Minnesota Medical School application includes an optional question that asks students to share their “lessons learned” about “systemic racism” in the wake of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks’s deaths.
“Right now is a watershed moment in American history and this country’s reckoning with race, racism, racial injustice, and especially anti-black hatred,” the question on the application, obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation, read.
“If you feel comfortable, we welcome you to please share with us your reflections on, experiences with, and greatest lessons learned about systemic racism that is receiving international attention with the murders of numerous Black, Indigenous, and People of Color including but not limited to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Vanessa Guillen, Rayshard Brooks, and Elijah McClain,” the question concluded.
University of Minnesota spokesperson Katrinna Dodge confirmed the presence of the question on the application to the DCNF, saying it is one of four optional short-answer prompts. Dodge said the question is on the application to provide insight into the applicant’s “sociocultural humility,” but that an answer or non-answer will not result in acceptance or rejection. (RELATED: Here’s How College Professors And Students Are Trying To Stop ICE From Deporting International Students)
“Committee members can use the responses to supplemental questions, and several other parts of the application, to inform their evaluation of sociocultural humility,” Dodge told the DCNF in an email.
“This seeks to identify evidence of a candidate’s ability to treat others with respect, interact with others from diverse backgrounds, recognize bias, adjust behavior in response to others’ needs, and their awareness of how sociocultural factors impact diverse groups of people,” she said in her initial response.
“Upon graduation and residency, this will help prepare our students to provide the best care to patients from all walks of life,” Dodge added.
“[A]n application cannot be rejected based on choosing not to answer this question or based on how it may be answered,” she said.
Dodge responded, “A single answer to a question does not equate to acceptance or rejection in the application process. The University utilizes a holistic review process, that as I previously stated, includes an applicant’s academic performance, recommendation letters, scope of post-secondary experiences, responses to supplemental questions, and an on-site interview to evaluate the applicant.”
Breonna Taylor, who was also mentioned in the application question, was shot and killed by police in her home in March. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen was found dead after being reported missing from Fort Hood and Elijah McClain died after police restrained him using a chokehold.
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