Dozens of students at the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) walked out of a Sunday ceremony in protest of the pro-life views of the ceremony’s speaker after the failure of an earlier petition to seek a different speaker.
Some UMMS students made their way to the exits as Dr. Kristin Collier took the stage at the school’s annual White Coat Ceremony. Collier serves as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and the director of the UMMS Program on Health, Spirituality, and Religion, according to her Twitter bio. (RELATED: Lawyers Shouted Down By Yale Students Share Dark Prediction About Free Speech In America)
Footage of the walkout has racked up more than 500,000 likes on Twitter at the time of writing. Collier made a call for unity and healing in the medical field in her speech (see Collier’s speech at timestamp 1:45:52). Collier’s remarks did not address political issues, including abortion, beyond that particular comment.
Incoming medical students walk out at University of Michigan’s white coat ceremony as the keynote speaker is openly anti-abortion pic.twitter.com/Is7KmVV811
— Scorpiio (@PEScorpiio) July 24, 2022
UMMS students tried and failed before the ceremony to replace Collier as the event’s speaker, which celebrates students’ transition into professional medicine. More than 340 current and incoming UMMS students signed a petition urging UMMS to replace Collier with a different speaker. Collier has expressed pro-life views on social media and in interviews, according to the petition.
The petition stated that Collier’s “comments are antithetical to the tenets of reproductive justice as restrictions on abortion affect women of color, other marginalized women, and trans people disproportionately.” (RELATED: Social Justice Activists Disrupt Charles Murray’s Speech At University Of Michigan)
“This is not simply a disagreement on personal opinion; through our demand we are standing up in solidarity against groups who are trying to take away human rights and restrict medical care. We demand that UM stands in solidarity with us,” the petition continued. The signatories also claimed they “support the rights of freedom of speech and religion” in the petition.
UMMS administrators rebuffed the petition, stating Collier deserved the opportunity to speak based on her medical qualifications, and that her speech would not be canceled because of her views about abortion, according to The Michigan Daily.