University of Michigan medical students walked out on a speech Sunday by an antiabortion speaker during their “white coat day” to mark the start of medical school.
Images on Twitter show the walkout.
In the weeks before the speech, students petitioned to have the speaker changed. The speaker was Kristin Collier, an assistant professor at the medical school. She has spoken out many times against abortion.
“While we support the rights of freedom of speech and religion, an anti-choice speaker as a representative of the University of Michigan undermines the University’s position on abortion and supports the non-universal, theology-rooted platform to restrict abortion access, an essential part of medical care,” said the petition. “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.”
MLive reported that a medical school spokeswoman said (before the walkout), “As with all Michigan Medicine White Coat ceremonies, the focus of the speaker is to welcome students into the medical profession, recognizing their achievements and the new journey they will undertake. The ceremony is not a forum to express personal political or religious beliefs.”
In her speech, Collier did not discuss abortion.