Medical students tried to cancel Kristin Collier before walking out of her speech

Medical students and alumni at the University of Michigan petitioned to remove Dr. Kristin Collier from her role as Keynote Speaker at this year’s White Coat Ceremony.

After the petition failed, numerous students left the event when Collier took the stage.

Medical students at the University of Michigan staged a walkout at the university's July 24 white coat ceremony in opposition to this year’s pro-life keynote speaker Dr. Kristin Collier.

Collier is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the University of Michigan Medical School Program on Health, Spirituality & Religion. She was selected to speak at the medical school’s 2022 White Coat Ceremony.

After learning that Collier upholds pro-life valuesnumerous medical students and alumni started a petition in hopes of removing Collier as keynote speaker, because of her “anti-choice” social media presence. 

[RELATED: Students want to remove Clarence Thomas from law school teaching position]

“We, the undersigned current and incoming medical students at the University of Michigan Medical School implore the University of Michigan Medical School administration to choose an alternative keynote speaker at this year’s White Coat Ceremony. Dr. Kristin Collier has shared multiple anti-choice posts on her public social media and has made similar comments in interviews,” the petition reads.

According to the petition, 91.7% of respondents voted that they were against Collier speaking at the event. 

57% of respondents said that they would consider boycotting the event if Collier was not removed from the keynote speaker position. 

The petition garnered 420 signatures, with 248 coming from current University of Michigan students. 

However, the University of Michigan’s spokesperson, Rick Fitzgerald, told Campus Reform in a July 15 email, prior to the event, that the petition would have no effect on the ceremony. 

“Kristin Collier, M.D., was chosen as the keynote speaker for the 2022 White Coat Ceremony based on nominations and voting by members of the U-M Medical School Gold Humanism Honor Society, which is comprised of medical students, house officers and faculty,” Fitzgerald said.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Conservative student group loses faculty advisor, club status after pro-life Instagram posts]

He added, “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 response to the school’s refusal to remove Collier as the 2022 keynote speaker, numerous students staged a walkout when she took to the podium.

The viral Twitter video shows many students leaving the auditorium in protest of Collier’s personal views. 

The majority of students, however, stay and listen to the keynote speaker’s speech. 

Campus Reform spoke with U-M student Alexander Penucevski, who called out his classmates for attempting to strip her of her role in the ceremony.

“I cannot agree with the petitioners,” Penicevski told Campus Reform. “By bringing up her personal positions on political issues and citing them as a basis for her being stripped of her presentation honours, they are making this an inherently political issue.”

He continued to say, “[T]he fact that the University takes stances on political issues in the first place is inherently antithetical to the whole ethos and point of what a university- and especially a public university- should be: a place where free discourse allows people to form their own opinions and parse out what is truth.”

Campus Reform reached out to Michigan Medicine for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. Dr. Collier chose not to comment. 

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