In a White Coat Ceremony, which is a formal event in which students are presented with white coats to mark their entry into the field of medicine, students at the University of Michigan Medical School staged a walkout after an anti-abortion doctor took to the stage as the event’s keynote speaker. As soon as Dr. Kristin Collier started her statement, a video of students leaving the ceremony quickly went viral on social media on Sunday, July 24.
The video was shared on the microblogging platform, Twitter with the note, “Incoming medical students walk out at University of Michigan’s white coat ceremony as the keynote speaker is openly anti-abortion.” In less than 10 hours, more than 2.8 million people had viewed the video. Watch the viral video here.
Viral Video of students walking out during anti-abortion doc speech:
In the video, the student walkout was not unexpected because more than 340 students had signed a petition objecting to Dr. Kristin Collier’s as the keynote speaker for the White Coat Ceremony. In addition to the incoming students, 72 community members, including residents, doctors, graduate students, and alumni of Michigan Medicine, are said to have signed the petition.
The petition was signed, according to a report by The Michigan Daily, because Dr. Collier has expressed several anti-abortion opinions on social media and in interviews. The petition claims that “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.”
Suggested Reading: Video Of Woman Fearlessly Saving A Toll Worker During A Truck Crash Goes Viral
Selecting a speaker “whose principles match with institutional policies, students, and the broader medical community” was also requested in the petition to the university.
The university’s dean, Dr. Marschall Runge, reportedly refused to withdraw the invitation due to the “critical necessity of diversity of personal thought and ideas, which is foundational to academic freedom and excellence,” according to a story by National Review. The University also said that The Gold Humanism Honor Society chose Dr. Kristin Collier, because of her “medical qualifications” and the White Coat Ceremony will not serve as a “platform to air personal political or religious convictions,” according to the statement.