HomeHealth Care NewsTomorrow’s Doctors Practice ‘Cancel Culture’ - Commentary

Tomorrow’s Doctors Practice ‘Cancel Culture’ – Commentary

By Charles Hilu
Medical students show an allegiance to cancel culture by protesting a member of the faculty for her personal views.

Incoming University of Michigan Medical School students staged a walkout of the school’s White Coat Ceremony to protest the choice of a pro-life doctor as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.

Students previously attempted to pressure the administration to cancel the July 24 speech of Kristin Collier, M.D., a pro-life assistant professor of medicine at the university. They submitted a petition claiming the choice of her as a speaker made them “doubt whether the school will continue to advocate for reproductive rights.”

However, the school’s dean, Marschall Runge, M.D., refused to disinvite her, citing the “critical importance of diversity of personal thought and ideas, which is foundational to academic freedom and excellence.”

Speaker Extends Olive Branch

“I want to acknowledge the deep wounds our community has suffered over the past several weeks,” said Collier as she began her speech, which was not about abortion, apparently referencing the controversy.

“We have a great deal of work to do for healing to occur,” said Collier. “And I hope that for today, for this time, we can focus on what matters most: coming together to support our newly accepted students and their families with the goal of welcoming them into one of the greatest vocations that exist on this earth.”

But some students were apparently not ready to do that, as they walked out of Hill Auditorium, the ceremony’s venue, as soon as Collier was introduced.

Academic Freedom Damaged

On its face, this collective decision by many of the incoming students is inappropriate for civil society and academia.

Whenever one of these incidents occurs, we rightfully lament the damage it does to academic freedom.

Collier’s speech was not political at all, nor was it planned to be. She did not talk about abortion or praise the overturning of Roe v. Wade. She simply gave advice to the students before they entered their profession.

Students wanted to cancel her simply because she publicly expressed pro-life beliefs. They could not stand to hear from a speaker with whom they disagreed, even when she was not espousing those views to them.

Cancel Patients, Next?

We should certainly be concerned about the state of our universities and campus cancel culture, but this incident should mean a lot more.

The White Coat Ceremony is a rite of passage for new medical students. The giving of the coat symbolizes their entry into the medical profession and their readiness to take on the duties that come with it.

One of those duties is to care for patients who may have different political views. If a patient says or believes something with which doctors disagree, they still must care for that person. One cannot be confident they will properly serve this patent if they cannot tolerate beliefs that contradict their own.

No one is asking these med-school students to agree with Collier’s beliefs; they simply have a duty as future physicians, university students, and citizens of a civil society, to respect her right to hold them. They should be ashamed of their actions, and they need to take a moment to seriously reflect on whether they will be able to properly discharge their obligations when they finish medical school.

Otherwise, they contribute to the rot in the academy and degrade the profession of medicine.

 

Charles Hilu (@charleshilu73) is a rising senior studying political science at the University of Michigan and a summer editorial intern at National Review. A version of this article appeared in National Review on July 24.  Reprinted with permission.

See related article, Med Schools Go Full Woke

 

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