MEDICAL students at the University of Michigan walked out of their White Coat Ceremony after Dr Kristin Collier took the stage.
She was serving as a keynote speaker for the event but her views on abortion sparked anger among the students.
Who is Dr Kristin Collier?
Collier is a doctor who serves as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and is the director of the school's Health Spirituality & Religion program.
Before her teaching role, she obtained her medical degree from the University of Michigan and completed her medicine residency at the University of Michigan Health System, according to her biography.
She specializes in primary care and has clinical interests in preventive medicine, depression, and heart disease.
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Collier's biography also states that she enjoys cooking, sports, and spending time with her family.
Why did University of Michigan students walk out of their White Coat Ceremony?
The White Coat Ceremony is a tradition among medical students where they are given their first white coat, signifying their entrance into the medical field.
The ceremony has been described as a rite of passage for medical students, but many were not happy when the school chose Collier as their keynote speaker.
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Students reportedly walked out of the event when Collier walked on stage because she holds strong anti-abortion beliefs.
According to Newsweek, many students felt like the college betrayed its commitment to stand by abortion rights and care following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
"U-M Health remains committed to providing high-quality, safe reproductive care for patients, across all their reproductive health needs," the university said in a statement following the end of Roe.
"This includes abortion care, which remains legal in Michigan while challenges to various state-law criminal statutes continue to proceed."
Prior to the event, over 340 incoming and current University of Michigan medical students signed a petition opposing Collier as the speaker, according to The Michigan Daily.
“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,” the petition read.
“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.”
In a statement to The Michigan Daily, Mary Masson, a Michigan Medicine spokeswoman, said that the school was going to move forward with Collier's speech because of her medical qualifications.
“The University of Michigan does not revoke an invitation to a speaker based on their personal beliefs,” Masson wrote.
“However, the White Coat Ceremony will not be used as a forum to air personal political or religious beliefs; it will focus on welcoming students into the profession of medicine.”
Shortly after students walked out, Collier took to Twitter to comment on the protest, writing: "truly grateful for the support, emails, texts, prayers and letters I’ve received from all over the world regarding the event that will happen today. i feel so bolstered by it. and for my team that have carried me daily thru this —I love you."
Is Kristin Collier married?
When Collier is not practicing medicine, she can be found at home spending time with her husband and sons.
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At this time, details about Collier's family are unclear as they tend to stay out of the spotlight.
However, her family sometimes makes appearances on her Twitter page to over 14,000 followers.
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