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U of U medical student group demands the school cut ties with law enforcement
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U of U medical student group demands the school cut ties with law enforcement

(Photo: Jay Dortzbach, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY – A medical student group at the University of Utah are calling on the school to do a better job ending racism within the school of medicine.  They’re demanding the school take action, and some of those demands may raise a few eyebrows.

The medical student group White Coats For Black Lives handed their list of demands to the dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine and to University Health CEO Dr. Michael Good. The first demand has to do with campus safety. 

They say there is a total lack of trust between the students and campus police, so they’re demanding the school cut all ties to law enforcement, which include the U of U Police Department and ICE. 

They’re also telling school officials to cut all funding for campus policing and give that money to programs supporting black, indigenous and people of color in crisis.

Group Spokesperson Madison Kieffer clarified that it doesn’t mean they don’t want a public safety plan.  They just believe it should be coordinated by a different agency.

(Students protesting the death of George Floyd before handing their demands to university officials. Credit: Jay Dortzbach, KSL TV)

Kieffer says, “That’s what we’re seeking to address in the coming months, coming up with a plan for that.”

Other demands include…

  • An “over-representation” of Black, Latin, Native American and Pacific Islander students accepted into the college in 2021, including financial support for those new students.
  • Release racial information about every student and faculty member who interacts with officers.
  • Create a clear policy for students and faculty subjected to racism.
  • Increase funding dedicated to students of color by at least 50 percent.
  • Provide mandatory implicit bias training.
  • Improve instruction on how racism impacts public health.
  • Research the names of historical figures the buildings are named after, then remove those names if the person supported white supremacist causes.

 

Hypothetically, if the university refuses to meet these demands from the medical student group, then what?  Kieffer is optimistic that the school will at least hear them out.

She says, “We’re hopeful that our demands will be accepted, especially with the University of Utah School of Medicine’s public statement that they will not tolerate racism,” Kieffer says.

University officials say they haven’t had enough time to review the list of demands, but Spokesperson Kathy Wilets says they specifically asked students for their input on eliminating racism.

“Our medical school leadership and our CEO, Dr. Michael Good, are going to take a thorough look and get back the students within two weeks with a response,” she says.  “A lot of what the students requested, some of that work is already in progress.”