UCLA Med Students Pushed Into Praying to Mother Earth

Written by Christopher Allen.

A course at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) took an unexpected turn for first-year medical students. They were instructed to participate in a ritual honoring “mama earth” during a mandatory lecture on “structural racism.”

An Unconventional Approach to Education

During this session, guest speaker Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia led the class in what was described as a “non-secular prayer.” The act of bowing down to the earth and a chant for “Free, Free Palestine” marked a significant deviation from the medical curriculum’s usual focus.

Questionable Tactics in Academic Settings

The involvement of Gray-Garcia, known for controversial views, including praise for actions by Hamas, introduces a politically charged atmosphere into what is typically a neutral academic environment. The instruction for students to engage in these practices, coupled with the use of terms like “crapatalist” to describe capitalism, pushes the boundaries of educational content.

Concerns of Coercion and Intimidation

The incident raised alarms not only for the content but for the manner in which students were pressured to participate. Reports indicate that students felt compelled to join in, with hints of potential repercussions for those who chose to abstain, highlighting issues of free thought and expression within the university.

The Broader Implications for Academic Freedom

The reaction from UCLA’s Jewish Faculty Resilience Group, calling attention to the intimidation faced by students, underscores the tension between academic freedom and the imposition of specific ideologies. This scenario raises questions about the balance universities must maintain between educating students and respecting their individual beliefs and rights.

Our Take

The events at UCLA represent a concerning trend in higher education, where ideological conformity is sometimes prioritized over academic integrity and freedom. Education should foster an environment of open inquiry and respect for diverse viewpoints, not compel students into participation that conflicts with their personal beliefs. This situation serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and advocacy for academic freedom and the rights of students to engage in their education free from coercion or intimidation.

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