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Protesters call for the removal of professor over homophobic comments

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Lexi Horsey | The Daily Wildcat Students at the LGBTQ protest on the University of Arizona campus on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

The Queers United Coalition held a protest this morning calling for the removal of Dr. Randal Dull from his position as a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. Dull recently came under criticism for making homophobic slurs in a letter to a newspaper in 2004 and stepped down from his position as chairman of the department. 

Protesters gathered in the brick courtyard in front of the Administration building. University of Arizona students from the coalition wrote in chalk “Fire Dr. Dull” and other phrases on the ground. Students held up signs with similar demands and chanted phrases like “Out of the closet and into the streets.” 

Riley Conklin, a political science and public management and policy student, and other members of the coalition took to the megaphone to give a speech while students walked past. Conklin explained the severity of the situation to a crowd of onlookers.

“We want Dr. Dull gone," Conklin said. "Queer United Coalition is not going to stop until he is. There is no room for negotiation. If the U of A can make a whole community of queer and trans folks scared overnight, then they can fire a doctor overnight. It’s not that hard. They need to be held accountable for their actions and we are not going to stop until they do."  

Dull’s controversial comments towards the LGBTQ+ community resurfaced recently. A letter that was written to the Park Record in January 2004 was uncovered by the Arizona Daily Star. The letter was written in response to a story about the Queer Lounge, a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community. In the letter, Dull referred to members of the LGBTQ+ community as "perverts" and "degenerates." 

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According to the Star, Dr. Gabriel Kleinman, who is gay, left his position as an anesthesiologist at the UA because of the hostile work environment Dull created. He alleged that he was repeatedly treated with hostility from Dull, pushing him to resign. This past August, Dull stepped down as chairman of the UA Department of Anesthesiology due to the claims of hostile behavior toward coworkers. 

The coalition demanded Dull be removed from staff due to the comments in the letter and treatment of Kleinman. They argue that Dull is a danger to students and patients that are members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

At the protest, students were allowed time to speak their mind to the crowd gathering in front of the Administration building. Some students talked about feeling unsafe on campus because of their sexual orientation, while others talked about their distaste for Dull. 

“I feel like this guy should be punished,"  economics student Eduardo Estrella said. "That’s not a right thing to say." 

Estrella had heard of the protest and went to listen. He had not heard of Dull’s homophobic slurs before the protest.  

“It denies their humanity," Estrella said. "They exist and they have a right to exist however they want and calling them degenerates is mean."

After the students were done with their speeches, members of the coalition and interested crowd members formed a line and quietly walked to President Dr. Robert C. Robbins’ office in Old Main to leave a letter at his door. 

The protest ended in in front of Old Main with protesters chanting “Hey hey, ho ho transphobia has got to go.”


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