The Queers United Coalition gathered this morning to demand that Dr. Randal Dull be fired from his position as a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson due to homophobic remarks he wrote in a letter in 2004. This is the second protest the coalition has held regarding Dull.
Protesters gathered in front of the Administration building, chanting “Fire Dr. Dull” and “Fuck Dr. Dull.” The protesters then walked down the UA Mall towards Old Main to drop off letters to UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins.
Multiple students who spoke during the protest said the university is not protecting its students by allowing Dull to remain on campus.
Fenton Johnson, an English professor, voiced his support for the protesters.
“It’s appalling that we are being seen as the kind of institution to allow this language to happen without there being even a request on the part of the administration to Dr. Dull to revisit those remarks and offer us what his explanation is for making those remarks 15 years ago,” Fenton said. “And yet, we have seen nothing but silence.”
Riley Conklin, co-founder of the Queers United Coalition, said during the protest that Robbins needs to hold Dull accountable.
“The fact that Robbins brushed us off and told us to go to Campus Conversations instead of actually addressing the problem is really difficult, it’s really upsetting,” Conklin said to the crowd.
The Black Student Union, who held their own protest last week in solidarity with a victim of a recent reported assault, helped organize logistics for today's rally and came out for support, according to Conklin.*
"Just as we helped them with their protest, they helped us out as well," Conklin said in an email after the protest. "We are very appreciative of them and all they have done for us!"*
Dull stepped down as chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology in August after reported concerns of leadership styles in addition to the letter.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that Dull wrote a letter to the Park City Record in January 2004 . The letter, titled “Keep the queers off the front page,” was a response to a previous article about a gathering space for the LGBTQ+ community.
“The promotion of homosexuality, bisexual confusion, and other degeneracy cannot be tolerated,” Dull said in his letter.
The Star also reported Dr. Gabriel Kleinman, who identifies as gay, left his position working under Dull due to the hostility he was receiving from him.
“It’s going to be a collective effort,” Conklin said. “It’s not just us, not just Queers United that are being ignored by [Robbins]. We’re going to get the whole community involved if we have to. We’re not going to stop, we’re never going to stop until we get justice, until Dr. Dull is fired, until he has no benefits, until all of our demands are fulfilled.”
Dr. Dull addressed the controversy in a statement that was sent out to Health Sciences students.
"I apologize unequivocally for the hurtful way I addressed an issue 15 years ago about which people have very sincerely held thoughts and feelings," Dr. Dull said in the written statement. "I recognize that it's an honor and a privilege to serve as an educator and physician, and I am committed to the values and vision of the University of Arizona and Banner University Medical Center. I always have and will continue to train medical students and residents to provide equitable, compassionate care, and to serve every person and every patient I encounter with dignity and respect."
*This paragraph was added in an update to the original story
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