This student knew he was going against the grain when he challenged a speaker during a social justice lecture.
But he never imagined it would threaten his dream career as a physician.
Now, he’s been suspended from the school with little hope of returning.
UVA Medical Student Hit with a Year Suspension for Questions During a Microaggression Lecture
Kieran Bhattacharya, a second-year medical student at the University of Virginia, was suspended for allegedly becoming “unnecessarily antagonistic and disrespectful” during a panel lecture on microaggressions.
Bhattacharya asked a series of questions during the Q&A portion of the event that eventually led to his suspension.
Published on SoundCloud, Bhattacharya has released audio recordings of both the classroom incident and the disciplinary hearing.
As can be heard in the recording, beginning at the 28:44 minute mark, Bhattacharya’s questions call out one of the speakers for apparent contradictions.
During the interaction, Bhattacharya began by thanking the panel, and then set out to clarify one of the female speaker’s points.
He asked whether someone needs to be a member of a marginalized community to be the victim of microaggressions.
When the speaker said this wasn’t the case, Bhattacharya responded that in fact she had said just the opposite during her presentation.
“What I had there was kind of the generalized definition,” the speaker said in response, “I extend it beyond that,” before including that “sometimes it’s not a marginalized group.”
Bhattacharya then launched into more questions on the definition of microaggression, asking several follow-up questions to get to his point.
Eventually, the speakers moved on to answer other students in the room and the event ended without incident.
Bhattacharya reports he was later summoned by the University of Virginia’s Academic Standards and Achievement Committee for review.
The hearing lasted 30 minutes, with Bhattacharya repeatedly asking what about his behavior was incorrect.
He says he was criticized for his decision to record the lecture, and repeatedly told that “this aggressive, threatening behavior” must be changed.
After repeatedly asking for examples of his unprofessional behavior, one committee member suggested his decision to record the meeting was an example.
During the hearing, Bhattacharya also raised his concern against an apparent requirement that he seek a psychological evaluation before returning to classes.
Bhattacharya referenced an email he received after the microaggression event where he was told, “[Bhattacharya] you are not cleared to return to class until you have been evaluated by CAPS at the student health service. Do not attend your CPD group today.”
CAPS refers to the Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia.
The events of the hearing are also detailed in a statement he released on Twitter.
After the hearing, Bhattacharya was suspended from the university for one year, which he explains, “ends any chance [he has] of ever practicing medicine.”
Bhattacharya further claims that the university refuses to process his suspension appeal.
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