May 9, 2014: Vigil, Protest Actions, and Public Statements on the Tenth Anniversary of the Death of Dan Markingson

On May 9, 2014, Students for a Democratic Society and the local student chapter of Physicians for Human Rights held a vigil to remember the tenth anniversary of the suicide of Dan Markingson. Speakers at the vigil included Eden Almasude, a medical student at the university; Mike Howard a family friend of Dan Markingson’s mother, Mary Weiss; Carl Elliott, and me. The speakers commemorated Dan Markingson’s death and called for an investigation of allegations of psychiatric research misconduct.

Following the vigil outside McNamara Center there was a protest at the Board of Regents’ public meeting. Campus security guards blocked student protestors attempting to deliver a coffin to the Board of Regents. Following this symbolic action, over twenty protestors interrupted the meeting. Each of them carried a single white flower to mark the ten-year anniversary of Markingson’s death. Regents were presented with the flowers. As the protestors moved through the room, Richard Beeson, Chair of the Board of Regents, demanded that they return to their seats or face expulsion from the room.

In remarks delivered to the Regents, I asked, “Are you prepared for what a thorough investigation of psychiatric trials here might find?… Are you ready for the possibility of multiple lawsuits brought by victims of psychiatric research misconduct?”

Carl Elliott, “Forget it Jake. It’s Dinkytown,” Fear and Loathing in Bioethics, May 7, 2014.

Alex Friedrich, “Vigil to recall U drug trial patient’s death; students demand thorough inquiry,” MPR News, May 9, 2014.

Alex Friedrich, “U regents hear grad student woes, drug-trial worries,” MPR News, May 9, 2014.

Carl Elliott, “How to Exploit a Patient With Mental Illness,” Remarks Delivered at the May 9 Vigil for Dan Markingson, Fear and Loathing in Bioethics, May 11, 2014.

Leigh Turner, Statement to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents (video), University of Minnesota Board of Regents Public Session, May 9, 2014. The text of the statement is available as, “Are you ready for the possibility of multiple lawsuits brought by victims of psychiatric research misconduct?” Fear and Loathing in Bioethics, May 10, 2014.

Carl Elliott, “UMN student protestors are blocked by campus security from delivering a coffin to the Board of Regents,” (Video posted at Fear and Loathing in Bioethics, May 10, 2014.

Blair Emerson, “Upcoming tuition hikes irk students; At a forum on Friday, protestors also commemorated the ten-year anniversary of Dan Markingson’s death,” Minnesota Daily, May 10, 2014.

Carl Elliott, “Are You Ready for Multiple Lawsuits by Victims of Psychiatric Research Misconduct?” Mad in America, May 18, 2014.

Eden Almasude, Matthew Boynton, Carl Elliott, and Leigh Turner, “Ethics issues in U of M psychiatric studies: What does it take to get Regents’ attention?” MinnPost, May 29, 2014.

Eden Almasude, “A Medical Student’s Call for Action Against Research Misconduct,” Bioethics Forum, June 3, 2014.

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