The air was silent in the Malcolm Moos Health Sciences Tower on Wednesday as onlookers passed a group of about 70 students lying flat on the floor.
The students, from the University of Minnesota's Medical School and School of Public Health, joined students across the country as they staged a "die-in" to protest police brutality and health care disparities.
This demonstration, which follows a similar "die-in" outside of TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation, the students said.
"This is something we have to keep talking about," said second-year Medical School student Jordan Weil. "I went into medicine because I want to be an advocate for my patients, and I don't want to just be slapping band-aids on the end result of violence and distrust."
Students from more than 40 medical schools across the nation, including Harvard University and Johns Hopkins Univeristy, also held a "die-in" on Wednesday to protest the recent jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and New York. In these cases, the juries decided there wasn't enough evidence to indict the police officers whose violence led to the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
As part of the "die-in," the University of Minnesota students also protested health care disparities within minority populations, like American Indians, said fourth-year Medical School student Ryan Wilson.
Wilson said medical and public health professionals hold a special privilege to advocate for all races.
"The health and wellness of every person in this country is on our backs, so the symbolism of our white coats is a testament for that," Wilson said.