Professor in Utah told not to give fake urine to students

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Brigham Young University physiology professor will no longer be offering students the chance to drink what they think is real urine as part of a class demonstration.

Assistant professor Jason Hansen has been told to just explain the lesson next time rather than offering a mixture of water with vinegar and food coloring and calling it urine, Dixon Woodbury, chair of BYU’s department of physiology and developmental biology, said Wednesday in a statement.

Hansen will not be disciplined.

Hansen said in a statement that he didn’t mean to offend anyone when he recently offered a student the chance to drink urine in class to learn about the principles of hydration and dehydration. The woman didn’t know it was fake urine. The second-year professor says he has done the same exercise in the past with no complaints.

“This is usually a fun way to teach this concept to the class,” Hansen said in an email.

This year, however, an anonymous student reached out to Salt Lake City TV station Fox 13 to complain the lesson went too far.

No other students or parents have complained, Woodbury said.

The concept of the demonstration has been used for years in physiology courses to teach about critical aspects of kidney function and urine formation, Woodbury said.

“The apparent requirement of drinking someone else’s urine is inappropriate, but it was neither required nor actually urine, so was considered a learning opportunity,” Woodbury said in an emailed statement.

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