Dalhousie announces more penalties in Facebook dentistry scandal

The university launches an external investigation

HALIFAX – Dalhousie University says the 13 dentistry students who were allegedly members of a Facebook page where sexually violent content was posted will no longer attend classes with the rest of their classmates.

University president Richard Florizone says the Halifax school is also launching an external investigation of the faculty of dentistry that will include a report that will be made public.

Florizone says Constance Backhouse, a professor at the University of Ottawa who is recognized for work on sex discrimination, will lead the investigation.

“This past month has been especially challenging for our university and our community. All of us continue to be shaken by the misogynistic and completely unacceptable comments made by male members of our fourth-year dentistry class,” Florizone said in a statement Friday.

“From the outset we stated that this behaviour is completely unacceptable and there must be consequences. The consequences must be based on a just process that complies with the law, university policy and the rights of those involved.”

The 13 fourth-year students had their clinical privileges suspended earlier this week. A restorative justice process announced last month continues with 14 women and 12 of the 13 members of the Facebook group taking part, Florizone said.

Reports of the offensive posts and the university’s initial response prompted rallies, calls for expulsion and a demand by some faculty members for an independent inquiry into how the school handled the incident.

The university launched the restorative justice process after an unspecified number of women filed a complaint under the university’s sexual harassment policy. It is an informal and confidential resolution procedure that includes the parties involved.

According to the CBC, members of the Class of DDS Gentlemen page on Facebook voted on which woman they’d like to have “hate” sex with and joked about using chloroform on women. In another post, a woman is shown in a bikini with a caption that says, “Bang until stress is relieved or unconscious (girl).”

The dentistry school is scheduled to resume classes Monday.

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