Dalhousie University suspends 13 dentistry students over Facebook page

By on January 6, 2015


Dalhousie University (Photo by Chris Lacher)
Dalhousie University (Photo by Chris Lacher)

HALIFAX — Dalhousie University has suspended 13 dentistry students from clinical activities over misogynistic comments that were allegedly posted on a social media site, saying it wants to ensure the safety of patients and classmates.

In a statement issued Monday morning, the university president and the dean of the dentistry school said the fourth-year students will have their clinical privileges taken away while the matter is under review.

“The suspension is necessary to ensure a safe and supportive environment for patients and classmates who participate in the clinics,” said the statement from president Richard Florizone and Thomas Boran, dean of dentistry.

The statement said the suspension will allow the Faculty of Dentistry Academic Standards Class Committee to consider the case from the perspective of professionalism requirements. It said the committee can develop remediation plans and recommend academic dismissal.

The university has scheduled a news conference later Monday to explain its response to the alleged postings that have generated widespread debate on how it should handle the issue.

The announcement comes after four professors at the Halifax university filed a complaint over allegations that male students posted sexually hateful messages about their female colleagues on Facebook.

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

The school said it is continuing with that, as well as looking at ways to “address the broader harm caused by this incident.” It also said the decision to suspend the clinical privileges was made on Dec. 22 and made public Monday “to ensure the appropriate supports were available for students.”

The statement said students cannot receive a dentistry degree from Dalhousie University without meeting academic requirements, which includes professional standards.

The school says it will decide this week whether fourth-year dentistry classes will resume next Monday.

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).”

In the statement, the university said the comments “expressed on the Facebook postings were deeply offensive, and completely unacceptable to all of us at Dalhousie University.”