Much has been buzzing around recently about the situation involving 13 fourth year Dalhousie Dentistry students who had been suspended from the university after inappropriate comments were posted in a group on Facebook.
The comments, which have been deemed “misogynistic” and “sexually harassing”, were posted in the Class of 2015 Dalhousie Dentistry School Gentleman’s Club group on Facebook in December of 2014. The material, including sexually explicit comments towards female members in the Dentistry program and jokes about using chloroform to drug and rape classmates, have since been removed, and the students involved have been confronted.
The university had initially restricted the students from attending clinical activities, and it was later decided that they would attend class separate from the rest of their classmates in a “remote” part of campus; however, many people are still unsatisfied with the punishment assigned by the university.
The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario sent a letter to the university asking for a list of the names of the students involved out of concern that one of the students will apply to work as a dentist in Ontario. In addition, the hacker group Anonymous released a video threatening to release the names on January 5th if the demands on their list are not met, such as a full expulsion and a call for a Dalhousie Senate Disciplinary hearing.
While Dalhousie refuses to release the names of the students, President Richard Florizone has committed to addressing the issue of sexual harassment and gendered violence on campus. Students and faculty are still not fully content with the plan to remove the 13 students from regular classes, and larger concerns of cyber-bullying and gendered harassment at Dalhousie have arisen.
150 faculty members have signed a petition calling for the university to conduct an independent inquiry investigation of all of the parties affected by the case, followed by a public report to be released. A petition for the expulsion of the students who were members of the Facebook group has surfaced on change.org, and has upward of 36,000 members.
The fates of these 13 students are unclear as of now. Many worry that the students may find work in Ontario or other provinces in the dentistry field, and call the rights and safety of potential patients into question. Dalhousie has also been criticized for not releasing the names of the students as an act of “image preservation” for the school. Whether or not they will find future work post-graduate is on the minds of many, but this case proves one point very clearly: be weary of what you post on the Internet, because the ramifications can impact the rest of your life. (Also, don’t be a misogynistic espouser of rape culture. That helps too).
Celina Fazio, Online Contributor
Photography: The Chronicle Herald