January 23, 2021

By BETH CROUSE

In a society that demands a constant stream of information, it comes as a shock that some individuals still do not grasp the severity of their online actions.

Recently, a scandal broke at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S. over a group Facebook page that belonged to 13 male dentistry students, all in their fourth year. They called their group the “DDS Class of 2015 Gentlemen.” On the page members made misogynistic comments about their female classmates.

The students of this group were suspended from clinical activities and must now attend classes that are separate from other students, but they are still able to attend school. And they will still graduate from Dalhousie with a degree and obtain a well-paying job as a professional in society, as well as the title of doctor.

This is unacceptable. People should be held accountable for their actions, be it in person or online, and the 13 members of this Facebook group should face serious consequences.

Women are continuously the victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence. The so-called “DDS Gentlemen” further perpetuated violence against women by posting comments about hate sex, the use of chloroform and “banging someone until (the gentlemen’s) stress is relieved or (they) pass out.”

Dalhousie’s reputation has taken a hit, thanks to its decision to allow these students to continue their studies.

The punishment these soon-to-be professionals are facing is a restorative justice process, meaning the university wants all parties to sit down and “talk it out” rather than address this issue with the severity it deserves.

One of the female students mentioned on the Facebook page told CBC News it is Dalhousie’s job to make a safe learning environment for all its students, and she was not consulted before administrators decided on the restorative justice. Her father said he’s outraged and shocked by the university’s strategy.

“From my perspective it’s ineffective, it’s inappropriate, and an independent, third-party arm’s-length investigation needs to happen.”
We couldn’t agree more.

Dalhousie University was in a position to set a standard for all of Canada on how to deal with students perpetuating rape-culture by making it clear that sexual violence of any kind would not be tolerated.

Instead they turned a blind eye.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.

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