Thirteen dental students at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada have been suspended and could face expulsion over their membership in a Facebook group that activists say is a font of misogyny, homophobia and sexual harassment.
The Facebook group in question was a page titled Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen. On it, members made crass jokes and had a variety of crude sexual discussions. Among the content that provoked outside outrage was a poll about which fellow students they wanted to “hate fuck,” and another conversation about drugging women to have sex with them.
Even though the groups was a private one and none of the students involves is accused of any actual sexual violence, the controversy since the group’s discovery in mid December has been intense. December’s final exams for fourth-year students were suspended into the new year, several faculty members have demanded that the school launch an independent inquiry into the campus’s climate of “sexualized violence,” and the school has even created a special page on its website to promise change. Initially, the school had only said the students would be required to attend face-to-face mediation with the women they had allegedly harassed, but the growing campus uproar led the campus to suspend the students instead.
According to the university, the decision to suspend was made on Dec. 22, but was only publicly announced Monday. The school said it delayed the announcement because it believed several involved students were considering “self harm” and it wanted them to have access to campus counseling services.
During the suspension, the men involved are barred from clinical work and are unable to graduate, although it is currently unclear whether they are also barred from attending lecture classes. They also will have to go before an academic standards committee, which would have the power to recommend their expulsion.
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