The announcement by the Halifax university was made today as it reopened following the holiday break, but the decision to suspend the men was made Dec. 22. As well, while most students returned to classes today, the fourth-year dentistry students at the centre of the controversy won't resume classes until Jan. 12.
|Dalhousie president Richard Florizone|
Dalhousie president Richard Florizone said Monday the announcement of suspensions was delayed because the school's administration had received "credible reports from front-line staff" that some of the men involved were at risk of self-harm.
He said the announcement was made once the students were back in Halifax and had access to counselling services.
Florizone also said while the suspensions are in place, the men cannot graduate.
Many people are upset over the university’s handling of the Facebook page by the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen's Club. The fourth-year male dentistry students' violent sexual comments about female classmates included a poll about having "hate" sex with female students and drugging women.
"The faculty of dentistry’s academic class standards committee's ... powers include the authority to create remediation plans where warranted, and to recommend academic dismissal," said a statement released by Dalhousie president Richard Florizone and Dr. Thomas Boran, dean of the faculty.
"The committee will assess the situation of each individual and ensure that any individual recommended for graduation will have complied with the professionalism requirements of the academic program. No student will be permitted to graduate unless they have done so."
Boran said during Monday's news conference that the scandal has "totally rocked our administration."
The controversy focuses on the posting of misogynistic and degrading comments about women on a Facebook group page by some fourth-year dentistry students.
While they're suspended from clinical work, it's not clear whether the university will extend the men's suspension to lectures that goes to Jan. 12. Florizone says over the next few days, the university will decide how next week's schedule will roll out for the fourth-year students in the dentistry faculty.
|Francois Baylis Bioethics Chair|
Dalhousie doesn't need to deal with just the 13 adolescent DDS students, it needs to set an example for all university students. Immature sexual attitudes have no place on campus, or anywhere else in society, but certainly not on campus. We should expect a lot higher level of maturity from the next generation of leaders in Canada.
I would like to see the final exams scheduled while the 13 are on suspension, requiring them to wait until next year to graduate.
Four Dalhousie faculty members, including a Canada research chair in bioethics, have called for the school to launch an independent inquiry into sexualized violence on campus in the wake of the dentistry school scandal.
In a statement posted online, the professors say sexualized violence is a problem at universities across the country.
I believe it's all part of the 'culture of rape' coming out of the adolescent behaviour of boys who think they are men.
They urge Dalhousie to respond by looking at both the specific harm caused by the Facebook posts, and addressing underlying causes.