The misogynistic and sexually explicit Facebook posts by a group of male Dalhousie University dentistry students are "completely unacceptable," says one of four professors who recently went public about filing a formal complaint with the school.
Professor Françoise Baylis, along with Jocelyn Downie, Brian Noble and Jacqueline Warwick, allege some of the Facebook comments amount to threats of sexual assault and acts of sexual harassment.
Françoise Baylis, Canada research chair in bioethics and philosophy at Dalhousie University, is one of four professors who issued a formal complaint about the Facebook group postings. (Courtesy Government of Canada)
"It's 2015, it's completely unacceptable that you would think you could get away with saying that, let alone thinking it," said Baylis.
"And to put in on paper, to think that it's something that's funny, to think that you're sending that message out for other people to think of as humourous or entertaining, [it's] completely unacceptable."
The professors' complaint urges the university to suspend students who actively participated in any of the offensive posts on the 2015 DDS Gentlemen's Club Facebook group. The professors say that action is warranted under the university's Code of Student Conduct to ensure the safety of students and staff in the program, as well as patients at its dentistry clinics.
Baylis, Canada Research Chair in bioethics and philosophy, told CBC News on Sunday that the university should have made the decision to suspend the male students before classes resumed this week — and said there is still time for that to change.
"There are still a few hours before tomorrow morning. I think it's still within the realm of possibility that the university could have an interim suspension."
Baylis said the suspension would allow the matter to go through the university's disciplinary committee to determine appropriate action.
Baylis said the professors initiated the complaint so that no student would have to come forward publicly, and as an addition to the restorative justice process chosen by the university.
She said the complaint was not submitted anonymously, but the group asked for confidentiality.
"To be perfectly frank, originally we had not intended for this to be public. We had intended to follow the process as we understood it at the university in submitting the formal complaint and allowing it to go through the steps that are necessary," Baylis said.
The professors came forward because there have been what the group called in a statement "unexplained delays" in processing the complaint, and the professors were worried the condition of confidentiality was responsible for the delay.
"And so we officially consented for our names to be disclosed if that were the problem."
The professors haven't received an answer from the university as to whether that was the case, Baylis said.
Postings about 'hate sex'
In an email to CBC News, Dalhousie's director of communications Brian Leadbetter responded to the professors' decision to make their complaint public.
"In December, we advised that Dalhousie will have our preliminary assessment of the formal complaint filed on December 22 completed in early January. We fully expect to share that update this week."
The dentistry faculty at Dalhousie came under fire after CBC News received screenshots of sexually explicit posts on the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen Facebook page.
In one of the posts, male students in the group voted on which woman they'd like to have "hate sex" with and joked about using chloroform on women.
Some people are upset about the restorative justice process that has been chosen, instead calling for harsher penalties for those alleged to have made the comments.
I wonder if the juvenile behaviour of the 'gentleman's club' can be traced to marijuana usage. I have made the point several times on my other blog that I believe regular marijuana use causes a cessation in mental and emotional maturity. That people get stuck in the era in which they start regular use of pot.
I also have stated that I believe the 'culture of rape' in North American universities has to do with the ready availability of pornography to adolescent boys. Is it possible that we are witnessing both effects in Dalhousie's Dental School? Are the 'gentlemen' stuck in adolescence both in their views of girls and their expression of those views?