Dalhousie professors’ complaint against dentistry students rejected

Halifax’s Dalhousie University has rejected a complaint made by four professors against a group of 13 male dentistry students who were allegedly members of a Facebook page where sexually violent content was posted.

In a letter dated Jan. 7 but sent to the professors on Saturday, the school’s vice-provost of student affairs says it will not proceed with the complaint filed under the code of student conduct because the issue is already being dealt with under an academic standards committee within the dental school.

Anne Forrestall says because the matter is being reviewed by that committee, it’s not eligible for review under the code of student conduct. She says the committee will evaluate the students on professionalism and will make recommendations based on their findings.

In a letter responding to the rejection, the professors say they have “mixed feelings” about Forrestall’s decision.

The professors say they are concerned that the academic standards committee is internal to the faculty of dentistry, which is also being looked into as part of an external investigation led by Constance Backhouse, a professor at the University of Ottawa.

But they also say that the university took a positive step by launching the independent investigation, which will explore the environment, training and policies at the dentistry school to determine if they contributed to a tolerance for misogyny and sexist conduct.

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