Dalhousie University is trying to floss out the plaque left behind by some of its dentistry students.
The school announced Monday the 13 male students, under fire for making sexually explicit, misogynistic and violent comments about their female classmates in a private Facebook group, are suspended from taking part in all clinical activities. Without that experience, they can’t graduate. Those fourth-year students can, however, still attend classes.
In a press conference Monday, Dalhousie president Richard Florizone said expulsion is still an option.
“It’s very important that as you take each of these steps that have very significant consequences that they’re dealt with according to the law and according to the university policy,” he said at the conference.
Florizone said the decision to suspend the students was made on Dec. 22, but it waited until the first day back to announce it because of reports some of the men involved may self-harm. The school added it wanted to offer support to those male students.
Hannah Milley, member of the South House Board of Directors, took issue with the university’s reasoning.
“What about our mental health? What about the people who had to spend their holidays worrying about if they’ll be forced back into classrooms with the classmates who threatened to rape them?”
Milley spoke to a crowd of roughly 100 people protesting outside the Henry Hicks building, where Florizone’s office is located.
School security officers were on each corner as speakers voiced their opinions and personal experience. Madison Foster was one of those voices.
“It’s not really much of a consequence for the Dalhousie dentistry students, but it looks good that Dalhousie is taking some action,” she said.
“It is not going to prevent these people who have shown no remorse from being, in the future, in dentistry, in a professional context where they can victimize people with impunity.”
Just before a major day at the university came to a close, an explosive statement came from Anonymous.
The online activist group said they will name the 13 men involved at some point, depending on Dal’s next move, because their demands to expel the men weren’t met by the school. The statement presents the operation as a game, with steps to “slow”, “pause” or “fast-forward” Anonymous’ plan.
In the statement the group said, “We will continue Operation Expel Misogyny until concrete change has been achieved.”
They added, “This is about fighting a system that endangers students. This is about expelling misogyny.”