In case you needed more evidence of the pervasive sexism that exists on college campuses in North America, here is a really awful reminder. This one coming from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.
The university has launched an investigation into a Facebook group called the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen, where male students in the faculty of dentistry post nasty, sexually explicit comments about their female classmates.
Just one example was a poll in which members were asked to publicly choose which of two classmates they would have “hate-sex” with. Another post showed a woman in a bikini with the caption: “Bang until stress is relieved or unconscious (girl).” Other posts included jokes about using chloroform on women. Really tasteful stuff, dudes.
The University is taking these awful comments seriously but many students think they are not taking them seriously enough and that action was not taken soon enough. According to CBC News, Dalhousie President Richard Florizone only announced on Monday that they would be taking steps to address the “unacceptable and deeply disturbing group.”
“Over the next 48 hours the university will consider the full range of options available to us to address these serious allegations,” Florizone said in a statement. “Dalhousie will follow an approach that is victim-centred, that focuses on understanding and repairing the harm caused, and that reinforces a safe and respectful environment.”
Earlier this month, there were campus-wide protests about the university’s handling of the situation. Students claimed they had gone to the university months prior with complaints about incidents in the dentistry program but were faced with heavy red tape in dealing with the situation. Additionally, there weren’t means in place for students to report issues anonymously, which led to many people not reporting issues at all. While the men involved in the group were eventually suspended and their names given to the proper authorities, students think it took too long for this to happen.
The school has already cancelled fourth-year dentistry exams in response to the incident. The students who were part of the Facebook group have been ordered to attend classes remotely.