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Françoise Baylis pans Dalhousie dentistry men's apology

03/06/2015 08:30 EST | Updated 05/06/2015 05:59 EDT
One of the professors at Dalhousie University who wanted an investigation into misogynistic comments on Facebook by some fourth-year dental students says the men's apology falls flat.

Medical ethicist Françoise Baylis delivered a speech on a different topic in Windsor, Ont., Thursday night when she delved into the Facebook scandal.

This week the members of the DDS2015 Facebook group wrote a joint statement with the other students taking part in the restorative justice process saying, "we felt incredibly remorseful and took ownership of what we did."

Baylis says comments on the Facebook page before it was taken down, like, "What are they going to do ... kick every guy out of [fourth] year?" show that's not the case.

"I just have a question," Baylis said. "What does it mean to take ownership of something when your insist on anonymity and privacy? When I take ownership of what I stand for and what I believe I look at you. I face you."

CBC News received screenshots of the posts on the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen Facebook group in late 2014.

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. In one post, a member defines a penis as "the tool used to wean and convert lesbians and virgins into useful, productive members of society."

"There are some things that are not OK," said Baylis. "That's really sophisticated philosophical language for, 'Don't do that.'"

No full investigation

In the letter the men say they are learning from educational workshops and sessions.

"What I find interesting and striking is that [they] don't use the terms sexual harassment or homophobia which are clearly evidenced in the Facebook posts … I think it's telling we're avoiding those terms," Baylis says.

Baylis was one of four professors who filed a formal complaint with the school last December. Their request was turned down. Instead, the university opted for a restorative justice response.

Baylis says she spoke as an individual Thursday night, not on behalf of the school or senate.

"My main concern is for the fact there was not a full investigation. We don't know the scope of what did or did not happen and we have at least four women who asked for a formal process who have not been able to get access to that process and I think that's a problem," she said.

Back in January, four fourth-year female students in the faculty wrote an open letter to the president of the school, saying they felt pressured to accept the restorative justice process to resolve the Facebook scandal that has rocked the institution.

"Yes, we have an issue at Dalhousie, but I don't actually believe it's unique to Dalhousie," Baylis said. "We have to take this as a moment and an opportunity for change across this country."

Some of the men involved in the dentistry school's Facebook scandal will not be able to graduate this spring because of the clinic time they have missed while under suspension.

Twelve of the 13 men involved in the restorative justice process will be able to return to clinic duties under certain conditions.

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