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Dalhousie University Says Instagram Sex Scandal 'Not Acceptable'

03/28/2015 10:20 EDT | Updated 05/28/2015 05:59 EDT
Thomas Kitchin & Victoria Hurst via Getty Images
Dalhousie University says it took "immediate and appropriate action" in light of a social media sex scandal that happened in the fall at the university that is independent of the dentistry school's Facebook scandal.

The Chronicle Herald first reported the story on Friday evening.

The scandal revolved around an Instagram account called The Dal Jungle where the photos posted included a female student giving oral sex to a male student while another male student took a smiling selfie with the couple visible in the frame, the Chronicle Herald reported.

The photos on the account were mostly pictures of guys doing “naked, drunk, stupid shit,” said Hanna, a female student who saw pictures from the account. Her name was changed in the Herald story to protect her privacy.

Hanna told the Chronicle Herald another photo was of a couple having sex, but she was unsure whether the photo had been taken or posted with consent.

"This behaviour is offensive and not acceptable at Dalhousie," said the university in a statement released Saturday.

Girl 'very upset' photo posted

Hanna first saw the oral sex photo in October and says that the girl in the photo didn’t know the photo was posted. She said the friend was “very upset,” but was not interested in pursuing the issue further.

On Halloween night, Hanna told a female residence assistant about the Instagram account.

In the statement, the university says that concerns about possible 'inappropriate content' on an Instagram account were brought to the university's attention on Nov. 1 and within two weeks, it had completed a full investigation.

The university says it referred the matter to Halifax Regional Police on Nov. 13.

"We take the safety, security and well-being of our students very seriously," said the university.

Hanna said that four students were kicked out of residence in mid-November, while a fifth was kicked out about one week later. The male student who received oral sex in the photo was moved from Howe Hall to another residence.

A second student told the Chronicle Herald that the users of the Instagram page are no longer living in Howe Hall.

Hanna said that no students were expelled, although about 15 students were banned from drinking alcohol as a result of the investigation.

The university says a number of students were evicted from residence as a result of the Instagram incident, but did not say how many.

Cst. Pierre Bourdages says if the photos were posted without consent, it could be a crime.

He said with the information received, there wasn’t any grounds for a police investigation. As well, the female in the photo giving oral sex did not want police to be involved.

“Photos of people under the age of 18 engaged in a sex act are considered child pornography,” the Chronicle Herald wrote. “Sexually explicit photos distributed without consent could violate Bill C-13, a new federal law that came into place on March 9. The Protecting Canadians From Online Crime Act prohibits the distribution of what it calls “intimate images.”

Cases of child pornography can be investigated and result in charges without the co-operation of the victim. But for cases in which the victim is 18 or older, the victim’s co-operation is required for an investigation to proceed.”

However, Hanna insists her friend was 17 at the time the photo was taken, but Bourdages said the information police received did not warrant a child pornography investigation

Ostracized at Howe Hall

Hanna says she has been ostracized as a result of reporting the Instagram account.

“[I]t tore my life to shreds and completely ruined me and made my life a living hell in residence, because I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere without having people look at me and just give me that look of pure hatred,” she told the Chronicle Herald.

The university says what happened on Instagram is not exclusive to Dalhousie.

"It is part of complex societal issues in which we have fully engaged. We take our responsibility seriously to take action in addressing the harms that have been caused," said the statement.

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