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Dalhousie dentistry Facebook members can graduate if clinical requirements met

05/22/2015 08:33 EDT | Updated 05/22/2016 05:59 EDT
The Dalhousie University dental students who took part in a restorative justice program after the contents of a misogynistic Facebook page were made public have met the professionalism standards required to graduate, according to a report released this morning by the Halifax school.

All members are eligible to graduate as long as they meet clinical requirements.

The report was released Friday, five months after the group was exposed.

Twenty-nine people (14 women and 15 men) of the 38 people in the core fourth-year dentistry class took part in the restorative justice program. The private Facebook group was known as the Class of 2015 DDS Gentleman's Club.

CBC News obtained screen shots of the group's sexually explicit posts in December.

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 another post, a woman was shown in a bikini with the caption "Bang until stress is relieved or unconscious."

The 13 members of the group were suspended from clinical activities for two months this winter.

"The restorative process found that the men's Facebook group began as a bonding activity but became a place to vent frustrations, often in unhealthy and at times extremely offensive ways," reads the report.

However, the report points out it was part of a larger atmosphere.

"While the offensive content in the Facebook group is inexcusable, the restorative process revealed that similar attitudes and behaviours existed within the competitive climate of the faculty of dentistry."

 Dalhousie law school Prof.Jennifer Llewellyn, who helped author the report, said: "This process set about to find the facts,"

She says the report had to look at if the men met the professionalism standards needed to graduate, and found they "remediated their behaviour."

Llewellyn says people wanted action right away, "but justice takes time."

"I think that dissatisfaction was in the understandable human instinct, which was 'This is not good. This is bad, This offends us, now we want action.'"

After graduation, it's up to state and provincial dental boards to decide who gets a licence and under what conditions they can practise.

The Nova Scotia legislature amended the rules last month to allow the Dental Board of Nova Scotia to prescribe supervision or additional classes for dentists.

"The truth is, none of the Facebook group members are innocent but nor are we monsters," wrote the men in a statement released to CBC.

Read the report.

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