Dalhousie University has notified four professors their complaint against misogynistic and sexually explicit Facebook posts by a group of male dentistry students is not eligible for consideration under the Student Code of Conduct.
The professors wanted action under the university's formal discipline process. The complaint urged the university to suspend students who actively participated in any of the offensive posts on the 2015 DDS Gentlemen's Club Facebook group.
In a letter emailed Saturday by the vice-provost for student affairs, Dalhousie says it will not proceed with the complaint because the students' conduct is under review by the professional standards committee within the dental school.
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Vice-provost Anne Forrestall says that makes the complaint ineligible.
In a written response, the four professors say they are "distressed" the only disciplinary process will now be handled inside the school of dentistry.
"We are sad that our actions have not resulted in a formal discipline process, as this would have served the goal of protecting and promoting the interests of those harmed by the conduct of the 'Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen,' reads their response.
However, they say they are "comforted" by the university's decision Friday to launch an outside task force into misogyny and homophobia at the Faculty of Dentistry.
"It is our hope that through these and other steps, the harms caused by and associated with this incident will not be repeated."
'I respect them for their courage'
In a release, Dalhousie President Richard Florizone says the decision was made Jan. 7 and he received legal confirmation two days later.
"I sincerely appreciate the efforts of our four faculty members. I respect them for their courage to take a public stand on behalf of others," he said.
"This complaint has highlighted a need for careful review of our policies to ensure we have a respectful, inclusive community."
Florizone says the task force launched Friday will review the school's policies with recommendations on how they can be improved.
The dentistry faculty at Dalhousie came under fire after CBC News received screenshots of sexually explicit posts on the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen's Club Facebook page.
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.
Some people are upset about the restorative justice process that has been chosen, instead calling for harsher penalties for those alleged to have made the comments.
On mobile? Read the vice-provost's letter here.