Dalhousie University in Halifax has launched an investigation into disturbing, sexually explicit Facebook posts attributed to male students in the faculty of dentistry, CBC News has learned.
The men were part of a Facebook group called the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen. The group was removed from Facebook late last week.
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Calling the language in the Facebook group "unacceptable and deeply disturbing," university president Richard Florizone announced late Monday that the school will address the issue promptly, announcing next steps before the end of the week.
"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."
Fourth-year dentistry exams yet to take place this month have been cancelled, according to the statement, and will instead occur in January.
CBC News obtained screenshots of the group's posts, which are sexually explicit and appear to involve discussions of female classmates.
In one post, members were polled and asked, "Who would you hate f--k?" They were given two names to vote on.
Another post shows a woman wearing a bikini. The caption says, "Bang until stress is relieved or unconscious (girl)."
The screenshots also include conversations among the members in the past few days. From those images, it is clear that members of the group were concerned there had been a leak and that the school's administration was now involved.
Jokes about chloroform
"RED ALERT!!!!! RED F--KING ALERT!!!!!" reads one post. "Apparently one of the ladies has seen or heard something about the recent posts in the gentleman's. We have to get rid of the evidence."
The group then launched another poll asking its members whether it should "Do nothing," "Hold off unless the shit hits the fan," "Put posts on the DDS Class of 2015," or "Issue statement of some sort."
Their conversations also include jokes about using chloroform on women.
The words: "Does this rag smell like chloroform to you??" were superimposed on one photo.
In response to another photo of a bikini-clad woman, two members wrote: "Can you tell me what this chloroform smells like?" and "Does this mask smell like nitrous oxide to you?"
The group had at least 12 members.
Facebook profiles removed in recent days
CBC News has decided not to name the men involved at this stage of the investigation.
Janet Bryson, a spokeswoman for Dalhousie University, told CBC News earlier Monday the university was taking the situation very seriously.
"It's a bit of a complicated process," said Bryson. "There might be a number of students that are involved and trying to ensure that they're getting the support that they need as we go forward investigating it."
At least three of the men have removed their Facebook profiles in the past 24 hours.
The Dalhousie University investigation comes one year after Saint Mary's University launched a probe of its own into sexual impropriety. That probe began after first-year students were seen in an online video reciting a pro-rape chant.
CBC News spoke with one dentistry student on campus on Monday who said he was "aware" of the group, but wasn't a member. He thought it was a group formed for people who wanted to "gripe."
When reached by email Monday, one of the group's members directed CBC News to his lawyer.