Nova Scotia

Dal dental instructor shocked by 'Gentlemen's Club' Facebook posts

An instructor at Dalhousie University's faculty of dentistry says she saw no hint of the sexism and misogyny that was revealed earlier this week in a series of Facebook posts attributed to male students at the school.

Stacie Saunders, part-time Dalhousie instructor, saw no hint of problem

An instructor at Dalhousie University's faculty of dentistry says she saw no hint of the sexism and misogyny that was revealed earlier this week in a series of Facebook posts attributed to male students at the school.

Stacie Saunders is a dentist who practises in Bedford, teaches part-time at Dalhousie University and graduated from the school in 1999.

She said she was shocked when she heard the news that a group of men, calling themselves the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen, made sexually explicit comments that appeared to involve discussions of female classmates.

"I was really shocked and then I sort of went through the process of disbelief and anger. Right now, I’m mostly feeling very disappointed with the group involved and I feel terrible for the women that have victimized," she told CBC's Information Morning.

Saunders said her time as a student at Dalhousie University was the best four years of her life. The school only accepts up to 38 students a year to its dental surgery program, meaning classes are small.

She said that made for a very positive and supportive environment when she was a student. Everyone got to know each other well by the time they were in fourth year, Saunders said.

"By the time you reach fourth year, most students in your class are closer to you than your own family," she said.

She said that must make it especially devastating to the female students who are now in the class.

Saunders said, during her time as a student, she had a good relationship with the men in her class.

"I really just kind of felt like they were my brothers. I trusted them, I depended on them, there’s lots of times in the past that they came to my defence, and for the most part, they were gentlemen. I mean, there’s always going to be some degree of sexual banter and innuendo — that’s just human nature and it’s in our society."

Saunders said if she was a dentistry student right now, she would feel betrayed.

As an instructor, she hasn't seen any evidence of sexist or degrading behaviour. But Saunders said that is not surprising, given the instructors wouldn't tolerate such comments.

Saunders said the students are encouraged to become responsible, professional and pillars of the community. They are told that they are being welcomed into a "family" of professionals. 

"The selection process, when we interview students, we’re really looking for the best fit, well-rounded individuals, high academic achievement, community spirit, ethical, honest people — so, we have to pick the best of the best, whether they are female or male," she said. 

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