Dalhousie turns over dentistry Facebook posts to Halifax police
Documents delivered after university cites a 'misunderstanding'
Dalhousie University has turned over unedited versions of the misogynistic posts from the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen Facebook group to Halifax police as the university's senate plans to meet and a forum on misogyny will be held Thursday afternoon.
The documents were delivered to police after what the university called a "misunderstanding."
Police in Halifax made a formal request to Dalhousie to see the offending Facebook posts, which were taken down shortly before CBC News broke this story last month.
Police said that request was denied, but the university said soon after that it would co-operate with police.
Officers will now examine the posts to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted.
Halifax police have not received a complaint, but want to speak to the women involved.
Prof. Margaret Denike says criminal or not, the story is effecting change.
“This is one of the first times I have ever seen sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence being taken seriously by so many people at so many levels,” she said. “And those who are speaking to it aren't being laughed out of the room for the first time.”
Dalhousie senate agreed to convene an emergency meeting next Monday afternoon to discuss the role the senate in the process of investigating the conduct of the 13 members of the Facebook group. Their behaviour is being reviewed by an internal committee of the Dalhousie dentistry school.
Organizers of a forum on misogyny to be held Thursday hope that level of awareness will result in a big turnout and bring about change.
Jennifer Nowoselski, with the Dalhousie Student Union, said it’s time to take the issue seriously.
“This is something that has been happening on our campus for a long time now and it's very important we take this incident seriously and find ways we can transform the culture on our campus so things like this don't continue,” she said.
The student union is presenting the forum along with the Dalhousie Gender and Women's Studies Program.
Speakers at the forum will include professors from Dalhousie and other universities as well as people who provide support services at Dalhousie.
Nowoselski says the discussion will include how to change the culture on campus.
“People are still shocked about how the university is responding and pretty shocked about how the conversations are happening with folks on campus and the university administration,” she said. “So this is a starting point for us to broaden the conversation and try to find a way to move forward.”
Denike expects the event will be much more than just a forum.
“It's really this remarkable, historical moment, I think,” she said.
The forum is open to the public as well. It starts at 1 p.m. in the McInnes Room, Student Union Building, 6136 University Avenue in Halifax.
There have also been requests from other universities to allow their classes to watch, so it will be streamed live.