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Statement on Misogyny at Dalhousie Dentistry School

We, the executive members of the Dalhousie Feminist Legal Association, wish to speak
out in response to the recent acts of misogyny, homophobia, and gender-based
violence perpetrated by members of the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen Facebook
We support those who have chosen a restorative approach
We wish to state clearly that we stand in solidarity with the women of Dalhousie
Dentistry who have come forward to speak out about the incident. We also honour the
choice of those who have elected to proceed through the restorative process.
Condemning this process removes agency from those who have elected it and silences
these women at a time when they wish to be heard and exercise control over this
situation and its outcome.
The restorative approach is the only process that will prioritize the voices of these
women. It is, at its core, a deeply feminist model of justice. We demand that the
restorative process be conducted with the utmost diligence to ensure the safety of the
women involved, including by enacting appropriate interim measures. In addition,
every woman affected must be consulted on how she wishes to proceed, which we
understand has not been the case to date. A restorative process must also involve the
university and the dental profession as active participants; through this process both
entities must be prepared and willing to confront and be accountable for their own
roles in creating this culture of misogyny and sexism. We demand that both entities
commit to engaging and acting in a broad and far-reaching manner. A proper
restorative approach will operate to force the men involved to face the harmful
consequences of their behaviour and hold them to account for it.
If conducted diligently, this process will also unearth the causes and context
surrounding the behaviour of these men, thus exposing a deep and systemic culture of
misogyny in the dental school that we demand be addressed campus-wide. In addition
to shining a bright, and damning, light on a culture that has existed on our university
campuses for far too long, the restorative process should serve as a means of
identifying and committing to the necessary actions required to address the various
harms at issue in this situation including to individual students, within the faculty of
dentistry and the university, and to the public trust.
This issue is systemic
We wish to emphasize that this incident is but one manifestation of the gender-based
violence that is rampant in our society and in our universities. The behaviour of these
men illustrates how deep this hate and misogyny run and demonstrates the need for
systemic remedies to respond to these attitudes. Sadly, this incident is just the most
recent way that misogynists have claimed space for themselves in our universities.
This space is claimed at the exclusion of all others, not just women, and a true
commitment to systemic change must acknowledge other forms of violence such as
racism, homophobia, and ableism. At the Schulich School of Law, we have also faced
incidents rooted in these same misogynistic attitudes, and have tried to work against
this culture, often without the support of our own administration.

We will do our part

We acknowledge that without accompanying action, this statement is not enough. We
commit to directing our rage, passion, and perseverance to working towards the
systemic change we demand of the university and expect from our own professional
school, the Schulich School of Law. We will continue to encourage active debate and
conversation, especially after the media coverage stops. We will be watching the
university carefully for its action at the conclusion of the restorative process. We also
acknowledge that this statement cannot possibly contain all of the shared and
divergent opinions of our organization, and so must necessarily be brief. However,
while this statement is brief, our commitment to changing a culture of misogyny and
gender-based violence will not be.