We, members of the Dalhousie University community, offer this public statement in response to recent reports of acts of misogyny and gendered violence by student members of the “Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen” on Facebook and other offensive behaviour that has occurred at Dalhousie that contributes to a culture of gendered violence and discrimination.
First, we acknowledge that there is a problem of sexualized violence on Dalhousie campuses, on other university campuses in our province and across our country. It is important to name and own this culture of sexualized violence, only then can we address it effectively.
Second, we apologize for our failure in the past to respond effectively to the problem of sexualized violence on university campuses. For instance, when reports of sexualized violence emerged two years ago at Saint Mary’s University, UBC, and the University of Ottawa, we failed to stand up and demand action on our campus to address our culture of sexualized violence. We allowed events on other campuses to be perceived as someone else’s problem when it was our problem as well.
Third, we commit ourselves to the work required to make our campuses safe and supportive learning environments for women and members of other vulnerable groups. We also commit ourselves to ensuring that the Faculty of Dentistry (and all of our professional schools and academic units) deserve the public trust that has been placed in them as educators of individuals who, upon graduation, will hold professional positions of power and trust in society.
Fourth, we call for an integrated approach to the problem of sexualized violence on our campuses – an approach that (i) responds to the specific harms caused by incidents that have recently been reported that reflect a pervasive culture of misogyny and disrespect for women and sexual minorities and (ii) addresses the underlying systemic causes.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.