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Female dentistry students feel forced into Dalhousie’s restorative justice process

HALIFAX – Four female Dalhousie dentistry students claim they are being forced to accept the university’s restorative justice process.

The women submitted a two-page open letter to Dalhousie University president Richard Florizone. Within it, they claim his recent public statements do not reflect their interests.

“We feel that the University is pressuring us into this process, silencing our views, isolating us from our peers, and discouraging us from choosing to proceed formally,” the letter states.

READ MORE: What is restorative justice and will it work in the Dalhousie Facebook scandal?

Open Letter to President Richard Florizone

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A formal complaint would require the students to submit their names, which the letter claims would revictimize them and could jeopardize their future at the school.  Those fears are also the reason for withholding their names from this recent letter.

The alternative is for the female students to participate in a restorative justice process.  The letter claims the university only recently brought all the affected women together to explain how the process works — weeks after the university began touting restorative as the option chosen by the women.

“Please ensure that our wishes are properly considered and represented in any further announcements you make,” the letter states.

A response posted on Dalhousie University’s website states President Florizone is “committed to a just process to determine consequences for the offensive behaviour.”

It also states the university is considering the formal complaint brought forward by four faculty members and expects to announce a decision this week.

Tuesday Dalhousie University rejected a request by at least one provincial dental board to share the names of the 13 male students involved in the controversial Facebook group, citing student privacy concerns.

The 13 male students have been suspended until further notice from clinical activities. All fourth-year students are scheduled to return to class Jan. 12.

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