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Dalhousie senate’s discussion of DDS Gentlemen made private to avoid public scrutiny

In a move that may be unprecedented, Dalhousie Senate is holding a private meeting today without the public being given any notice.

The agenda for today’s senate meeting is comprised of discussions surrounding university administration’s response to the offensive Facebook posts made within a private Facebook group comprised of at least 13 male fourth-year Dalhousie dentistry students.

Andrea Power, Associate Secretary of Senate & Manager, Secretariat Operations within the University Secretariat, says the meeting is not open to the public “So that senators are able to discuss this matter amongst themselves without having the scrutiny of media or anyone else there, that they’re going to be able to be free to discuss this amongst themselves.”

The 13 men who university administration have identified as belonging to the offensive Facebook group at the time the university received evidence of its activities are currently having their standards of professional conduct individually reviewed by the Faculty of Dentistry’s Academic Class Standards Committee.

At a public meeting of Dalhousie Senate on Jan. 12, Philosophy and Gender and Women’s Studies professor Letitia Meynell showed a draft of a motion that would change this process so the review would take place outside of the faculty of dentistry.

Several senators expressed the sentiment that a committee within the faculty of dentistry could not credibly complete a review of the standards of professional conduct of the 13 men while Dalhousie has also ordered an external investigation of the faculty of dentistry for an “assessment of the environment within [the] Faculty of Dentistry”.

Today’s meeting is scheduled to see Meynell present a motion concerning a “Clarification of Activities and Future Changes to Terms of Reference” to Dalhousie’s internal task force.

Brian Noble, one of the four professors who filed a formal Code of Student Conduct complaint against the 13 men that was eventually rejected, is scheduled to give a presentation titled “Reviewing “Just Processes”, with Attention to Sexual Harassment Policy”.

The councillors of the Dalhousie Student Union who sit on senate are presenting an update on the DSU’s actions regarding the dentistry matter.

Some of the items on the agenda have asterisks next to them, indicating appendices exist for these items. These appendices have not been made public.

Traditionally, senate meetings are open to all members of the public who wish to attend.

A vote is scheduled to be held to see whether the results of the meeting’s motions will be made public.

A copy of the agenda was provided to the Gazette by a member of senate. See the agenda for today’s meeting below.

2015_01_19 Special Senate Agenda Revised 4

Jesse Ward
Jesse Ward
Jesse, editor-in-chief of the Gazette, is a fifth-year student of journalism at Dalhousie and the University of King’s College. He started university with three years of experience writing for Teens Now Talk magazine, where he is now copy editor. Before writing a story Jesse likes to think about how his metal detector could finally be useful in researching this one, but there is never a way it could be. Jesse has produced writing and interactive features for and The Chronicle Herald. He may be followed on Twitter, @RealJesseWard, or from the Gazette office on Mondays around 8 p.m. to his home in West End Halifax. Email Jesse at

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