Suspended Dalhousie dentistry student still fights for return to class: lawyers

Lawyers representing a dentistry student at Dalhousie University say their client is the only student who remains suspended from clinical practice at the school in Halifax as it deals with controversial posts allegedly made on Facebook.

HALIFAX — Lawyers representing a dentistry student at Dalhousie University say their client is the only student who remains suspended from clinical practice at the school in Halifax as it deals with controversial posts allegedly made on Facebook.

The school announced Monday that it has allowed 12 male dentistry students to return to clinical practice less than two months after they were suspended for allegedly participating in a Facebook page that contained sexually violent content about female classmates.

The law firm representing Ryan Millet said Tuesday he has not been reinstated and learned of Dalhousie’s decision to lift the suspension of his 12 classmates through media reports.

University president Richard Florizone said Monday that the school’s academic standards committee made the decision to reinstate the students after reviewing the online posts, meeting each of the students and receiving reports and legal submissions.

The law firm for Millet says it hopes a decision from the academic standards committee on his case will be announced this week as it fights to clear his reputation.

The students who are returning to clinical practice must adhere to several conditions, including close supervision, ongoing participation in a restorative justice program and participation in classes on communication and professionalism.

The school also said members of the public will be asked whether they would prefer not to be treated by one of the men who were previously suspended. If a patient chooses not to be treated by any of the men, they will be assigned another student.

Millet’s lawyers say the restorative justice program that the 12 other men in his class are taking was made available to him if he admitted to unprofessionalism.

“Ryan had offered to participate in that restorative justice program, to facilitate healing amongst his classmates,” the law firm of MacIntosh, MacDonnell and MacDonald said in a statement. “However, he refused to acknowledge that he was guilty of blatant unprofessionalism. Ryan was not invited to continue participation in the restorative justice program, once he refused to acknowledge his guilt.”

The 12 students who had their clinical privileges reinstated also expressed remorse in an open letter to the community on Monday.

According to the CBC, members of the Facebook group voted on which woman they’d like to have “hate” sex with and joked about using chloroform on women. The CBC said in another post, a woman is shown in a bikini with a caption that says, “Bang until stress is relieved or unconscious (girl).”

The university posted a joint statement dated Sunday by 29 members of the fourth-year dentistry class on its website, with the unidentified students — both men and women in the class — saying they wanted to comment before the academic standards committee makes its disciplinary ruling.

Florizone said the committee will now assess whether the men will be able to meet the professional standards of their program but some of them will not graduate this spring because of missed clinic time.

Millet’s lawyers say their client has not been given any indication if he will be in a position to make up lost clinic time and pass the necessary exams if he is reinstated by the academic standards committee.

“He remains committed to clearing his professional reputation in whatever manner is required, so that he can graduate and get on with his life, including his chosen career of dentistry,” the law firm’s statement says.

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