You Tell Me . . . What Would You Have Done?

Student Group At Graduation

Just when I thought that it was safe to watch the news again another major story hit the pages and here we go again. Each year I gather up all the instances of “what were they thinking” type stories but I couldn’t wait to write that article so here are my thoughts.

This one deals with 13 idiots who managed to get themselves suspended from Dentistry School at Dalhousie University for making statements that can only be described as depraved, stupid, dangerous, embarrassing–not only for themselves but for the school they represent and for men in general. This was a hateful act and seemingly perpetrated with a total lack of caring, respect or sensitivity toward fellow students and female faculty. It is these types of ridiculous and abhorrent behaviours that give the rest of us, men, such a bad rap. Please. We are not represented by these morons. They do not speak for the rest of us nor do they act on our behalf.

But as bad as this is/was I think that the University needs to take the greater hit. First of all they should have acted immediately on the evidence that had been presented. There is no doubt regarding ‘did they or didn’t they.’ The complaints were made. The documents were produced on facebook-really? The culprits were positively identified. Apparently one of the men was actually remorseful for what he had added to the process to the point where he was suicidal. I don’t know if that is true or not but ‘gee’ is that supposed to somehow absolve him of what he did? Once the trigger is pulled it is really too late to recall the bullet. Once the words are out there it is really difficult to recall them as well. Perhaps the time to consider this would have been before not after the words had gotten out. Did any of these rocket scientists stop to think long enough about what might happen and how this would be accepted by those females it was meant to impress?

So the University had a golden opportunity to do the right thing. They needed to act decisively and quickly sending a message that was unequivocal–‘This type of behaviour, under any circumstances, will not be tolerated by the school, its faculty or the students who respect the rules and guidelines of the institution. Such instances will be dealt with quickly and definitively.’ Period. These thirteen pillars of good judgement needed to be suspended the moment all doubt had been removed regarding what happened and which persons were involved. They could have been invited to return to complete their degrees after the other students had completed theirs and they were no longer attending school. In the last while we have heard a great deal about women who claimed to have been assaulted and how difficult it was or has been to come forward. The greater complaint has been around the length of time it has taken some to come forward. A quick and straight ahead action by the University could have gone a long way to establishing a safer and more supportive environment for females or males who have been abused to come forward and share their experiences. Perhaps, then, a message would have been sent that said, ‘you can feel more confident you will be heard,supported and not judged.’ This wishy-washy ‘process’ they have going is a cop out for what needs to be done. Some are board with it and some don’t want anything to do with it. What now? Shame on the University for taking the less demanding and seemingly less controversial road.

They really dropped the ball here and more importantly they had a chance to send a message to young men that this type of behaviour is not funny, it is not cool and will not be tolerated so don’t come here expecting that somehow it will be. To an outsider such as myself it sure looks like the inmates are running the asylum. There needs to be consequences to the decisions we make both pro and con. That is also a message that our educational system is not sending our kids. It sure isn’t being taught at home as often as it needs to be. Suspending these guys falls woefully short of what was called for here given the history of other universities in the area.

The missed opportunity to send our young and women a very important learning point was extremely regrettable. It’s no wonder this keeps happening. We are not demonstrating an example that works.

Anyways, that’s the way I see it–Jim

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