Letters to the editor, January 8, 2015

These are the letters that appear in the print issue

Halifax to problems: Please just go away

I read the follow-up article about the stalker problem that the HRM police seemed to just want to forget or hope it would pass ("Halifax police conclude bungled stalker case review," by Hilary Beaumont, The City, December 25). I am agreeing with the victim Nicole that nothing will ever be done by the local police force. Maybe, just maybe, the Florida police will get this stalker off the net and tune him up.

The attitude in this town seems to be to let things ride and they will go away. It is just like the dentistry school problem at Dalhousie. The whole student body of that fourth-year dental class should not be painted with the same brush as the ones who created the sexual harassment towards their colleagues. Let the ones who had nothing to do with the posting take their final tests and get on with their professional careers. 

Is the president of Dal trying to protect some of the guilty students who may have well-to-do parents who give generously to the alumni fund? —John Fennell, Dartmouth

Tooth and consequences

Thanks to The Coast for keeping the heat on Dal ("Dal dentistry 'gentlemen' suspended from clinic," by Jacob Boon, Reality Bites blog, January 5)! When is "restorative justice" meaningful, and when is it a cloak behind which perpetrators of violence hide? President Florizone, dry your tears and face the facts: Your plan asks women at Dal, already wronged, to do still more work to expunge the stain of misogyny and sexual violence condoned—implicitly and explicitly—by your institution. You've failed to make Dal a safe space for women to learn and work; your gestures, which make safe a space for the perpetrators of organized and overt misogyny and rape-planners, do nothing to address the ways that Dal is, itself, a perpetrator of the "wider culture" you decry. What if the women you want to harness for your "restorative justice" plan simply refused to participate? If you're not going to endanger the "investments" of the hate-mongering "gentlemen's club," how about refunding the tuitions of the women in your fourth-year dentistry school—for their entire period of training? Then at least you'd have redressed some balance, given them a leg up instead of a yank downwards. Perhaps if your gesture costs the university something, we'll see other signs of truer change. —Karin Cope, Halifax

Too many of my good friends suffer from the aftermath of sexual assault for me to have any tolerance for rape culture. I also know without due process injustice is inevitable. Dal did not act quickly enough but it finally acted.

To the protesters at the Dal A&A building calling for the immediate expulsion all 13 of these dentistry students: Please think above the mob. Allow due process to sort through the members of the group to discern which are responsible. Presumably the screenshots of the group's postings were leaked by a member of the group who recognized the wrong: Does he also deserve to be expelled? I'm a member of 35 groups on Facebook. I have joined and am involved with two of them, other people added me to the rest with which I have no involvement. The same is possible for some members of DDS.

Due process is meant to sort the guilty from the innocent. Punish the guilty. Spare the innocent. If you think the process Dal chose is flawed, protest for a better process. You cannot call for the immediate expulsion of all 13 of these students and legitimately say you still believe in justice—you are endorsing guilt by association and calling for a lynching. —Spencer Osberg, Halifax

Put on your thinking helmet

I skated today on The Oval and was called off the ice by HRM staff for wearing an illegal helmet, a helmet they allowed me to use last year. They told me in order to be permitted back on the ice surface I could use a helmet they provide or skate with NO HELMET.

I am horrified that no helmet was acceptable over my snowboard helmet. Medical professionals and our provincial health minister should be extremely concerned with HRM's Oval helmet policy for adults.

It should also be noted that the same illegal helmet can be worm in all rinks operated by HRM, but not on The Oval. —Heather Miller, Halifax

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