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Dalhousie restorative justice response to Facebook comments questioned

Dec 23, 2014

from the article by Marieke Walsh in Global News:

Dalhousie University’s decision to use a restorative justice process in dealing with offensive Facebook comments have some people concerned that there won't be real consequences for the perpetrators.

The university says some of the female victims chose the informal approach which is one of two options under the school’s sexual harassment policy. The decision means that the victims, perpetrators, and the university will work together to look at the harm done by the sexually violent and abusive comments and what the appropriate consequences should be.

The response on social media to Wednesday’s announcement was strong. With the twitter hashtag #dalhousiehateswomen trending in Halifax. But others also agreed with the university’s response....

The limited public awareness around the restorative justice process could be part of the reason why some people are upset about it, said Dalhousie Law Professor Wayne MacKay. MacKay authored the 2013 report on sexism at St. Mary’s University in Halifax. That report was sparked by the infamous rape chants during St. Mary’s frosh week in September 2013.

“People don't recognize that restorative approaches can produce quite significant sanctions and quite significant accountability,” said MacKay. “And I think that will be the real test – what comes out of it at the end of the day.”...

Read the whole article.

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