This past weekend, Ryan Millet, a 29-year-old Dalhousie University dentistry student and a member of the notorious DDS Gentlemen Facebook group, came forward in an interview with Halifax’s Chronicle Herald, detailing the steps he took to rectify the damage caused by sexually violent comments in the online forum. Millet says he was added to the DDS Gentlemen group in 2011, the year he enrolled in the dentistry program.
Though he did not defect from the group when other members posted the material in question (he claims he isn’t responsible for any of the offending posts reported by media) he says he was deeply disturbed by some of the material, and allowed a female classmate to take a screenshot of one of the explicit posts, which she then showed to Dal’s administration. He has since drafted an apology letter to the female dentistry community, which is in the possession of the Chronicle Herald.
Millet is the only member of the Facebook group to abstain from participating in the school administration’s controversial restorative justice process, which led to the suspension and isolated study of the male students involved. In an emotional video posted by the Chronicle Herald late last week, Millet, in the presence of his lawyer, explains his side of the story.
“To see something so targeted and violent and hateful against someone that you care about … that’s not me,” he says, holding back tears. “That’s not what I’m about. The people that know me would agree. Where I come from people respect each other. People hold the door open for each other.”
Millet’s apparent remorse evoked mixed responses on Twitter, where many have been following the story and commenting on it. Some found the student—a young father who describes himself as an “outsider” among his classmates—to be a brave and sympathetic. Though views on Ryan Millet, the whistleblower, may be diverse, many following the story are apparently displeased with the administration’s latest announcement. Following a two-hour meeting at the school on Monday, the Dalhousie senate, the school’s governing academic body, announced that the disciplinary process of the students involved in the DDS Gentlemen Facebook group will be left solely in the hands of Dal faculty. In the end, an eight-member faculty, comprised of five women, will decide the fate of the 13 students whose juvenile, sexist musings captivated the nation.