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How to Handle Harassment in Dental School

pookey123

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Dental school demographics are rapidly changing and the majority of schools are at or approaching 50/50 M/F percentages and will soon become majority female. Current dentists, dental faculty, and administrators tend to be male, while incoming dental students tend to be female. I know getting into dental school is a dream for many, but I want students to be aware of the harsh realities of dental school. There is more to worry about than just student debt. I have been dealing with harassment and unethical conduct at my own school, and have become aware that these issues are actually quite common occurrences and that there are mutual problems shared by many dental schools. I have created this thread to serve as a guide, and as a place for students and victims to share their experiences and get help and support from each other.
 
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pookey123

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Here is a 10-step guide that will help you if you are having a meeting with a dean of student affairs, police officer, title ix investigator, professor, or any meeting with any other school official or faculty member.

1) don't meet with them if you don't have to (always ask if the meeting is mandatory before going; use email if possible). 2) Always bring someone with you (never meet with them alone) 3) Ask to keep the door open (closed door meetings are creepy) 4) Talk to people you trust before you go in for the meeting 5) Record your meeting, take notes, document everything that is said and done) follow up and request the meeting minutes afterward (to make sure they don't doctor/alter what was said) 6) Get support afterwards if you need it; you don't have anything to be ashamed of (don't let them lower your self-esteem/ gas-light you) 7) Be vigilant, they will lie to you, about you, and attempt to manipulate other people against you 8) If you are harassed in any way or made to feel uncomfortable then report this (don't let them threaten or intimidate you; you should never feel scared at school) 9) Reach out to others you trust for support (they will try to isolate you and silence you; don't let him) Feel free to contact me on SDN, I will support you. 10) Cyber-Security: save your transcript, grades, and any other documents that might come in handy on an encrypted hard drive. Use 2-factor-authentication and make sure you have strong passwords on all of your accounts (They will try to hack your email and cyber-harass you; always stay protected online). Universities can cull your school email account to gain access to all of your emails and they can monitor anything that you do on school wifi. If you need to communicate with someone always use vpn on a secure non-school wifi network and use your personal email. Services/sites like Signal, Telegram, Protonmail, and vpn services are essential.
 
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pookey123

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It is important to remember when you report someone/anything for any reason at your school, that your school's primary goal is to protect their reputation. This is why students who report rape, harassment, or any misconduct of any kind find themselves in the hot seat even though they were the ones trying to do good, follow the rules, and send the report to the school. The school will try to bury your report, attack and ruin your own reputation, and do anything they can to keep you quiet and prevent anyone form knowing about the misconduct. 11) Always believe in yourself. Stay calm. Don't let your emotions get the best of you. It is ok to seek help.

You will want to document everything, and keep the information to yourself. Title IX investigators, counselors, advisors, student affairs, even the university police, anyone who works for the school are working towards protecting the school, their job is NOT to protect you. Be careful what you share with them. In general, don't say more than you need to. It is highly recommended that you get legal representation before you report sexual harassment, before any disciplinary meeting, or if you are unsure of what you should say/do.

It is necessary to save all of your grades, transcripts, rotation/clinical documents and any other academic information that you have in case they try to falsify it or dismiss you. It is often easier for schools to dismiss students who report, rather than deal with the report. Keep your grades up and don't let the harassment get to you. Even if you are a good student, they will try to say that you are not. They will resort to anything they can think of to get you dismissed, so save everything and be careful. Professors that were previously friendly to you might not help you, or can even work against you. Remember that their jobs are on the line, and almost none are willing to risk their job just to help a student. Administrators are even worse, and are usually the most clinically incompetent, the most unethical, and are complicit with whatever wrongdoing is happening at school. Asking the dean for help probably won't do you any good. My school's dean was less than helpful.

Cyber security is essential. This is not a joke, universities monitor your internet usage while on school wifi and can monitor anything you do on any school account. I know multiple individuals who had their emails culled by their schools. My school straight up told students that they monitor what sites you visit and track your internet history. You do not want to give away all of your personal information to the school, they will use it against you. Especially if you are getting legal help or going through committee meetings, disciplinary hearings, or title ix proceedings.
 
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pookey123

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These issues are very important to me because I know personally students and faculty that have been sexually harassed in dental school. Sometimes for years. The stories can be truly heartbreaking. There is also research supporting the fact that dental students face serious challenges regarding their mental health and well-being. I know students who have been wrongfully dismissed and had their dreams of being a dentist taken away from them. Please reach out to me and I will help you in any way that I can. Especially if you believe you are being harassed or wrongfully dismissed. The earlier you seek help the better.

It is ok to go to the press or public if you are comfortable doing so. Don't let your school silence you and take your voice away. There is power in numbers and speaking about your experience can be cathartic. Especially if you are a victim of harassment, you are usually not alone. Talking to the press, student reporters, or journalists can be helpful in spreading the word and raising awareness. However, in most cases you will want to talk to an attorney before you talk to a reporter. Let me know if you have would like to share your story with me privately or if you would like to get in touch with a reporter I can help you with that.
 
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pookey123

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Gaslighting: How Universities Use Their Title IX Office to Crush Complaints.

Sexual assaults, harassment, gender and racial biases occur with frightening regularity for women in academia. In spite of increasing awareness of these problems, there is very little about what the Title IX process looks like from a personal perspective.

Participating in a Title IX case is nothing short of soul crushing. Your university will not support you, you will be the subject of gossip and, perhaps most distressingly, you will be intimidated and retaliated against for your honesty. Retaliation is illegal under Title IX, but not only does it occur, it is cornerstone of the process by which academics are silenced and, I suspect, the reason I could find so few first hand accounts of participating in a case.
  1. Get a lawyer. Immediately. Even if you are a witness. Your participation in a Title IX action, or even your failure to participate, could cost you your job. Spend $1500 to keep your job. You will want a lawyer specializing in employment law. Look for things like ‘Best of the Bar’ in your local business journal. You should not tell your university you have a lawyer. It just makes them anxious. I don’t know why, but it does.
  2. Find a killer posse. Your already stressful academic life is about to get intolerable. Your posse should have 1000% (not a type-o) allegiance to you alone and your sanity. They will probably be academics who understand crappy academic behavior. Do not engage work colleagues. Your posse will be people who will never talk about you or your case. These people will be your lifesavers. Cherish them.
  3. Get a restraining order or other police protection if needed. I put this as the third point, because your killer posse is now the best judge of what is scary. You may be have been exposed repeatedly to a culture that allows people to behave in threatening ways as ‘a joke’. Take your safety seriously.
  4. If you are filing the complaint, do not send it to the university’s Title IX office. You’ll be directed there by every imaginable administrator and told they are independent of the university. This is utter bull****. Google “US Department of Education Investigates Title IX…” and you’ll get a quick education in just how seriously in bed your admin is with the Title IX office. They are totally in bed together. Naked and humping like mad. File your complaint online here https://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/complaintform.cfm And file it within 180 days of your concerns coming to a head. If you are not the complainant, you don’t have a choice on who handles the complaint, so you’ll need to go with what is handed to you. Cannot stress this enough. Example: U.S. Department of Education Holds Penn State Accountable for its Failure to Protect Students from Sexual Misconduct, Requires Major Overhaul of Title IX Procedures Following Compliance Review | U.S. Department of Education
  5. Complaintants: Fill the 9 questions online and make it short and sweet. Then you can write out your whole life story somewhere else.
  6. Shut the first umbrella (STFU): You will suddenly be popular with your colleagues. People will drop by your office to ask you small questions and then give you looks of concern asking ‘if you’re okay’. You need to STFU. These people are not going to help you. Be careful who you talk to; there are less people that you can trust than you think.
  7. You’re going to get an email from the Title IX office if you are a witness or have filed the complaint asking for a 15 minute interview.
  8. Ask if you can have your chairman/vice chairman/mentor/anyone who can back up what you are saying to your investigator. This person does NOT need to be involved in the case. You will need this person to verify that you told the investigator information they will deny, lose or not include in their report. You read that correctly. The system you are relying upon to report misconduct is about to rock your world in the worst way.
  9. The Title IX office will come after you. Their whole goal, in my experience, is to try to make any complaint go away. The easiest way to do this is to destroy witnesses. The easiest witnesses to destroy those who are tied to their university because they are afraid they will lose their jobs/academic standing/colleagues/students. Outside witnesses not affiliated with the university have little at stake. You, however, have a lot to lose.
  10. Do the interview as soon as you can. The investigator will want to come to you. This will be an effort to put you at ease and have you say too much. They will be a lawyer but will not identify themselves this way.
  11. When they get there, tell (don’t ask) them you are going to record the interview for both of you. This can be easily done with free phone apps. If they protest, say your dad/husband/brother/shaman/internet guru has been thru this or is a lawyer and insisted you do this. I’m insisting you do this. Offer to share the recording right away and send it to them by email before they leave your office. They will not like this and will be anxious. This recording can save your career.
  12. Saying anything other than what you witnessed/experienced is too much. This information will be used to introduce new information about you and you are about to become the focus of the investigation. This sounds absurd, but it’s true. The Title IX office will follow any true or untrue information the defendant provides about you, they can find on your social media accounts or hear through the academic grapevine (see Step 16).
  13. The sole goal of the investigator is to get you to share any information that can be used to discredit you. If you say something like “I had heard s/he was creepy, but I thought they were great when we spoke”, this will show up in a report saying ‘the witness/complainant knew of the defendant and thought they were creepy’. They want to present you as a biased person prone to drama/lies/gossip/litigation.
  14. Know that being honest does not meaning being candid. Do not ever, for any reason, answer open ended questions asked by either your administrator or the Title IX office. “Tell me about how you came to work here or know the person in the case” are both open ended questions. Think of the Title IX investigator as the defendants personal attorney. Treat them respectfully but know their goal is to make this go away for the University.
  15. Engage the investigator in email. After your interview, follow up reiterating any key points. Investigators loathe email. After they get your email, your phone will ring. Don’t answer it. Make them respond by email. They won’t answer your question or engage but will offer to have more phone conversations or in person interviews. Approve all emails with your lawyer.
  16. The investigation now becomes about you.The Title IX investigator will come back asking for a second meeting for just ‘5 minutes’. The will show ‘information that has come to light’ that casts you in a bad light. Maybe it was the qual student from the defendants group who thought you were mean, or a gossiping faculty member who thinks you’re too political or an email with a few lines highlighted when you first brought the matter to the admins attention. Regardless, it will be taken out of context. The information is wrong and you can easily clarify it. Do not engage. If you go on the record, and all of these conversations are on the record, your credibility has become something you will discuss. (Think of the parallel of this as asking a sexual assault survivor about her sexual history). Guard your privacy like its your job, because it could cost you your job.
    • How do I do that? Pull the ‘oh gosh, my dad/brother/shaman the lawyer absolutely said they’d be mad as heck if I said anything more….I’ll have to refer you to them’. You haven’t said you have a lawyer, but you know, they get it. Use this often.
  17. The investigator will ask for more interviews with the sole goal of making you share more. They will say things like, “I really see your point of view, but maybe we could talk more about how this came about”. You have been societally conditioned to be helpful to everyone. Give that up. Now. You are 100% able to say, ‘give me a list of questions, and I will send you an email’ but if you have said everything you have to say regarding the incident, shut your face.
  18. The investigator will want to let you know how the case has concluded in person. Unless you filed the complaint, don’t get involved in this. If you are the complainant, do this with your lawyer. This is another chance for the Title IX office to sideline you. Their goal is to get you on record as saying their finding is ‘unbelievable’ or anything revealing you had a bias. You don’t need to hear the findings, because the answer is that they found in the defendants behalf. They always do. They will not send you the report. Refer the Title IX office to your lawyer if they persist in asking you to meet.
  19. You will now get an email from someone with a very big title who is your bosses, bosses super boss. They will also confront you with something that puts you in a poor light (see step 16). They will also be the first people who will officially tell you that the case was found to be without merit. The super boss will say they are taking your ‘bad’ and totally unrelated behavior very seriously and maybe threaten you with disciplinary action. Do not engage with this or try to clarify it. Take some notes. You are taking notes of being intimidated and retaliated against.
  20. Go back to your lawyer. Write an email to the super boss that you view this as retaliatory and threatening. Have your lawyer edit the email to ensure that it is admissible in later actions.
  21. Go back to https://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/complaintform.cfm file a complaint against your university for intimidating you.
This process is ugly, long and can get expensive but I hope I just saved you a few extra thousand dollars in legal bills, some sanity and a lot of sleepless nights. If this sounds terrible, it is. But if you ever want anything to get better for students and colleagues who are sexually assaulted or done an injustice because of their race, gender or sexuality, you need to do this. In house Title IX offices are just doing the worst of the dirty work and this practice of universities investigating themselves is absurd. You also need to be willing to lose your job doing this. It’s the right thing to do. I’ve done it and I know.

This is originally from: https://tenureshewrote.wordpress.co...p-by-step-guide/comment-page-1/#comment-73739
 
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pookey123

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Helpful links:
What is DARVO? (Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD. )
FERPA for Students (if your school doesn't want to give you your student records, you should ferpa them to get access)

If you ever encounter someone experiencing harassment in dental school, please share this thread with them.
 
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lol wut. You strike me as a person who gets offended way too easily. Instead of getting offended by every little thing and trying to get someone in trouble, and getting a lawyer or starting lawsuits... Maybe you should just chill a little? Drop things, and have some thick skin? We all get shat upon in dental school by faculty members. Regardless of gender. Trying to start fights with faculty members probably isn't the best solution. That's my 2 cents.
 
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2020. What a year?
Covid19. Social distancing. Sitting at home for 3 months not working. No sports. Black lives matter. Unemployment. Rioting. Protesting. Hating on police. Bringing down historical statues. Looting. CHAZ or CHOP or whatever in Seattle. POTUS election year. Heck .... half of AZ has forest fires.

Not discounting OP's post. But .... I'm mentally exhausted at this point.
 
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OP, thank you for creating this thread and compiling these resources, it must have taken a lot of work. I sincerely hope that these resources will help those who need it. I believe you. I acknowledge the difficulty you are going through, and I support you.

For the others who are commenting on matters that are not related, or disparaging OP, is this really the place to do it? Are you adding anything of value to this thread of resources meant for victims of sexual assault, harassment, gender bias, and/or racial bias at their academic institutions? If you don't find anything of value in this post, it is not for you.
 
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New_Vegas

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OP, thank you for creating this thread and compiling these resources, it must have taken a lot of work. I sincerely hope that these resources will help those who need it. I believe you. I acknowledge the difficulty you are going through, and I support you.

For the others who are commenting on matters that are not related, or disparaging OP, is this really the place to do it? Are you adding anything of value to this thread of resources meant for victims of sexual assault, harassment, gender bias, and/or racial bias at their academic institutions? If you don't find anything of value in this post, it is not for you.
Well it's meant to be a help post, and I'm just saying there are better ways of solving problems than hiring a lawyer and getting a restraining order... That's a bit extreme.
 

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lol wut. You strike me as a person who gets offended way too easily. Instead of getting offended by every little thing and trying to get someone in trouble, and getting a lawyer or starting lawsuits... Maybe you should just chill a little? Drop things, and have some thick skin? We all get shat upon in dental school by faculty members. Regardless of gender. Trying to start fights with faculty members probably isn't the best solution. That's my 2 cents.
Yikes. This post is about sexual harassment, unethical behavior, and retaliation against students who report and how to deal with all of it and your response is “Maybe you should just chill a little? Drop things, and have some thick skin? We all get shat upon in dental school by faculty members.”

This isn’t some faculty member calling you a ******* and embarrassing you in front of others and someone getting offended. Of course that happens to everyone.

This is holding your grades and dental school status over your head if you report sexual misconduct and harassment.
 
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New_Vegas

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Yikes. This post is about sexual harassment, unethical behavior, and retaliation against students who report and how to deal with all of it and your response is “Maybe you should just chill a little? Drop things, and have some thick skin? We all get shat upon in dental school by faculty members.”

This isn’t some faculty member calling you a ******* and embarrassing you in front of others and someone getting offended. Of course that happens to everyone.

This is holding your grades and dental school status over your head if you report sexual misconduct and harassment.
Look we have no evidence that the faculty was actually guilty of sexual harassment. We have a girl in our class who thinks everything is sexist, racist, etc. And the rest of us are pretty much rolling our eyes because usually that's not the case at all. She puts a whole lot of extra stress on herself because she's constantly getting offended by everything. If the case was presented to the Title IX office and they found no fault, then going and getting a lawyer and doing all this extra stuff is a good way to make enemies.
 
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pookey123

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Well it's meant to be a help post, and I'm just saying there are better ways of solving problems than hiring a lawyer and getting a restraining order... That's a bit extreme.
that was a recommendation from a guide made by someone else. that would only be necessary in extreme cases of harassment. But I know multiple students and faculty that have been stalked by other faculty/administrators. For some people an order like that is absolutely necessary and can be life saving
 
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pookey123

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Look we have no evidence that the faculty was actually guilty of sexual harassment. We have a girl in our class who thinks everything is sexist, racist, etc. And the rest of us are pretty much rolling our eyes because usually that's not the case at all. She puts a whole lot of extra stress on herself because she's constantly getting offended by everything. If the case was presented to the Title IX office and they found no fault, then going and getting a lawyer and doing all this extra stuff is a good way to make enemies.
most people are too scared to report. but what about when there is evidence? this issue is systemic and affects virtually all graduate students at almost every institution. They will try to end your career if you refuse to do what they want. It's not right. Protected by Decades-Old Power Structures, Three Renowned Harvard Anthropologists Face Allegations of Sexual Harassment | News | The Harvard Crimson

these issues affect male students too
 
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Just because you may not have had anything happen in your dental school education doesn't mean you can invalidate what others have experienced. These things happen more than you think, but there are so many connections behind closed doors that sometimes nothing happens the way it rightfully and ethically should.

Keep it professional and civil. If you don't agree, simply don't comment vs. trying to invalidate others.

To @pookey123, I'm sorry for what you're going through, and I appreciate that you've put this together! I'm sure it will help people that are unsure or lost about what to do, or help others think about what they need to do should they be in a situation like this.
 
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This post started out great but unfortunately it quickly went from informative and helpful to dangerous and unnecessary . Your assumptions about institutions are possibly correct 30 years ago but the climate is very different today and most schools have excellent channels to address harassment issues and am sure dental schools included. You are trying to convince people that the school faculties and those responsible for handling sexual harassment complaints are complicit to these unwanted acts but this is just paranoid, it might be the case for some but it is definitely not the case for the majority of educational institutions.

This is not to discredit victims of sexual harassment as I am 100% sure they exist wherever humans are and you should definitely keep the possibility that your call for help might go unheard and possible interconnections might hinder your complaint but you shouldn't make this assumption as default about the people who are there to help you in these situations. I don't know how old you are and how many jobs you've held and the nature of your interactions with others but many things considered harassment nowadays that are just a part of who we are as people and can mostly be avoided by simply addressing the issue by talking to the person responsible first and if that doesn't work than you should go the higher-ups but really the only time you start seeking legal help from outside is also the time you call the police and get a police report about the incident.

Please don't generalize what happens in one place to be the rule everywhere, this notion is dangerous and I think at this time in 2020 we have a very tangible sense of what this can lead to.
 
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Look we have no evidence that the faculty was actually guilty of sexual harassment. We have a girl in our class who thinks everything is sexist, racist, etc. And the rest of us are pretty much rolling our eyes because usually that's not the case at all. She puts a whole lot of extra stress on herself because she's constantly getting offended by everything. If the case was presented to the Title IX office and they found no fault, then going and getting a lawyer and doing all this extra stuff is a good way to make enemies.
I would not speak openly about your opinions in dental school (or any other public forum really, including sdn). Dental schools are becoming more progressive and arguments against improving student’s comfort will land you in hot water. And rightly so.
 
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New_Vegas

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I would not speak openly about your opinions in dental school (or any other public forum really, including sdn). Dental schools are becoming more progressive and arguments against improving student’s comfort will land you in hot water. And rightly so.
So you think it's acceptable to try to silence opposing viewpoints, and only one group should have the right to speak out? Lmao
 

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So you think it's acceptable to try to silence opposing viewpoints, and only one group should have the right to speak out? Lmao
You aren’t offering opposing viewpoints, you’re offering trite anecdotes in a thread designed to be a resource and support to victims of sexual harassment/misconduct in graduate school.
 
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pookey123

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This post started out great but unfortunately it quickly went from informative and helpful to dangerous and unnecessary . Your assumptions about institutions are possibly correct 30 years ago but the climate is very different today and most schools have excellent channels to address harassment issues and am sure dental schools included. You are trying to convince people that the school faculties and those responsible for handling sexual harassment complaints are complicit to these unwanted acts but this is just paranoid, it might be the case for some but it is definitely not the case for the majority of educational institutions.

This is not to discredit victims of sexual harassment as I am 100% sure they exist wherever humans are and you should definitely keep the possibility that your call for help might go unheard and possible interconnections might hinder your complaint but you shouldn't make this assumption as default about the people who are there to help you in these situations. I don't know how old you are and how many jobs you've held and the nature of your interactions with others but many things considered harassment nowadays that are just a part of who we are as people and can mostly be avoided by simply addressing the issue by talking to the person responsible first and if that doesn't work than you should go the higher-ups but really the only time you start seeking legal help from outside is also the time you call the police and get a police report about the incident.

Please don't generalize what happens in one place to be the rule everywhere, this notion is dangerous and I think at this time in 2020 we have a very tangible sense of what this can lead to.
I am trying help people approach reporting cautiously and carefully, because all too often doing so can derail your professional career and your hopes of becoming a dentist. Retaliation IS extremely common. Top ranked institutions like Harvard and many others act in the same way. There is no incentive for them to protect students or whistleblowers. It is in their best interest to ignore, cover up, and try to bury any potentially negative stories despite the harm it causes to the victims. Even when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing, it can be an uphill battle and drag on for years.
 
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@pookey123 Thanks for making this thread and providing info for the folks who need it. It amazes me how some of these responses are coming from future dentists and its actually quite scary and unfortunate. All and all, these things do happen often and just because a school has a "good reputation" doesn't mean there aren't problematic people within these institutions. I'm sorry that (not if) you've experienced harassment and unethical behavior at your school. Let's hope that with all the possible change going on in the world, that positive change will happen within dental schools as well.
 
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