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The Dalhousie University dentistry building in Halifax: A report into sexist online posts by dentistry students at the school says a Facebook page at the centre of the scandal began as a bonding exercise but turned offensive.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The decision by Dalhousie University to allow 12 male dental students of questionable judgment to graduate this spring is the right one. The university's self-congratulatory tone in announcing the decision, however, is unsettling.

The 12 men, who wrote foul, misogynistic messages about their female classmates on Facebook, are being allowed to move forward with their lives because the university chose to use a restorative justice process to deal with the issue. But that process only worked because the women who had been targeted displayed a generosity of spirit and agreed to take part.

When the Facebook postings were exposed last year, Dalhousie came under intense pressure to expel the students. Richard Florizone, the university president, stood his ground. He temporarily suspended the students but insisted on giving them a fair hearing and a chance at restorative justice under the school's sexual harassment policy. It was a brave decision.

Fast forward to Friday, when the school released a 70-page report on the decision and gave itself a big hug. The Dalhousie restorative justice process was a "game changer" that could help other universities through similar situations, the report said.

But a read of the "participants' statements" in the report is revealing. The men intone all the right things, such as "we learned that saying sorry is too easy" and that they "see the world through a different lens now." But they also protest that they are not "monsters" and whine about the media attention visited upon them.

And the women? They don't whine. They say they didn't pursue punitive measures because "we were not looking to have our classmates expelled as ... angry men who understood no more than they did the day the posts were uncovered." And they did their own soul-searching. They admitted they knew about the Facebook posts and had suspicions they were misogynistic, but only took action when they learned the hateful words were about them.

"We had to ask ourselves: why we are only up in arms when it is about us, but unconcerned with the objectification of other women? Why was this tolerable? We needed this restorative process because we had work to do ourselves." That's unnecessarily self-critical. Dalhousie put incredible pressure on those women. They are the heroes in this story.