A faculty-wide letter sent by Memorial University's dean of medicine reveals plans to use an outside investigator to look at complaints that "may be of sexual nature and may constitute sexual harassment."
Margaret Steele sent the memo Thursday, saying there had been "several concerns" brought to her attention.
"These concerns have included allegations of bullying, intimidation, harassment and sexual harassment," she wrote.
While the investigator has not yet been chosen, the person will look at the culture and learning environment at MUN's medical faculty and how it responds to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
According to a spokesperson for the university, Steele was made aware of the complaints earlier this month and immediately contacted the school's sexual harassment advisor, Rhonda Shortall.
A request was then made for an outside investigator to complete an assessment of the faculty. The request was approved by school president Gary Kachanoski.
"I am committed to a learning environment free of bullying, intimidation, harassment, sexual harassment and sexual assault," Steele wrote. "Such a unit assessment will enable the Faculty of Medicine to improve our culture so that we can all learn and work in an environment that is safe and respectful."
Previous trouble with internal medicine
The faculty came under fire last spring, when its internal medicine program received a stiff warning by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
In a letter obtained by , the college noted problems involving harassment and intimidation between faculty members and students.
The college handed Memorial University a notice of intent to withdraw accreditation.
Following that notice, the university was given two years to fix the areas of concern before an external review in 2019 will determine the fate of the program.
It is unclear if the latest allegations of harassment stem from the internal medicine program.
"We will not be making any comments about the nature of the concerns or allegations until the review is completed, so as not to prejudice the work of the investigator," said David Sorensen, a spokesperson for the university.
Memorial University hopes to announce the name of the investigator within the next two weeks.
Interview requests to the student's union and the Medical Students' Society were not immediately answered.