Katrina Medwenitsch — The Fulcrum (University of Ottawa)
OTTAWA (CUP) — Three doctors from the University of Ottawa’s residency program have filed human rights complaints against the university claiming they were discriminated against on the basis of their Saudi heritage.
Dr. Waleed AlGhaithy, a neurosurgery resident and Drs. Khalid Aba-Alkhail and Manal Al-Saigh, cardiac surgery residents, filed their complaints with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario last summer.
The group has cited numerous inappropriate and discriminatory behaviours as the basis for their complaints, including being yelled at and dismissed from operating rooms, and being subject to derogatory language from university faculty members.
None of the allegations have been proven.
Aba-Alkhail, the spokesperson for the group, said their experiences at the university have been unfortunate.
“It’s an experience where you will be embarrassed publicly,” he explained. “You see you are not treated as [equally] as others. You see there are high powerful people [and] they control the process of [unfair] treatment. You cannot do anything — you just watch and wait.”
Mireille Gervais, director and senior student appeal officer at the Student Appeal Centre, has received additional accounts from students that confirm a problem in the faculty.
“I’ve had other students from the neurosurgery program contact me to let me know [that] this was indeed the worst year of their life,” said Gervais. “They can attest to the fact [that] there is discrimination and other types of abuse going on in the faculty.”
The information for the case was revealed March 9 from leaked emails allegedly belonging to senior staff in the neurosurgery department. The emails demonstrate that AlGhaithy was considered “real destructive force within the program,” and “fixing AlGhaithy would deter the others from doing so.”
The university has not responded to interview requests, but Andrée Dumulon, the university’s communications director, released a statement to the Ottawa Citizen saying that, “[The university has] to protect the students and protect our faculty, so we have to abide by confidentiality.”
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Content courtesy of the Canadian University Press
Photo: Chelsea Pottage