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uOttawa criticized for suspension of resident doctor for pro-Palestinian posts

The University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine is receiving criticism after a resident physician was suspended in relation to posts made in support of Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war.

Dr. Yipeng Ge, a fourth-year resident in public health and preventative medicine, has retweeted and posted on X, formerly Twitter, calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and expressing solidarity with Palestinians since the conflict began on Oct. 7.

An Instagram post made by the page Hidden Palestine and journalist Shaun King claims Ge was 'abruptly' suspended from his residency for his posts.

"The University of Ottawa is alleged to have misused their authority and are intimidating residents and students through the use of censorship," the post read.

In a statement sent to CTV News by uOttawa spokesperson Jesse Robichaud, the school received complaints regarding a medical resident's alleged breach of the Faculty of Medicine and College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario's professional standards. It does not directly name Ge.

"As per the prescribed procedures, interim measures were put into place and the matter was referred to the Faculty of Medicine Postgraduate Professionalism Subcommittee. Every effort is underway to ensure a timely treatment of this case and due process," Robichaud said in the emailed statement.

"The subcommittee will consider whether the medical resident breached the CPSO policy on Social Media and the Faculty of Medicine Policy on Professionalism. The medical resident will continue to receive the full salary and benefits of the position as the process unfolds."

uOttawa associate professor of family medicine Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, wrote a blog post on the website Substack calling Ge's social media posts anti-Semitic.

"Those posts include explicitly equating Zionism with the genocide of Palestinians, upholding and sharing conspiracy theories about the hospital blood libel, and the support and defense of the eliminationist and/or genocidal chant 'From the river to the sea,'" Freedhoff said in a Nov. 2 blog post.

Freedhoff has not responded to requests for comment.

CTV News reached Ge's lawyer, who says neither they or Ge will be commenting during the process. 

A profile on Ge on the uOttawa website writes that he is passionate about health and social equity.

Since Tuesday morning, a petition in support of Ge and has received over 65,000 signatures.

"We express solidarity with Dr. Yipeng Ge for advocating for the human rights of Palestinians, including their right to healthcare and the right of physicians in Palestine to practice medicine safely, without threat of violence and with adequate resources," the petition read.

"We call on the University of Ottawa to reverse the suspension of Dr. Yipeng Ge and to issue an apology for the failure to engage in due process in the investigation of Dr. Yipeng Ge and other students of the University of Ottawa who have been unjustly denied their fundamental right to free expression."

The petition is also asking that Ge be provided with the opportunity to challenge the university's decision.

uOttawa outlines in its policies and regulations that it seeks to 'prize and protect freedom of inquiry and all forms of freedom of expression.'

"All members of the University of Ottawa community — teaching and research faculty, staff, and students, including both individuals and groups — and all visitors to the campus have the right to express their views freely," the policy outlined on the schools website said.

The school outlines a breach of responsible conduct could occur when it is alleged that online conduct or content on social networking sites, " intimidates or seriously threatens to inflict harm upon a student, group of students or the university community or that impinges upon the university’s learning, working and living environment."

A number of penalties can be imposed including a written warning, probation, loss of privileges, suspension and expulsion. A student has a right to appeal any decision to the school's Senate Appeals Committee.

Ge graduated from uOttawa as a Doctor of Medicine in 2020. He has been serving his five-year residency program at uOttawa and its affiliated hospitals.

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Natalie Van Rooy Top Stories

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