The University of Waterloo in Canada has suspended a team of students who built a racecar after a female member was photographed posing next to the car in a bikini and high heels.

University spokesman Michael Strickland said the temporary suspension is in response to an "inappropriate and denigrating" photograph that appeared online, as well as in Tuesday's edition of the Waterloo Region Record.

"The decision also considered the guidelines in place to ensure the safety of students," Strickland wrote in an email to FoxNews.com. "The university's engineering design centre, where the photo was taken, has rules covering the type of equipment that can be brought in as well as the manner in which it can be used."

Students on the Formula SAE team will now be unable to enter the car in an international contest to be held in Michigan next month since the suspension lasts until June 1, the Waterloo Region Record reports.

In a memo sent to all engineering students, Adel Sedra, dean of engineering, said the suspension through June 1 stems from "misuse of the student design centre space for an unauthorized photo shoot" involving the Formula SAE vehicle.

Sedra praised the "remarkable work" of student teams and assured students they would still receive credit for their work.

Steve Lambert, the group's faculty adviser, told the newspaper that students -- 30 of whom were planning to travel to Michigan for the contest -- were "obviously" disappointed.

"One of the bitter ironies of the present situation is that the photo shoot was intended to promote women," Lambert said in a statement on the group's website.

The woman depicted in the photo was a key member of the team, Lambert said. She was entering a contest to appear in a calendar to raise money for charity and needed the photo as part of her application, he said.

"I knew that particular student, and she had been thinking about whether she could be feminine and an engineer at the same time," Lambert told the newspaper.

Lambert said university officials were concerned that the engineering faculty's student design center was used for the photo shoot without permission.

"Engineering remains committed to creating experiential learning opportunities where all members of the community can achieve academic success and personal growth," Strickland's statement concluded.

FoxNews.com's Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this report.