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HALIFAX — Dalhousie University has rejected a request from the licensing body that governs Ontario’s dentists to hand over the names of 13 dental students accused of posting sexually violent comments about women on a private Facebook page.

University spokesman Brian Leadbetter says the university in Halifax has an obligation to protect the privacy of its students.

He also restated the university’s position in an email statement on Tuesday that the online comments were deeply offensive, degrading to women and unacceptable.

Irwin Fefergrad, registrar of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, said Monday the governing body wanted the names to make sure that if any of the students involved apply for licences in the province they would face tough questions from the college.

Fefergrad said if the names are withheld, the college would have to ask every Dalhousie graduate seeking a licence if they had been the subject of a complaint or an inquiry at the university.

University president Richard Florizone announced Monday that the school had suspended the clinical privileges of the 13 students.

According to the CBC, members of the Class of DDS Gentlemen page on Facebook voted on which woman they’d like to have “hate” sex with and joked about using chloroform on women. In another post, a woman is shown in a bikini with a caption that says, “Bang until stress is relieved or unconscious (girl).”

The Facebook page has since been taken down.

The posts and the university’s initial response prompted rallies, calls for the men’s expulsion and a demand by some faculty members for an independent inquiry into how the school handled the incident.

Hundreds of protesters filled a square outside the president’s office building Monday, where they demanded the students be expelled and that more be done to address sexism on campus.

The university launched a restorative justice process last month after an unspecified number of women filed a complaint under the university’s sexual harassment policy and chose to proceed with the process. It is an informal and confidential resolution procedure that includes the parties involved.

The school said it will decide this week whether fourth-year dentistry classes will resume next Monday.

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