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Dalhousie dentistry students committed no crimes on Facebook, police say

A Dalhousie University sign is seen in Halifax on Jan. 6, 2015.

ANDREW VAUGHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Dalhousie University dentistry students committed no crimes in posting offensive and misogynistic exchanges on Facebook, including a poll in which they voted on the female students they would most want to have "hate" sex with, according to Halifax Regional Police.

Police ruled out conducting a criminal investigation into the matter. In addition, no complainant has come forward.

Senior investigators reviewed more than 50 pages of screen shots of the posts from the private Facebook group – the Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen – and "did not observe anything to suggest a crime had occurred," police spokesman Constable Pierre Bourdages said in a terse e-mail sent Thursday afternoon to media outlets.

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"Based on the reviewed material as well as the absence of any criminal complaints, HRP will not be commencing a criminal investigation into this matter," he wrote.

Initially, the university had not referred the matter to police as it believed that no crimes had been committed. But the police requested to see the material, and it was handed over on Wednesday. University spokesmen did not return requests for comment from The Globe and Mail on Thursday.

However, the university continues to struggle with the issue amid complaints about how it is handling the process of dealing with the 13 male students who were members of the group.

About 400 people, including students and faculty, attended a three-hour forum on misogyny Thursday, in which they heard from experts on gender, race and human rights.

"It's important that we do come out all as a group to discuss this incredibly important problem," said Aidan McNally, a second-year student at the University of King's College, the neighbouring university to Dalhousie. "I see day-to-day sexism on campus all the time … either in comments, in classrooms, where it is majority women, and only two men talk the entire time." She said people who consider what happened in the dentistry program "an anomaly" are "kidding themselves."

Her friend Faye Campbell, also a King's student, was critical of universities for not recognizing "rape culture." She said universities will advertise their schools as a "fun place to meet people." But, she added, "sometimes in meeting people, these people give you drinks with roofies [the date rape drug] in them and you're put into an incredibly dangerous situation."

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Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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