Arizona State University

Location: Tempe, Arizona
Website: http://www.asu.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Arizona State University has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.

  • Arizona State University: Petition Website Blocked From University Network

    February 3, 2012

    In December 2011, shortly after students created a petition to lower tuition at Arizona State University (ASU) on the petition website Change.org, ASU blocked access to the website on its network. When the censorship of the site gained widespread attention, ASU explained its actions by citing concerns about “spamming” emails from the site related to the petition. In February 2012, following a national outcry and within hours after FIRE sent a letter criticizing the censorship, ASU eliminated the Change.org filter. 

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  • Arizona State University: Racial Restrictions on Class Enrollment (2005)

    October 5, 2005

    After FIRE was notified of advertised racial restrictions on enrollment in a course on Navajo history, Arizona State University declared that two English classes listed on its website as “for Native Americans only” would be open to all students. While the university insisted that this declaration reflected a “long-standing practice” of enrolling students in the classes regardless of race, FIRE uncovered evidence showing the classes were racially segregated for at least eight years.

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  • Arizona State University: Racial Restrictions on Class Enrollment (2002)

    April 1, 2002

    After FIRE was notified of advertised racial restrictions on enrollment in a course on Navajo history, Arizona State University declared that two English classes listed on its website as "for Native Americans only" would be open to all students. While the university insisted that this declaration reflected a "long-standing practice" of enrolling students in the classes regardless of race, FIRE uncovered evidence showing the classes were racially segregated for at least eight years.

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Yellow Light Policies
Green Light Policies
  • Campus Environment Team: University Policy Prohibiting Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Actions constitute harassment if 1. they substantially interfere with another’s educational or employment opportunities, peaceful enjoyment of residence, or physical security, and 2. they are taken with a general intent to engage in the actions and with the knowledge that the actions are likely to substantially interfere with a protected interest identified in subsection (1) above. Such intent and knowledge may be inferred from all the circumstances.

    Neither this nor any other university policy is violated by actions that amount to expression protected by the state or federal constitutions or by related principles of academic freedom.

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  • Academic Affairs Manual: Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment and Nonretaliation 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment is a specific form of discrimination. It is unwelcome behavior, based on a protected status, which is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for academic pursuits, employment, or participation in university-sponsored programs or activities.

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  • Student Organization Resource Center: Advertising & Posting Regulations 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    All advertising … should be consistent with ASU’s policy of discouraging demeaning, sexual or discriminatory portrayal of individuals or groups.

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  • Campus Environment Team: Policy Statement Supporting Diversity and Free Speech 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    ASU is also strongly committed to academic freedom and free speech. Respect for these rights requires that it tolerate expressions of opinion that differ from its own or that it may find abhorrent. These values of free expression justify protection of speech that is critical of diversity and other principles central to the University’s academic mission.

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  • Computer, Internet, and Electronic Communications Information Management Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Unlawful communications, including threats of violence, obscenity, child pornography, and harassing communications, are prohibited.

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  • Student Code of Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment: unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment ….

    Endangering, threatening, or causing physical harm to any member of the university community or to oneself, causing reasonable
    apprehension of such harm or engaging in conduct or communications that a reasonable person would interpret as a serious expression of intent to harm.

    Engaging [in] repeated or significant behavior toward another individual, whether in person, in writing, or through electronic means, after having been asked to stop, or doing so to such a degree that a reasonable person, subject to such contact, would regard the contact as unwanted.

    Engaging in discriminatory activities, including harassment and retaliation, as prohibited by applicable law or university policy.

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  • Freedom of speech includes ‘offensive’ speech

    February 18, 2014

    by Hans Bader at the Examiner “The Wandering Dago food truck wants to park and sell food at various events on New York State property. The state says no, because the name is offensive. Does that violate the First Amendment?” The answer is probably yes, says UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh at this link. He recently discussed the free-speech issue in a pending court case called Wandering Dago Inc. v. N.Y. State Office of General Services. The mere fact that a business’s name is politically incorrect, or offends some patrons, is not reason enough to ban it, as an appeals court ruled in holding the name […]

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  • US universities violate students’ First Amendment right, ban free speech – activist

    February 7, 2014

    by Roman Kosarev According to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education rules imposed in most US education establishments ban students from openly expressing their views. After a thorough analysis of schools’ speech codes, the organization rated each in one of three categories. Over 250 US schools receive red light rating this year which means that First Amendment right are highly violated there. Ibrahim Halloum, a student at Arizona State University, proactive in human rights advocacy, talked on the issue with the VoR. I want to hear your comments about this newly released report. As a […]

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  • Arizona State admin freaks out over offensive MLK Party

    January 21, 2014

    by Robby Soave Angry administrators at Arizona State University are pursuing punitive measures against a fraternity that held a mocking Martin Luther King Jr. Day theme party–but a free speech group says students have a First Amendment right to host events that cause offense. The fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon held the event–an MLK Day ‘Black Party’–on Monday. Participants dressed up in stereotypical black clothing–mostly basketball jerseys, according to images–and even drank out of watermelon cups. The party prompted universal criticism from other students and faculty, who found the event to be in an extremely bad taste. “I think this represents […]

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  • 6 of 10 universities can’t figure out 1st Amendment

    December 20, 2012

    by Bob Unruh at WND More than six of 10 colleges and universities across the United States have yet to figure out the First Amendment, because their “speech codes” conflict with the Constitution, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “FIRE surveyed 409 schools for this report and found that over 62 percent maintain severely restrictive, ‘red-light’ speech codes – policies that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech,” said the executive summary. “That this figure is so large is deeply troubling, but there is good news: for the fifth year in a row, the percentage of schools maintaining […]

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  • The Seven Best Colleges For Free Speech

    May 23, 2011

    by Greg Lukianoff The Huffington Post   View this article at The Huffington Post.

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  • Arizona Segregation

    October 25, 2005

    Freshman Composition is a required course at virtually every liberal arts college in the United States — not only to ensure the grammatical correctness of students’ writing. Students are also supposed to practice thesis and support, learn argumentation techniques, and generally hone the logical skills expected by their teachers across the social sciences and humanities. Such skills are basic to the intellectual life of educated adults, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds. So a mini-scandal erupted earlier this month when the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) discovered that Arizona State University Professor G. Lynn Nelson was restricting enrollment in […]

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  • Race requirement for class dropped

    October 7, 2005

    Although offering segregated classes is against federal law, until recently ASU enrolled students in an English class based on race. ASU has offered a first-year composition course designed specifically for Native American students for about eight years, said Robert Schibley, program manager for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The course took the normal English 101 and 102 curriculums and focused them on Native American topics. About 40 students are enrolled in two sections of the course this semester. FIRE, a national first amendment watchdog group that focuses on the educational arena, contacted ASU after learning this semester that […]

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  • Charge of Bias Erupts Over a Course at Arizona State

    October 7, 2005

    For years, G. Lynn Nelson has taught a freshman composition course the only way he knows how. Instead of sitting in rows, students gather in a “feather circle.” Instead of sitting through lectures, students pass around a feather and share personal stories. And instead of allowing just any student to register for the course, the associate professor of English at Arizona State University explicitly restricted enrollment to Native American students. “For Native Americans only” read a description of his composition course on his faculty home page. A leading civil liberties group, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, brought to light […]

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  • Arizona State Ends Class Limited to Native Americans

    October 7, 2005

    Arizona State University announced this week that it has told a professor that he may not limit enrollment in some class sections to Native American students. The professor believes that it was educationally and legally appropriate for him to have the separate sections. But the university barred him from continuing to do so after a civil rights group complained. Last month, the University of Oregon changed a policy that gave some minority students priority enrollment in some class sections. Oregon acted after a student filed a complaint with the U.S. Education Department. And the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, […]

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  • A space for speech

    April 28, 2003

    By Sarah Muench, Web Devil (Arizona State University)

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  • Big mandate on campus

    September 17, 2002

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  • Arizona State Turns to Censorship in Wake of Controversial Party

    January 24, 2014

    By now, it seems that virtually everyone in America has heard about the theme party held on Martin Luther King Day by members of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity at Arizona State University. The situation almost seems as though it was scientifically engineered to garner outrage and go viral. Students dressed in sports attire made what are being called “gang signs” with their hands, and, in what was probably the apex of bad taste, one female partygoer was pictured drinking out of a cup hollowed out from a watermelon. Also typical of college students these days is the fact […]

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  • Students at Arizona State Trade Liberty for a Free Lunch

    May 1, 2013

    A passion for promoting free speech and First Amendment rights is alive and well at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Kim Olson, writing for ASU Downtown’s campus news site, Downtown Devil, reports that student members of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) ASU Chapter hosted a First Amendment Free Food Festival, “Eat Free or Live Free,” on their campus this past Monday. The group offered their classmates two pieces of “free” pizza—but at a steep price. Olson explains how students qualified for their free lunch: Participating students signed a sheet saying they temporarily forfeited their right to the First […]

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  • ‘Heroic Censor’ Epidemic Reaches Arizona State University

    February 19, 2013

    A recent article in The State Press, the student newspaper at Arizona State University, carries the dispiriting news of another sighting of the “heroic censor”—a term we use to refer to students who suppress the free speech of their fellow students not only because they think it is their right, but because they see it as their moral obligation. (We don’t actually think they are heroic.) In this case at ASU, the censors have aimed their sights at flyers around the ASU campus pointing students to a men’s rights advocacy website. The State Press reports: Graphic design freshman Abby Daniels […]

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  • Arizona State Restores Access to Change.org after National Outcry

    February 6, 2012

    Arizona State University (ASU) has restored access to the petition website Change.org after blocking it due to dubious concerns about “spam” emails coming from the site related to a petition advocating lower tuition costs at the university. On Friday, FIRE wrote ASU asking that it immediately restore access to Change.org and assure its students that it does not block access to websites that host content critical of the university. Responding to the national outcry, which was first launched by media reform organization Free Press, that is just what ASU did late on Friday. ASU blocked access to Change.org in December […]

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  • Arizona State Blocks Access to Change.org

    February 3, 2012

    Arizona State University has reportedly blocked access to the petition website Change.org, citing concerns with “spam” emails coming from the site in the wake of a petition posted on the site that advocated lower tuition costs at the university. Today, FIRE wrote a letter to the university asking that Arizona State immediately restore access to the Change.org website and assure its students that its IT department does not block access to websites that might host content critical of the university.

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  • Arizona State University responds to concerns about change.org

    February 3, 2012

    Arizona State University blocked access to the website change.org after it was used to spam thousands of university email accounts in early December 2011. Since spam emails are frequently used to distribute viruses and other malware that is installed on client machines without the recipient’s notice, the university routinely blocks both inbound and outbound access to sites that distribute spam to stop the propagation of malware and the associated compromise of an individual’s personal information or the security of university accounts and information. The university blocks spam emails regardless of their content. ASU strongly supports the First Amendment and an […]

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  • Arizona State University Paper Touts ASU’s Place on ‘Best 7′ Free Speech List

    June 7, 2011

    Two weeks ago, The Huffington Post ran Greg’s article commending the seven best colleges and universities for free speech in the country. On Sunday, Katherine Torres and the editorial board of The State Press, Arizona State University’s (ASU’s) student newspaper, were just the latest to comment on the article, and more specifically to note ASU’s inclusion in the list. Both items explained how ASU recently earned its “green light” status in FIRE’s Spotlight database of speech codes, and both included some excellent quotes about the importance of free speech at a university. Joseph Russomanno, an ASU professor who teaches a course based […]

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  • FIRE Names Seven Best Schools for Free Speech on ‘Huffington Post’

    May 24, 2011

    PHILADELPHIA, May 24, 2011—Today the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) commends the nation’s seven best colleges and universities for freedom of speech in an article by FIRE President Greg Lukianoff on The Huffington Post. The colleges listed are Arizona State University, Dartmouth College, The College of William & Mary, the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and the University of Virginia. “FIRE spends most of its time bringing much-needed attention to the sorry state of free speech for students and faculty on our nation’s campuses,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “Today, we wanted to […]

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  • ‘Arizona State Law Journal’ Blog Features Piece by FIRE Jackson Fellow

    March 1, 2011

    The blog of the highly regarded Arizona State Law Journal features a post by FIRE’s Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow Erica Goldberg. The piece discusses Arizona State University’s recent alteration of its advertising policy applicable to student organizations, which allowed Arizona State to proudly become a green-light institution. Using the transformation of Arizona State’s advertising policy from mandatory to aspirational as an example, Erica’s post also discusses why converting unconstitutional speech prohibitions into aspirational speech policies makes so much constitutional difference. Check it out!

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  • Arizona State University Eliminates Speech Code, Earning FIRE’s ‘Green Light’ Rating

    February 1, 2011

    TEMPE, Ariz., February 1, 2011—This week, Arizona State University (ASU) eliminated its unconstitutional speech code, earning a coveted “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). While more than two-thirds of the nation’s colleges maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech, ASU is now a proud exception, having revised a policy that unconstitutionally restricted the free speech of students and student organizations on campus. “Arizona State University should be commended for making this simple but important change to guarantee the First Amendment rights of its students,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “We hope […]

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  • Will Arizona State University Be Lucky Number 13?

    September 15, 2010

    Of the more than 400 colleges and universities in FIRE’s Spotlight database, only 12 can claim to be green-light institutions, schools where FIRE is unaware of any policies that threaten students’ free speech rights. These colleges and universities, miraculously afloat in a sea of red and yellow lights, deserve special mention. They are the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Dartmouth College, Cleveland State University, Bucks County Community College, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, Black Hills State University, University of South Dakota, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, University of Utah, and The College of William and […]

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  • Role-Playing Exercise Angers RA at ASU, Illustrates Potential Problems with Mandatory Sensitivity Training

    January 30, 2007

    A student at Arizona State University (ASU) has raised objections to a role-playing exercise he participated in as part of the diversity training required of incoming residence assistants, reports the East Valley Tribune (AZ).   In the exercise, Ryan Visconti, a senior at ASU, was required to portray a gay Hispanic male and told to “create his perfect life” by visiting booths (“life stations”) representing his opportunities in housing, employment, banking, worship, and other facets of life. At each booth, the exercise required Visconti to repeat scripted responses meant to correspond to his assigned sexual orientation and ethnicity, with most […]

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  • Hey, Derek Zoolander: Stay away from Flagstaff!

    November 16, 2005

    Remember Derek Zoolander? Many college students do. He is Ben Stiller’s character in the 2001 comedy “Zoolander.” And it’s a good thing he didn’t attend Northern Arizona University. At one point in the movie, Derek says, “Rufus, Brint, and Meekus were like brothers to me. And when I say brother, I don’t mean, like, an actual brother, but I mean it like the way black people use it. Which is more meaningful, I think.” To most people, that’s funny. To NAU, that would be harassment. Let me explain. NAU’s “Safe Working and Learning Policy”  recently earned the dubious distinction of […]

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  • A Herd of Academic Minds

    November 1, 2005

    If there’s one word any college student knows, it’s “diversity.” Every university, it seems, is “committed” to diversity — or at least says it is. For example, Arizona State says on its Web site that it “champions diversity.” But the reality is sometimes a bit different. At the start of the year, ASU offered two English classes, ENG 101 and 102, taught by Professor G. Lynn Nelson. His Web page claimed, “My classes seek to help people discover within themselves the intertwined power of literacy and peace.” Apparently they do that through segregation. You see those classes were, “For Native […]

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  • Arizona State Disavows Racial Segregation in English Classes

    October 10, 2005

    TEMPE, Ariz., October 10, 2005—In response to pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Arizona State University (ASU) has declared that two English classes listed on its website as “for Native Americans only” are open to all students. While ASU insists that this reflects a “long-standing practice” of enrolling students in the classes regardless of race, FIRE has uncovered evidence showing the classes were racially segregated for at least eight years. “We are relieved that Arizona State quickly recognized that both the law and its own policies prohibit racially segregated classes,” remarked FIRE President David French. “However, […]

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  • FIRE Denounces Arizona State’s Reintroduction of Segregated Classes

    October 7, 2005

    For the second time in less than four years, Arizona State University is limiting certain classes to “Native American” students only. However, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is accusing the university of racial segregation and has written a letter to the school, demanding that the classes be opened to all students. Enrollment in the so-called “rainbow sections” of Professor Lynn Nelson’s English 101 and 102 composition courses at Arizona State University (ASU) are restricted to Native Americans only. But Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy, believes the restricted sections are a violation of state […]

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  • Arizona State Claims Segregation Never Happened—But Evidence Says Differently

    October 6, 2005

    Yesterday, FIRE publicly exposed a racially segregated freshman composition class for “Native Americans only” at Arizona State University (ASU). The “Rainbow Sections” of English 101 and 102, taught by Professor G. Lynn Nelson, were listed in at least two places on ASU’s website as “for Native Americans only.” FIRE pointed out that these mentions of the racial restrictions on enrollment had silently vanished from their website, but we hadn’t heard any disavowal of the requirements from ASU, so we took the case public. Today, FIRE finally received a response from Arizona State in the mail (dated September 29, postmarked October […]

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  • ASU denies classes restricted

    October 5, 2005

    Arizona State University officials say two English classes advertised by a professor as ”restricted to Native Americans only” never in fact used race as a qualification for class admission. Responding to a letter from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, ASU Provost Milt Glick said that information on a flier and on a professor’s university-sanctioned Web site erred in suggesting that the classes only accepted students of American Indian decent. ”The Web site … has been changed to reflect the long-standing practice of admitting any student who seeks admittance into these courses,” Glick wrote in response to […]

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  • Arizona State: ‘A New American University’?

    October 5, 2005

    Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael M. Crow brags on his website that his is to be “a new American university.” He adds, “We are committed to building a new kind of university, one whose fate is tied to our collective fate, and one committed to the collective good.” Unfortunately, Crow’s conception of what is in the interests of “the collective good” violates the U.S. Constitution. As FIRE is reporting today, ASU is currently offering two segregated sections of a freshman English course, under the Orwellian moniker “Rainbow Sections.” No matter how good ASU’s intentions may be in offering those […]

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  • Racial Segregation Lives On at Arizona State University

    October 5, 2005

    TEMPE, Ariz., October 5, 2005—State-sponsored racial segregation has found a home at Arizona State University (ASU).  ASU’s ironically named “Rainbow Sections” of English 101 and 102 have been advertised on flyers and on the university’s website as being open to “Native Americans only.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has written to the university to demand that the classes be opened to all students. Shockingly, this marks the second time in less than four years that FIRE has been forced to protest a racially segregated course at ASU. “It is appalling that ASU would resurrect segregated classes five […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Arizona State University President Michael Crow, September 23, 2005

    September 23, 2005

    September 23, 2005 President Michael M. Crow Office of the President Arizona State University PO Box 877705 Tempe, Arizona 85287-7705 Sent by U.S. Mail and Facsimile (480-965-0865) Dear President Crow: As you can see from the list of our Directors and Board of Advisors, FIRE unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, academic freedom, due process, and freedom of speech on America’s college campuses.  Our website, thefire.org, will give you a greater sense of our identity and activities. In […]

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