The faculty of Seattle Pacific University, a Christian school associated with the Free Methodist Church, has taken a vote of no confidence in its board of trustees after members of the board declined to change its policy prohibiting the hiring of LGBTQ people.
The no-confidence vote, approved by 72% of the faculty, was the latest in a series of escalating clashes between faculty, students and the school’s governing board. Faculty and students also want the school to drop its statement on human sexuality, which declares marriage between a man and a woman as the only permitted expression of human sexuality. Of the 213 who voted, 153 faculty voted for the motion, 47 were opposed, and 13 abstained.
The board of trustees issued a statement last week saying it would not change its employment hiring policy, which excludes LGBTQ people from full-time positions. It has not yet responded to the no-confidence vote.
“The board recognizes that fellow Christians and other community members disagree in good faith on issues relating to human sexuality, and that these convictions are deeply and sincerely held,” the board chair, Cedric Davis, said in an April 12 statement. “We pray that as we live within the tension of this issue, we can be in dialogue with the SPU community.”
The board also indicated it was taking its stand because it wanted to continue to maintain its ties to the Free Methodist Church, a small denomination of about 70,000 in the United States and one million around the world. The Free Methodist Church has eight affiliated educational institutions, including Azusa Pacific, Spring Arbor, and Greenville universities.
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“Right now the board is the last remaining group that has not yet come to recognize that LGBTQ individuals can be faithful Christians, and as faculty and staff they would play positive roles on our campus, if we can hire them,” said Kevin Neuhouser, a professor of sociology at Seattle Pacific who is also the faculty adviser for Haven, the student club for LGBTQ students on campus.
Neuhouser said the school was engaged in a larger discussion of trying to discern what it means to follow Jesus. “Is it being faithful to include or exclude?” he asked.
The most recent conflict began in January when an adjunct nursing professor filed a lawsuit accusing the university of refusing him job opportunities because of his sexual orientation.
Jéaux Rinedahl alleged in the lawsuit that when he applied for a full-time, tenured position as an associate nursing professor, Seattle Pacific rejected his application because he’s gay.
The status of LGBTQ faculty and students at Christian colleges and universities has been roiling many campuses.
Last month, 33 LGBTQ students or former students at federally funded Christian colleges and universities filed a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education alleging widespread discrimination at 25 Christian colleges and universities, including Protestant, Latter-day Saint and Seventh-day Adventist schools.
One of the 33 students named in the suit is a trans man who attended Seattle Pacific, where he said he was harassed, humiliated and forced to sign a statement saying he knew he was “breaking lifestyle expectations.”
Jeff Walton, an alumnus of Seattle Pacific (’01) and communications manager with the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, said the vote today has been a long time in coming.
“Unofficial groups like Haven openly advocated for years that the school abandon lifestyle expectations on sexual conduct,” Walton said. “Pro-LGBT groups like Soulforce were allowed to organize their own events on campus with no contrary message from the school.”
Walton added that the school’s administration has spent years cultivating relationships with the local business community with the express aim of “engaging the culture, changing the world.” Yet he said “there is more conformity to the culture. The school faces a choice about if it will be distinctively Christian or not.”
In 2015, two Mennonite schools, Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College, announced they were updating their nondiscrimination policies to allow the hiring of married gay and lesbian faculty. They also withdrew from the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, though they maintain their Christian identity.
The Free Methodist Church formed in 1860, when it broke away from the larger Methodist Church over slavery. Free Methodists were abolitionists who also believed in women’s ordination. In the 20th century, it became more conservative. The denomination does not contribute financially to the school.
Last week, about 200 students held a vigil on campus to mourn what they called discriminatory practices toward LGBTQ people and to outline a series of demands.
Leah Duff, a 21-year-old senior at Seattle Pacific who considers herself queer, said she was disappointed in the board decisions and determined to continue to fight against the board and what she described as its discriminatory policies.
“It’s a smack in the face to have this reiterated that you want to take my money but I can’t be gay,” she said.
Duff said the students and alumni are planning a campaign to discourage donations to the school, cut its ties to community organizations and work to decrease enrollment at the school.
The school does not require students to sign a sexuality statement.
The story has been updated.
Yonat Shimron is a national reporter and senior editor for Religion News Service.
32 thoughts on “Seattle Pacific University Faculty Vote No Confidence in Board Over LGBTQ Exclusion”
Sad! Their desire is to destroy any biblical adherence. Why not transfer to a University where being gay isn’t an issue? They won’t because it not about them or their lifestyle, its all about destroying anything that reflects the one true God.
How discouraging that the faculty at a Christian college doesn’t know what the Word of God says about it, or worse maybe don’t care 😥what is being taught at the Christian Colleges these days?
I was a student at SPU in the early 80’s. I knew of two gay professors. The mantra was “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
If it doesn’t need to be made others’ business, don’t. How many LBQ activists realise they have inadvertently begun to over-egg “their own” pudding (i.e that of people smaller than themselves merely confused about the difference between “feelings” and “activities imposed on others”)? I was in a movement that made things my business that shouldn’t.
I am sorry to hear this once Biblical school has hired so many woke Professors.
Another one bites the dust. Ichabod.
When people choose to follow Jesus we are no longer our own. We belong to him. He wants us to give over everything about ourselves to Him—sexuality, position, provisions, pride and place—to submit it to Christ. He doesn’t force us to give it.
That can be difficult.
Ultimately, who do you live under
You? Or God?
The reason things like this are happening is because people calling themselves Christians are both totally ignorant of the Word of God and have, in general, completely lost their fear of God and the sometimes awful consequences of sin. What does God think of people who support LGBTQ free lifestyles? Read Judges 19 and 20 to see what God has already said and done to His Own People! If God did this once it can happen again.
Sin brings rot and I have already witnessed some of the disturbing consequences that are coming and indeed are already here. Those who are not of this lifestyle but actively trying to force it on everyone are treading on thin ice. This reinventing of who God is is just a smokescreen for evil. We can choose to call good as evil and vice versa but we are not the judge in the end. Letting this evil lose always ends in things like we read in Judges and with what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. None of us have the right to do what God hates. Some choose evil but it always, always only ends in death…
While I often appreciate your comments, both here and elsewhere, I feel I have to confront you about this one.
So many of my fellow Christians point to stories like Sodom and Gomorrah, and Judges 19, as though they’re an accurate representation of sexual minorities. I can’t agree. Both accounts depict men attempting to gang rape innocent men and strangers. None of this has anything to do with sex acts between gay men.
First of all, rape is a felony; it’s an act of violence, not sex. Also, it’s simply not the kind of behaviour that normal gay man participate in, any more than normal straight men regularly take part in gang raping helpless women. Even the Biblical accounts don’t describe the men as ‘homosexual’, but as ‘wicked’. That’s the reality: Men don’t rape other men because they’re gay. More generally, people don’t rape other people out of desire or attraction, but because they choose to be evil. As far as I can see, the men in the stories you cite have much more in common with Ariel Castro, Brian David Mitchell and Ravi Zacharias, rather than gay and lesbian couples just trying to live their lives as full-fledged citizens.
When we characterize the men of Sodom as homosexual, or (perhaps worse) LGBTQ people as being like the men in these stories, we’re not displaying knowledge of anything, not even the Word of God. We’re only displaying ignorance, and that’s no way to honour Jesus.
I think the author of the book of Jude would disagree, specifically v. 7. However, I would agree with your tone, that we should treat LGBTQ people with gentleness and respect, while not giving the impression that there is nothing in scripture they should be concerned about.
Jude 7 – “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”
James 1:15 – “Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death.”
What do I think is the lesson that Christians who ignore all of these warnings need to see? Just that it has been the norm that LGBTQ is outlawed throughout history. And why? Because when the opposite is tried it always brings forth the most starkest examples of evil leading to death. Just look at Ernst Rom of the Brownshirts and what he was doing 100 years ago. The evil has been sown and it is now growing and maturing. Once it is fully matured the fruit will be so obviously bad that no one will want to keep defending it…
Thank you for reminding me of that verse. But it raises the question: What “perversion” is Jude referring to? Does he mean homosexuality? Or does he mean the use of sex as an act of violence, rather than an act of love?
More literal translations such as the NASB use the phrase “went after strange flesh”, which would not imply violence as the issue. Personally, I have no axe to grind with homosexuals per se. And were this some anomaly in scripture, I could see perhaps arguing its meaning. But the hard truth is that from OT law to Paul’s epistles to this passage, every scriptural reference to homosexual activity is consistently connected to judgement. There’s just no getting around the fact that accommodating homosexual activity, even if it’s “loving/ monogamous” is not compatible with scriptural authority. One must come at the expense of the other.
I am not saying that Christians should in any way be openly hostile and mean to anyone, for that is not the way of Orthopraxy. What I am saying is that we should not be idiotic and foolish, nor should we be bullied into a position that is nothing more than compromise with the Devil.
The picture you paint of “nice homosexuals” who are mentally stable is not what I have seen at all. All 9 people I have ran into who fall under these categories have real mental illnesses that, at first look. would appear to have nothing at all to do with their sexual orientation. One tried to kill himself. Another was playing with a handgun while having strong suicidal ideations. What I have witnessed, and these people were very close friends, was absolute confusion, sickness and a host of problems.
Beyond that we know from scripture that God hates all things LGBTQ. My view is from what God thinks. I do not think he wants Christians to roll over and say it is all alright on one extreme nor does he want them to go out of there way to be mean, cruel and other things that offer no way out of the true snare these people are in. The reality is somewhere in the middle.
Practicing these things will get you excluded from paradise according to our scriptures. I have seen a cell myself in hell reserved for people who are tares or goats, they think they are Christian, but Jesus does not know them. It was the most real place I have ever been, this life here seems like a dream. It is real and very scary. So telling these folks that they can go to paradise and have eternal life without leaving behind their old lifestyle is just a lie and one of the worst things we can commit against these people.
And much of what you have said here is just b.s. which is part of the lie that is being sold everyone. Crime rates in the gay community are significantly higher than outside with the most likely victim also being another member of this community. Gay men who make up 1-3% of the whole of all men commit a full one-third of all sex crimes against children. This means that rates of sexual molestation are anywhere from 30-99 times higher in that community.
The last two gay people I saw were scary. They were managers and the way they talked they had no sense of what was and was not criminal activity. We have opened Pandora’s box once again and what is coming out is very scary. I believe we will soon see some very awful crimes committed very soon by these folks that cannot be covered up that will turn public opinion and it will be them doing it to themselves.
I know that you are a regular on Wartburg Watch. I have become so concerned about them letting all the pro-LGBTQ cocka slide on their site that I wrote up a very long article, more small booklet size and sent it to Dee and to Todd. I doubt it was read but the short of it is that all I have ever seen coming from the people, and I have been good friends with a couple, is very horrible fruit. The more this stuff is promoted the worse things get.
And you dodged my main point. God was so very upset at one of the tribes of his people that he told the rest to go out to war and kill them! This is reality. We do need to deal with that. The tribe that went out to defend their bisexual perverted brothers got almost totally wiped out at the direct order of out God. I wonder how many generations of the Benjamites it took for things to devolve so badly that some of them had no conscience about raping anyone they wanted, and how many generations did it take for their brothers to have no conscience at all about defending them to the extent of going to war and killing others of God’s own people? You simply cannot divorce the sexuality from the big picture there and the same thing happened at Sodom. The men at the center had no conscience at all and their sexuality had a whole lot to do with it.
I believe you. But it is what I’ve seen.
Have you considered the possibility that their illnesses weren’t, in fact, directly caused by being sexual minorities? Do you know what their home lives were like growing up? After finding the courage to come out, were they beaten by their parents, or thrown out and forced to live on the streets? Were they the targets of bullying and abuse by peers and classmates? Were they victims of sexual abuse at the hands of people they trusted? All of these and more could be factors in their broken condition.
Also, please keep in mind that your sample size is very small and purely anecdotal, and that correlation and correlation are not the same thing.
And may I see the source for the statistics you cite?
And the most recent stories I’ve read about modern evangelicals are just as appalling to me; I feel exactly the same way about some evangelical leaders. Would it therefore be reasonable of me to conclude that all evangelicals, or all Christians, are intrinsically disordered?
Well, of course, He did. Their actions were cruel, violent and deadly. God had every reason to punish them.
But He didn’t punish them, or the people of Sodom, simply for being sexual minorities. And your assumption that they were doesn’t stand to reason. The Biblical account doesn’t state that directly, and their sexual orientation can’t be deduced from the given facts. So you can’t infer that “their sexuality had a whole lot to do with it”, because we don’t know conclusively what their sexuality was.
Congragulations! You have dodged all the scriptures. I have references for all the things I said. But what good would it do if you will not believe what the scriptures already say? You are merely going along with the culture which is bad more often then not.
From my 17 page letter ignored by Dee and the others:
This same post talks about how 1/3 of victims are boys and 1/3 of offenders are gay men and that the total number of female offenders is very small, less than 1% among many other things from certain studies on pedophilia:
One – The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy published a study on the same topic, which discussed “the proportional prevalences of heterosexual and homosexual pedophilia.” The study commented on a study that found that “the percentage of the homosexual pedophiles would be 45.8.” Even adjusted downward for exhibitionists, “this would still indicate a much higher percentage (34 percent) of homosexuals among pedophiles than among men who prefer physically mature partners.”
Two – The International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology refers to homosexual pedophiles as a “distinct group.” The victims of homosexual pedophiles “were more likely to be strangers, that they were more likely to have engaged in paraphiliac behavior separate from that involved in the offense, and that they were more likely to have past convictions for sexual offenses. . . . Other studies greater risk of re-offending than those who had offended against girls” and that the “recidivism rate for male-victim offenders is approximately twice that for female-victim offenders.”
Three – A study in Archives of Sexual Behavior found that homosexual men are attracted to young males. The study compared the sexual age preferences of heterosexual men, heterosexual women, homosexual men, and lesbians. The results showed that, in marked contrast to the other three categories, “all but 9 of the 48 homosexual men preferred the youngest two male age categories,” which included males as young as age fifteen.
Four – A study on pedophilia in the Psychiatric Journal of the University of Ottawa reported: “According to the literature, findings of a two-to-one ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles have been documented.”
Five – The Journal of Sex Research reports a study that included “199 offenders against female children and 96 offenders against male children. . . . This would indicate a proportional prevalence of 32 percent of homosexual offenders against children.”
Six – A study of male child sex offenders in Child Abuse and Neglect found that fourteen percent targeted only males, and a further 28 percent chose males as well as females as victims, thus indicating that 42 percent of male pedophiles engaged in homosexual molestation.
Seven – The best epidemiological evidence indicates that only 2 to 4 percent of men attracted to adults prefer men (ACSF Investigators, 1992; Billy et al.,1993; Fay et al.,1989; Johnson et al.,1992); in contrast, around 25 to 40 percent of men attracted to children prefer boys (Blanchard et al.,1999; Gebhard et al.,1965; Mohr et al.,1964). Thus, the rate of homosexual attraction is 6 to 20 times higher among pedophiles.”
Eight – The stark imbalance between homosexual and heterosexual child molestationswas confirmed in the Archives of Sexual Behavior study itself, which divided 260 pedophile participants into three groups: “152 heterosexual pedophiles (men with offenses or self-reported attractions involving girls only), 43 bisexual pedophiles (boys and girls), and 65 homosexual pedophiles (boys only).” In other words, 25 percent of the offenders were homosexual pedophiles–or 41 percent if those who molest girls as well as boys are included.
Nine – Homosexual pedophiles sexually molest children at a far greater rate compared to the percentage of homosexuals in the general population. A study in the Journal of Sex Research found, as we have noted above, that “approximately one-third of had victimized boys and two-thirds had victimized girls.” The authors then make a prescient observation: “Interestingly, this ratio differs substantially from the ratio of gynephiles (men who erotically prefer physically mature females) to androphiles (men who erotically prefer physically mature males), which is at least 20 to 1.”
I have a lot more quotes. But again if you refuse to look at the scriptures what good would any more do?
“As far as I can see, the men in the stories you cite have much more in common with Ariel Castro, Brian David Mitchell and Ravi Zacharias, rather than gay and lesbian couples just trying to live their lives as full-fledged citizens.”
Your committing the burden of proof logical fallacy here. The burden of proof is on you to prove that their are “good couples who are gay.” Now I know that you are a Christian so one thing that we can agree on is that we cannot be the judge on what is good and what is not. God is the one that sets the mark for us to follow. So can you prove that anyone who practices any of the things that God detests is good meaning righteous by His standard?
For us to suggest that people practicing other things that are called abominations are actually good would be absurd, so why does LGBTQ get a pass? If two men who practice murder come together to further practice their crimes is that what God calls righteous? If two liars come together to better rip off many more people are they righteous? If two adulterers come together to multiply their adulteries are they righteous? If two child molesters come together to share pictures and multiply their crimes are they righteous? The burden of proof for gay sex not to be perverted and for it not to lead to seared consciences that commit more crimes is on you. I am just pointing people to what God has already said…
If you accept federal dollars and you you are in league with businesses then this issue will come to all funded christian colleges. I know of only one college, Hillsdale, who does not accept federal money. Businesses are leading the way in pressing for ideological conformity to the prevailing zeitgeist. The only way, as I see it, is to be willing to take a hit, by downsizing and be explicit about being a religious and confessional institution and seek donors and institutions that agree with your stance related to morality, ethics, and biblical revelation. There is no middle way anymore.This toxic ideology has no use for conservative viewpoints and seeks to silence or punish anyone or anything that stands in it’s way.
I do agree that young people are ignorant of the Christian Faith and Confessions. But it is partly the churches fault, and they grew up in an entirely changed culture and in a sense it is exclusionary. Jesus includes the human race and his grace is open to anyone, but the road is also narrow and few enter.
Also, there is some leeway as to whom a christian institution wishes to hire, and in what positions. Each religious institution has to decide what is honoring to the Lord-does any institution take this into account anymore?
I suspect that eventually any institution receiving state or federal money will have to hire those with alternative lifestyles whether they wish to or not, despite our Constitutional right to freedom of religion and speech.
“any institution receiving state or federal money will have to hire those with alternative lifestyles whether they wish to or not, despite our Constitutional right to freedom of religion and speech.” That is mostly accurate. What happens is these institutions that take Gov. money get so used to that funding that to suddenly loose it would be devastating so they just keep going along and now they teach all kinds of malarkey.
I agree Hillsdale may be the only place that does NOT accept tainted funding and they are an excellent college that I support as best as I can and also receive their FREE publication Imprimis. I highly recommend it. Also they offer FREE online courses in a variety of subjects. I’m currently taking Theology 101.
“The school does not require students to sign a sexuality statement.”
In addition to the hypothesis of agent-provocateurs possibly posing as leadership for students and faculty of genuine goodwill, it’s worth remembering that superficial and cliquey “body theology” melded with superficial and cliquey economic exclusion (a false counterreaction to Jim Jones and Harvey Milk perhaps), don’t represent God’s will that, since 1900 and Pope Leo’s prayer, was to be a Holy Spirit time. This was why churches used to teach (for good or ill) from a Creed and not a Statement.
External economics and politics are only counterreacting yet again (partly cynically and falsely). Occasionally, a dispute about somebody’s non-promotion may get built up a little beyond its real parameters, though sound cases should of course be considered. Celebrity disputes can prove as mixed a bag as celebrity anything. The practical suggestions of some other commenters are good but only if one remembers this context.
Sorry folks. Christianity is just not sufficiently “woke” to survive.
And so we may be leaving fairly soon.
Liberal churches tend to be the ones with declining memberships.
I am a Christian and lifelong resident of the Seattle area. I say good for the SPU Board but sad they have so many faculty with debased minds.
Romans 1:24–25 (ESV): “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
Romans 1 is about scoffers and sophists who reified (claimed the word is the thing – which it only is for God) and mistaught others under them. The precise population of the old Sodom – most of whom Abraham had just rescued – practised involuntary mutilation which is why the name of that town wasn’t a well-chosen general euphemism for most of the frightened and sentimental teens or early 20-somethings.
When I was a boy of 14 authority (authority I say) told us boys we should consider “having” sex outside marriage, hoping to titillate us (this was the time of Savile who was supported by churches, BBC, hospitals, those who recommend for medals) (I have met a traumatised BBC studio cameraman). Then along come “body theology” obsessives who say christian living “isn’t a vocation” if you happen to provisionally be single (and only with a “vocation” can you become christian), that marriage is all about sexual demands, that relating is having people meddle (in all matters) because I deserve no better. All lust degrades somebody or other, lying about politics / commerce / media / religion for power degrades, “pastors” spiritually maiming all within range (= widows and orphans) degrades politely and nicely: these perpetrators, who model the clique and not openness to the independent growth of the other other (third person = widows and orphans), will go from strength to strength.
This is “supposed to be” a sex thread and while there will be more people approaching churches demanding to be molly coddled re. their sexual foibles (a theme church leaders themselves elevated supreme long since), I’m referring to the others who hoped there could be a christian life that could be relevant to everything.
Whatever revelation God had made at any time, its meaning – that should have been taught – always was that His spiritual gifts would have a part in His providence: non financial embroilment will enable all to give the issues balanced and fair (non manipulative) airing if they know how. The Jer. 2 context is the false revival in Josiah’s time. When Christians cease vetoing and rationing Holy Spirit (a challenge this Ascension season) then they can talk “giving each other belief class”, “teaching meaning class”, any other “class”.
I attend a seminary and am in a human sexuality class. We were recently asked what our norm is regarding human sexuality. Half of us said we believe the foundation is between a man and woman. This upset the two in the class who refer to themselves as queer. The next week we were told we were being broken up in two groups: one that affirms lgbtq and one that holds evangelical norms. We had to use the feelings poker cards (google it) and watch a video on empathy. The prof told us in the evangelical norms group that the two girls wanted us disciplined and felt betrayed by the prof for not correcting us for giving our opinion. By far the most divisive thing I’ve been forced into.
“The prof told us in the evangelical norms group that the two girls wanted us disciplined and felt betrayed by the prof for not correcting us for giving our opinion.”
It’s all about tolerance and acceptance until it’s not, isn’t it.
Which seminary and prof?
Don’t mistake this for anything else than faculty institutional panic. They can see which way the wind is blowing. They are dependent on and owned by federal financial aid. They can see it will be on the chopping block. The institution and careers must be saved at any cost. We’ve seen this story over and over again from Harvard to Notre Dame.
You won’t see this happening at schools that don’t take Federal aid, like:.
Aletheia Christian College (Idaho)
Bethlehem College & Seminary (Minnesota)
Boyce College (Kentucky)
Christendom College (Virginia)
Faith Bible College (Maine)
Grove City College (Pennsylvania)
Gutenberg College (Oregon)
Hillsdale College (Michigan)
Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (Tennessee)
New College Franklin (Tennessee)
New Saint Andrews College (Idaho)
Patrick Henry College (Virginia)
Pensacola Christian College (Florida)
Principia College (Illinois)
Sattler College (Massachusetts)
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Kentucky)
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Texas)
Wyoming Catholic College (Wyoming)
“It’s not surprising that people can be bought off, the surprise is at how small the cost.” — Me
Maybe Westboro Baptist Church was right. :-0
My daughter is scheduled to attend starting next year. She has busted her butt to get an academic and athletic scholarship package that would have covered almpst all the costs. Due to Covid, we/she will now be on the hook for around 50k. She might as well go to the UW or any Ivy League school the way it sounds. I’m disgusted. I’m sorry but I came across this story doing a search for conservative professors at SPU and found this. We are all in dire straights people, and I fear its only going to get worse. Again, I apologize but we have just discovered that SPU might as well be Portland State.
There are over 6000 colleges in the US and I doubt that 1% hold to the scriptural view of sexuality. Why did the 213 faculty members seek employment at SPU when they oppose its beliefs and could have sought employment elsewhere. They were dishonest when they did so! I suggest the SPU board declare a “no confidence” vote in the 213 dishonest members of the faculty and invite them to leave if they cannot accept the SPU previously established beliefs.
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