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Arizona State University Lifts Ban On Change.org Website

First Posted: 02/ 6/2012 4:40 pm Updated: 02/ 6/2012 4:42 pm

Arizona State Changeorg

Arizona State University infuriated activists when the school decided to block access to Change.org, a popular site that allows people to create and sign petitions in an effort to produce social change.

According to Free Press -- a nonpartisan media reform organization -- ASU decided to lift the ban after being inundated with "thousands of complaints."

The school is claiming that the now discarded ban had nothing to do with the content of Change.org, but rather was implemented to protect students and the university's network from spam and viruses.

"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," a university statement says. "ASU strongly supports the First Amendment and an individual's or group's right to free speech."

But the blog Common Dreams noted that Change.org is currently hosting a petition demanding ASU reduce its tuition rates.

"The corruption and greed that masquerades as Arizona State government must come to this realization now. The citizens of the State Of Arizona and the students at Arizona State University demand better," the petition states.

A writer for Common Dreams who used to work for Change.org shot back at the university's claims, saying, "Change.org is anything but spam. It's a perfectly lawful website that has helped millions take action on a host of important issues."

The university apparently felt the battle wasn't worth fighting and announced last week that access to Change.org had been restored.

"The university acknowledges and understands the expression of concern from some members of the community who desire access to Change.org from university computing resources," the school said in a statement obtained by Free Press. "The university has removed the restriction against site access from university computing resources."

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Filed by Simon McCormack  |