Brandeis University
Waltham, MA, USA

Reviews

Brandeis University
3.90 Average Rating

Juan from San Luis, AZ

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Brandeis is the perfect place for anybody who does not only seek a rigorous and rewarding education in the classroom, but also for those who pursue an environment rich in culture and diversity. Yes, while there is a strong Jewish presence both in reputation and in person, there are far more people than those of Judaic faith -- people from literally all corners of the world contribute their individual cultures and beliefs for the perfect world village. Besides, its location near Boston and Cambridge makes Brandeis perfect for volunteering opportunities, internships, and even a vibrant social scene.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure that you study everything you possibly can in high school. Brandeis is a place that seeks active participation in academics in their applicants and making sure to take those classes that challenge you will clearly give you an advantage. Also make sure to volunteer and do extracurricular activities. There is so much to do on campus and there is something for everyone (even I was a skeptic about this and now I can't find the time to be involved in everything I seek to join!). Learning to balance your time and effort early in high school will certainly impress the Admissions Office and also allow you to balance yourself once here.
Academic Rigor
Brandeis has a well-earned reputation that its science disciplines are particularly rigorous. Indeed they are -- however, this derives from the fact that work is mostly fast-paced and independent (textbook readings are a must as will additional, however optional, practice problems). The same applies to all other courses, as well. From German to Natural Nanotechnology, all courses will keep your hands full but will reward you heavily as the learning comes in tremendous amounts. Besides, the professors and other programs here are always more than willing to help you whenever you need to.
Dorm Life
Each dormitory varies depending on location and the Quad (section) they are in, however they are all great. Freshman dorms in particular (located in Massell and North Quads) are fantastic to meet people. While they are in different sections of campus (Massell is much more central to campus while North is nearing the edge), they each have their own perks, such as being near different dining halls and lecture buildings. Overall, the dorms are not 5-star hotel suites, but they are doable and will provide a bonding experience with not only your roommates but also the people in your hall. Some of the strongest friendships were created from socializing within the dormitories!
Food and Dining
In 2013, Brandeis changed dining providers from Aramark to Sodexo. The latter has so far provided a variety of dining choices to students, and returning students have said that the food is by far better than previous years'. Freshmen don't complain as food is often tasty. If there is any issue, it would be the lack of variety in the Sherman Dining Hall (All-you-care-to-eat services) -- however this is usually resolved by alternating between dining locations as they all provide their different tastes!
What to do for fun
Brandeis' location near Boston and Cambridge makes it the ideal location for anybody who seeks to spend a night in the city. Furthermore, Brandeis does have an arcade-style location in the Usdan Student Center that allows for students to enjoy themselves without leaving campus. Although fraternities are not recognized by the university, they do exist and often have off-campus parties which can in turn be quite fun. There is no shortage of activities in the Brandeis campus either as there is always something going on -- from mud parties to movie nights to good-fun competitions.
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ManOfLaMancha

a current student here
15 people found this review useful
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In three sentences
Brandeis is an all inclusive school with everything a student could wish for. Busting at the seams with student diversity, clubs of all kinds, and professors that you can approach at almost any time, the smaller community of Brandeis University is perfect for those who want to do it all. The opportunities for study and involvement in the campus and surrounding community are immense, and you will never have a moment where you find yourself without options of entertainment or participation in the school or the surrounding area.
Tips for prospective students
Brandeis has a very flexible faculty that will help you pursue your goals, even if you don't know what they may be right now. You can follow your interests and dreams through a multitude of majors, but also fill in any holes with the almost ridiculous amount of clubs. Close to Boston, it is easy to get off campus for some fun, but you and also always find something to do at school, whether it be a play,an a capella performance, comedy troupes, guest speakers, or special showings of movies before they get released in theaters.
Academic Rigor
You get what you take at Brandeis. There is a very strong academic presence on campus, and many student work tirelessly throughout each semester, but it is a personal choice. Students often overwhelm themselves with too much on their plate, but regardless of the number of clases you take, each class is challenging in its own way, and teachers will make you work for your grades. After all, you are here to learn.
Dorm Life
The dorms at Brandeis are eclectic to say the least. The division between grades is evident for underclassmen, with freshmen living by themselves. Once you get to sophomore year however, your options explode. Our biggest dorm attraction has to be the castle, because really, who doesn't want to live in a castle. There are plenty of buildings to go around, and with a growing emphasis on green living, the options you can take to enhance your sustainability can also be catered to whe choosing a dorm. Dorm life is social and a great way to meet people too, and you will often be surprised how much fun a roommate can be!
Food and Dining
The food here is what most would call average. While students have tried to made recent changes to dining options, the food has been slow to adapt. That is not to say that Brandeis food is bad. Its not. The food here is nothing to brag about, but the options are numerous. You name it, we probably have it. A big part of dining here is the presence of kosher dining options which are excellent.
What to do for fun
Brandeis is synonymous with fun. As I mentioned above, club activities are constant on campus, but to reiterate, international food nights, quidditch, club sports, concerts, open mics, coffee houses, plays, poker nights, school sponsored parties, movies, activity fairs, the list goes on. And if there isn't enough for you on campus, nearby Waltham has excellent restaurants, and Boston, only a bus or train ride away is filled with things to do.
Bang for the buck
Brandeis is just about as expensive as many other private colleges in this day in age. Your money is worth a lot here. You are getting an amazing education, and will learn so many valuable skills, and meet so many helpful and influential people. Brandeis is a great investment for your education.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There are often school breaks on Jewish holidays due to the large percentage of the student population that is Jewish. That is not to say, that we don't get breaks for other holidays as well, there is just a larger presence of Judaism, and many other religions at Brandeis than you might find at other schools.
Great for these types of students
Eccentric, and possibly shy students. If you haven't made up your mind of what you will do in the future, great! Brandeis may be for you. You will follow your passions here and find your future a much clearer path than when you started.
Clubs and Activities
If I havent said enough thus far, I apologize, but there are over 250 clubs that do seriously anything and everything you could ever imagine!
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Alexander from North Branford, CT

a current student here
10 people found this review useful
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In three sentences
When I first applied, I really had no interest in going to Brandeis. Somehow I wound up changing my mind, and after taking a closer look, I fell in love. Now I'm here and not a day goes by that I'm not proud to be a Brandeisian.
Tips for prospective students
Visit the campus and take a tour, definitely, but don't be discouraged by the way it looks on the surface. I really didn't want to go when I first started looking, but after talking to some of the students and sitting in on a couple of lectures, I was sold. Oh, and bring quarters; doing laundry is the worst.
Academic Rigor
To be honest, it depends on the classes that you're taking, but, as a pre-med, I can tell you that the science courses are really intense. Chemistry especially is killer. While the courses are difficult, and you'll likely find yourself struggling to keep up, you'll come out of each and every one of your courses satisfied. How much you get from them depends on the amount of work you put in, but you'll never hear anyone at Brandeis say that they aren't being adequately challenged.
Dorm Life
Dorm life is kind of random. If you end up in a hall with cool people, you'll love it; if you don't, you won't. The actual dorm buildings are decent; some of the freshmen dorms are much nicer than others, though (you do NOT want to live in Shapiro). If you don't like the people living around you, though, you can always make friends elsewhere and hang out with them in their hall instead (I would still make an effort to do that even if you DO like your neighbors). Upperclassmen housing is nicer, for the most part. Some places in East are really run-down, but I don't hear many people complaining about their living space. I'm giving it four stars because the vast majority of the people here are some of the nicest and friendliest that you'll ever meet, so no matter where you're living, you'll have people to hang out with.
Food and Dining
The food is... okay. The two main dining halls are Sherman and Usdan. Sherman takes more of a quantity over quality mentality; you can eat as much food as you want (pizza, burgers, pasta, salad, ice cream, etc.) and it's not bad, but it's not great either. They DO have special theme nights sometimes, though, and the food at those is much better than the typical fare. Usdan takes the opposite approach; the food is better than what you'll find at Sherman, but it's a la carte, so you have to pay for everything individually.

Also worth mentioning is the dining plan: depending on which one you sign up for, you'll get meals or points. A meal is worth a set dollar amount, and that amount changes depending on the time of day; in the morning it's worth around $4, and at night it's worth roughly $8. You can use a meal to buy food worth up to that amount in Usdan, or you can use one to sit down at Sherman. Most people save their meals for Sherman, because that's the best deal. Points are
What to do for fun
Student Events always has tons of awesome things going on, ranging anywhere from mini-golf to concerts (last year we had Childish Gambino and fun.), and the best part is that all of their events are free! Other than that, most people will spend their free time hanging out with friends, watching movies, or going into Boston. Brandeis runs a free shuttle into the city, Thursday through Sunday, so that's always a really nice option to have on weekends. If you're looking for a party school, Brandeis isn't for you. There are parties, but they're usually pretty tame, and when they get out of control, they get broken up quickly. Unless you're going to college looking for ragers and this is a dealbreaker for you, you'll never have to look far to find something to do.
Bang for the buck
Brandeis is expensive, but worth every penny. We're not as highly regarded as, say, Harvard, but a Brandeis degree still holds a lot of weight in the academic field. You'll have a leg up after graduation, no matter what you plan on doing. The people that you'll meet here are truly unique, too; Brandeisians are hardworkers that know what they want and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve. Consequently, you'll find that many Brandeis alumni go on to be quite successful, which means you'll graduate with connections that are almost as valuable as your degree.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The castle! I don't know if it's really a tradition, but one of the big rites of passage for freshmen is to find their way up onto the roof of one (or several) of the towers. This isn't really encouraged by the security people, but the view of Boston from the roof of B tower cannot be beat.

Chum's is another really well-known place on campus. It's a coffee shop in the castle, where they often have concerts (sometimes by well-known bands: Fleetwood Mac played here once) and student-run shows and events. It's really calm and the people that work there are probably the coolest on campus. Definitely check it out if you're touring.

There are dozens of other cool, secret places around campus that beg to be explored (the mirror room and graffiti tower in the castle, the peace room, and the roof of the Faculty Club, to name a few); I don't want to share them all here, because that takes all of the fun out of it, but if you're ever on campus, be sure to ask around!
Great for these types of students
Students that are nerdy and proud. Everyone on campus is passionate about something, be that theatre, physics, Harry Potter, a capella, abstract math, Disney films, or anything else under the sun.

Brandeis students also tend to be very liberal, and they're not afraid to show it; we're very concerned with social justice, and at any given moment you can find probably five or six different fundraisers or events going on with the goal of helping out those that are less fortunate. People who like to volunteer will fit in perfectly here.

If you work hard to pursue your passion, have an open mind, and care about the welfare of those around you, then Brandeis is absolutely the school for you.

**I also just want to say quickly: Brandeis is not just a place for Jewish students. While it is true that we have a very large Jewish population, you certainly won't feel alienated at all if you aren't. I was really worried about this when I moved in, but I was pleasantly surprised by how accepting and accommodating the Jewish community is. Not only have I made a lot of great friends, despite not being Jewish, but I've been exposed to a new culture and a new set of traditions that I knew virtually nothing about before coming. Don't listen to people that say that you have to be Jewish to go to Brandeis. You don't. I'm not.
Clubs and Activities
No matter what you want to do, you'll find other people at Brandeis that want to do it, too. We have everything that you'd expect to find at a university, from theatre and a capella groups to Physics Club, along with a lot of other groups that you wouldn't expect, like Brewing Club, Comic Book Club, and Pokemon Club. We also have some cool club sports, like fencing and quidditch (you should definitely try out quidditch. seriously.). And if somehow, you manage to think of something that we DON'T have, it's EXTREMELY easy to start your own club or organization on campus. If I could give Brandeis seven stars here, I would.
Greek Life
While the university doesn't officially recognize the existence of frats/sororities, they do exist, just outside of campus. The vast majority of students aren't involved in Greek life, but if you're interested, they're there. The frat houses throw some of the better parties on the weekends, if that's something you're into, but beyond that they don't have a very large presence on campus. It's the sort of thing where if you want to find it, you don't have to look far, but at the same time, if you're not interested, nobody's going to try to force you to join.
Campus Safety
Brandeis is a remarkably safe campus. There's virtually no crime; last year there were only one or two theft incidents, and there really aren't any other sorts of safety threats that I can think of. The security is pretty lax, though, which is nice; students and guests can come and go as they please without signing in, and this works out for everyone because nobody likes having to fill out paperwork to have a friend stay over. I'm not sure if this is the result of an honest student body or if it's the cause, but either way I would say that Brandeis is probably up there with some of the safest schools in the country. If you don't believe me, look up the stats; all college campuses release their crime statistics publicly on the internet.
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Audrey from Littleton, CO

a current student here
10 people found this review useful
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Am learning a lot
I am offered tons of opportunities to explore Academics at Brandeis. I love that can take courses that count towards my major and minors, while still taking courses that just happen to spark my interest. For instance, last semester I took beginning Russian, because I was fascinated by the Russian language and culture. In addition, most classes cross count for more than one department (and major). There are a plethora of Academic programs at Brandeis including: Experiential Learning, JBS semester long programs, Study Abroad, etc. All of my Professors attended the most prestigious universities including: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkley, etc. Above all, I learn every day from my peers, whom are truly remarkable people in and outside of the classroom. I am challenged Academically at Brandeis!
Am enjoying being here
Brandeis is an incredibly welcoming community. The people at Brandeis are making my college experience stellar. I look around and admire my friends for all their fantastic accomplishments. While everyone here is an overachiever invested in his/her own Academics and Extracurriculars, it is a supporting community. Each of my friends truly want to see me succeed just as much as they do for his/herself. That said, I study really, really hard and often.
Bang for the buck
Brandeis provides good financial aid, yet I still have a lot in loans. They offer need based as well as Academic scholarships. My advice would be to apply to Brandeis even though the sticker price is over $50,000. The university provides aid to students who are accepted. Overall, money did not stop me from attending.
Tips for prospective students
Brandeis is a wonderful school for students interested in gaining the perspective of other bright minds. It is the perfect size for me, because it is a big, small school with 3200 undergraduates. It is quite a liberal university in terms of social political policy. Overall, Brandeis students are involved with Academics and are almost always dedicated to extracurriculars.
Great for these types of students
Brandeis is right for people who are: bold, unique, bright, funny, well cultured, kind, caring, adventurous, and tastefully awkward.

Brandeis is the first place that I have been able to totally and completely be myself. I am not afraid of what others will think of me.
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Abigail from Verona, NJ

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
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Am learning a lot
The professors are absolutely brilliant.
Am enjoying being here
I've met the most amazing people. The community is incredible.
Bang for the buck
A little on the expensive side. I've had some trouble with their scholarships.
Tips for prospective students
If you get accepted, check out the Course Evaluation Guide before signing up for classes. And don't be afraid to shop classes for the first couple weeks before deciding which ones you really want to take.
Great for these types of students
Down to earth, accepting, hard-working, fun loving, adventurous
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Rachel

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
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Am learning a lot
Learning at Brandeis is largely what you make of it: I know I'm learning a lot because I take time to meet with professors, select interesting classes, and pursue a major that I'm passionate about. Brandeis does have distribution requirements to fulfill throughout your four years, but if you search a little it's possible to find a class in each discipline to interest you. Introductory-level lecture classes can seem limiting, in terms of opportunities to meet with professors and grow academically. However, upper-level classes (which you can start taking even as early as late freshman year) really provide an experience to connect with professors in a small, intimate setting and learn quite a lot.
Am enjoying being here
Brandeis is a kind of idyllic college environment - it has an open, green campus, very active student life, and wonderful academic opportunities. Students really get involved in everything from political and cultural clubs to intramural sports, theater, and music groups. However, though Brandeis is only nine miles away from Boston, those nine miles are quite substantial unless you have a car. The campus can sometimes seem like a bubble - if you are the kind of person who wants to spend a lot of time in the city, or have a really active and dynamic social life, this might not be the place for you.
Bang for the buck
When you pay tuition at Brandeis, you're paying for a great liberal-arts education as well as a degree from a very well-respected academic institution. Unfortunately, you're still paying about $50,000 a year. Though Brandeis offers some financial aid to most students, it can still be a struggle to afford for some. However, Brandeis has a unique focus on undergraduate education and can really open the door to great opportunities.
Tips for prospective students
Visit the campus! It's important to get a feel for the place, and there's no better way to do that then visiting - for a full day and night, if you can. Interacting with current students, sitting in on a couple classes, and navigating the campus yourself is the best way to tell whether Brandeis is a good fit for you.
Great for these types of students
Brandeis is a really comfortable place for someone who is looking to become a big fish in a small pond. The rather isolated campus and close-knit student body is perfect for students who are academically focused and want a close community. It's great for students who are looking to expand their involvement in extracurricular activities, especially in politics or social justice. However, it's not a party school in the slightest; if you want easy access to Boston or a thriving social scene, Brandeis may not be the place for you.
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Alexandra from Seattle, WA

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
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In three sentences
Brandeis is an amazing university with tons of opportunities. It provides the fun vibe of a summer camp while also fostering great knowledge and a professional atmosphere - you form great relationships not only with your peers, but with your professors. Brandeis University, as a whole, truly cares for your well being.
Tips for prospective students
Get in touch with current Brandeis students and talk to them about their Brandeis experience. What are their likes? Dislikes? What is one thing they would want to change about Brandeis?
Academic Rigor
Brandeis is a school for very ambitious students. You have the option to do up to 3 majors and 3 minors in your undergraduate career, which is a ton. I personally am doing 2 majors and 2 minors, giving me a full plate of academics in addition to my extracurricular activities.
Dorm Life
Dorming is really fun. I was always very nervous about sharing a room because I was an only child but it turned out great. Brandeis has great dorming options, not to mention the possibility of living in a castle during your sophomore year.
Food and Dining
Brandeis has 2 main dining halls and a bunch of other smaller cafes and markets around campus with a variety of options. One of the main dining halls is all-you-can-eat and is split kosher and non-kosher. I personally keep kosher and the food is fantastic on the kosher side. I hear great things about the non-kosher side, as well. My favorite part of dining on campus is Einsteins Bagels which is open very late on school nights for students to get their late night snack. Another cool feature of Brandeis dining is the catering service. If you want to have a special secluded meal just for you and your friends, you can order a catered meal. Or maybe you just want a cake for a birthday celebration, that can happen too.
What to do for fun
With over 250 clubs, the highest ratio of clubs to students of any college in the US, there is never a dull moment at Brandeis. However, if you ever feel like you want to get off campus, which I rarely do, Brandeis is only 9 miles away from Boston and has a commuter rail stop right in front of the university for the students' convenience. Brandeis also has a weekend shuttle that runs into Boston every 2 hours and drops of at popular locations.
Greek Life
Greek life exists but is not the main social scene on campus.
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Stephanie from Napa, CA

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
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In three sentences
A small tight-knit community. Super welcoming and accepting of everyone. Academically rigorous beyond belief.
Tips for prospective students
If you're looking for a place that'll challenge you academically while staying true to a smaller sized college, Brandeis is a good place for you. It isn't necessarily a party school and it lacks the exciting flare of a Boston college, but it makes up for it in wonderful students who are all enthusiastic about being there and wanting to make a difference.
Academic Rigor
Most people either have a double major or multiple minors and constantly take on more than they can handle. But they do it well. Brandeis isn't a place you would go if you want to breeze through college.
Dorm Life
The dorms vary in quality. Freshman dorms tend to be cramped and uninspiring, but there is a castle on campus for sophomores and juniors and some of the newer dorms are super nice.
Food and Dining
Not the most inspiring and flavor-filled food you're going to find at an educational institution. There are two main dining halls, one which has a buffet style serving and one which is like a food court. There's also some small coffee shops around campus and a store which is usually well-stocked.
What to do for fun
Waltham isn't what you would call the epicenter of fun. Taking a free shuttle into Boston on the weekends is the best bet. You're bound to find someone in the dorms organizing a game night or you can go check out the multitude of different performances that are constantly going on around campus.
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Christina from Waltham, MA

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
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In three sentences
in three sentences, brandeis is academically rigorous - the science courses in particular are taught at a much higher level here than at other schools. the social life is atrocious because parties end early and are usually pretty lame but the people at brandeis are really friendly and approachable (which you don't get at bigger schools). and lastly, the professors are incredibly qualified and if one was taking advantage of their education, they would be bugging their professors often.
Tips for prospective students
don't come expecting brandeis to be easy, especially since it isn't an ivy league and many students use it as a back up for ivy league schools - brandeis is very much ahead of its time. come to brandeis with an open mind and a tough exterior because this school will really help shape you.
Academic Rigor
have i not mentioned this yet? brandeis is not an easy school.
Dorm Life
the dorms are honestly kind of unfortunate but hey, most dorms are.
Food and Dining
the dining services on campus are only getting better than they were when i was at brandeis.
What to do for fun
make friends and hang out with them...
Bang for the buck
utilize your professors' office hours, work for them in their labs, take courses outside of your major, get fridays off and play an instrument on the great lawn.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
sachar woods has a few bonfire pits and there are lots of sneaky locations on campus to explore, for whatever reason.
Great for these types of students
socially awkward!
Clubs and Activities
there are over 300 clubs at brandeis, choose one and choose wisely.
Greek Life
fortunately, the greek life isn't acknowledged by brandeis because they feel in its existence, it purports exclusion based on whatever (religion, race, social standing, what-have-you), but it does exist. we have i think three sororities and four fraternities and they throw decent parties... usually.
Campus Safety
private school, small campus - i'm surprised it's as safe as it is given there seems to be no regulation of who comes on and off campus but the three exits/entrances to campus make you feel either incredibly safe or incredibly cornered.
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cristian from bronx, ny

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
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In three sentences
brandies is a unique campus where the jewish community will change your experience here. the best part of this campus is the people because they are very unjudgemental and friendly. the friendships you make here will be forever i can reassure you.
Tips for prospective students
i would research the university through the website, youtube videos, and campus visits. you will only know if brandeis is for you after you visit it.
Academic Rigor
brandeis is known for its academic rigor, so you wlll not be unsatisfied with the courseload.
Dorm Life
it could be better, but the buildings are kept very clean.
Food and Dining
probably the worse part of brandeis. the food it's the greatest but you can definitely survive with what's available.
What to do for fun
i joined the brandeis rowing crew team, brandeis salseros, and i currently pledging one of the fraternities.
Bang for the buck
the academics is worth it but the gym, dining food and some housing options makes it questionable.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
you will experience a lot of the jewish culture here from holidays (a few days off school) to kosher dining halls.
Great for these types of students
people who are not big on sports and those who don't party too much.
Clubs and Activities
there are many things to pick from sports to creative arts. and if you don't find something for yourself you can easily create your own club.
Greek Life
greek life is present on campus and quite frankly the only reason why the campus is not completely dead on the weekends.
Campus Safety
on campus you are very safe, but outside the campus there are a few incidents every year.
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