A New Strategy of Guides to Student Rights on Campus

March 11, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Tuesday, March 11th, 2003, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) celebrates the formal launch of the FIRE Guides to Student Rights on Campus and of the Guides website: www.thefireguides.org. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese and ACLU President Nadine Strossen, among others, will address the significance of the Guides in defeating the assault on student rights at colleges and universities.

In response to great demand from thousands of victims of abuse of power, FIRE implemented its Know Your Rights program to address the urgent need for students and parents to understand the legal and moral status of student rights on our nation’s campuses and to understand the means to defend and assert these rights. The Guides will also educate administrators, trustees, and college and university attorneys about their legal obligations both in the private and public university setting.

Written by legal experts, each Guide addresses both the ways in which students’ rights are curtailed on campuses today and the ways to make those rights whole: FIRE’s Guide to Religious Liberty on Campus; FIRE’s Guide to Student Fees, Funding, and Legal Equality on Campus; FIRE’s Guide to Due Process and Fair Procedure on Campus; FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus; and FIRE’s Guide to First-Year Orientation and to Thought Reform on Campus.

This event will take place in the Ballroom of the National Press Club (529 14th Street, NW) in Washington, DC and will begin at 12:00 o’clock noon. FIRE’s codirectors, Alan Charles Kors and Harvey A. Silverglate, will introduce the Guides, their authors, and members of the Board of Editors in attendance. Board members will each speak briefly about the significance of the Guides. FIRE will also officially launch a website, www.thefireguides.org that will allow students online access to download the Guides free of charge.

The Guides will become indispensable tools to challenge and end the censorship, kangaroo courts, double standards, violation of foundational rights, and arbitrary practices that currently prevail at too many of our college campuses. “We trust that these Guides will enable a wholly new kind of discourse on college and university campuses,” said FIRE’s President, Alan Charles Kors; “A nation that does not educate in liberty will not long enjoy it, and will not even know when it has lost it.”

A distinguished group of legal scholars, selected from across the political and ideological spectrum, serves as the Board of Editors to the Guides. The Board advises FIRE on each of the Guides. The political and philosophical diversity of the Board demonstrates that campus liberty is not a matter of partisan politics, but of the rights and responsibilities of free individuals in a free society.

The board of editors is composed of Vivian Berger, Nash Professor of Law Emerita, Columbia Law School, and General Counsel/ National Board Member of the ACLU; Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Paul McMasters, First Amendment Ombudsman, Freedom Forum First Amendment Center; Edwin Meese III, Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy, the Heritage Foundation and former Attorney General of the United States; Roger Pilon, B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies and Vice President for Legal Affairs at the Cato Institute; Jamin Raskin, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law; and Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU and Professor of Law at New York Law School.

FIRE’s mission is to defend, sustain, and restore individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of human liberty and dignity. For more information about the FIRE Guides to Student Rights on Campus visit www.thefireguides.org.

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