In its 15 years, FIRE has fielded quite a few questions from media, supporters, and free speech advocates across the country. Here are some answers to some of the most common questions we get. We hope you find them helpful. If you have additional questions, you can contact us at fire@thefire.org.

What is FIRE?

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, is a nonprofit educational foundation based in Philadelphia. FIRE’s mission is to defend and sustain 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 individual liberty and dignity. FIRE protects the unprotected and educates the public about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

How do I join FIRE?

If you’re a student, faculty, or alumni, you can join FIRE’s Student Network. You can also join the fight for liberty on America’s college campuses by signing up for our email list so that you may receive the latest news and updates on cases happening around the country.

How can I contribute to FIRE?

FIRE offers its donors many different options for donating, including the option to give right now through our secure online donation form.

I care about the issues. What can I do?

FIRE encourages you to Take Action in cases that you feel passionately about. On our website, we have given students, faculty, every-day citizens, and lawyers examples of ways they can help create change on college campuses. From hosting FIRE speakers, to posting widgets on your website, to writing to university administrators, there is a lot you can do to help the fight for liberty.

I feel my rights were violated, who can help?

FIRE may be able to help you if your case fits within our mission. Please submit your case to FIRE at thefire.org/cases/submit.

Who works at FIRE?

FIRE employs a diverse staff from across the ideological and political spectrum with varying educational backgrounds. For more information about individual members of FIRE’s staff, please see our staff page.

What is FIRE’s political affiliation?

FIRE is nonpartisan; its staff, Board of Directors, and Board of Advisors comprise individuals from across the political spectrum.

How does FIRE pick its cases?

FIRE responds to all case submissions. We only take cases, however, that fall within FIRE’s mission and programs. FIRE has limited resources and receives a remarkable number of requests for help. We are, therefore, unable to take many cases that touch upon important issues. FIRE does not adjudicate genuine questions of academic merit, which sometimes arise during tenure reviews and grading of student work. FIRE also does not take cases that are from the staff of colleges or universities, involve elementary or high schools, are from outside the United States, or are submitted by phone or fax.

Does FIRE litigate?

Since its incorporation as a nonprofit organization in 1999, FIRE has intervened successfully in defense of liberty-related issues on behalf of hundreds of students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the country. While many of the cases we accept can be resolved quickly and amicably by FIRE’s staff, other cases require the intervention of an attorney. Because FIRE is not a law firm and does not undertake direct litigation, these cases must be referred to FIRE’s Legal Network, a nationwide team of outside attorneys who share our principles, values and goals. If you’re interested in joining our Legal Network, please consider signing up here.

Who can I speak to regarding a certain case?

All media requests can be emailed to media@thefire.org or you can contact a FIRE representative by calling 215-717-3473. If you are involved in a certain case, contact Peter Bonilla at peter@thefire.org.