Greg Lukianoff is the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and has been with FIRE since 2001, when he was hired to be the organization’s first director of legal and public advocacy. Greg is a member of the State Bar of California and the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Greg is the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate and has published articles inThe Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, the New York Post, The Stanford Technology Law Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Reason, Congressional Quarterly, The Charleston Law Review, and numerous other publications. He is a blogger for the Huffington Post and authored a chapter in Templeton Press’s anthology New Threats to Freedom, edited by Adam Bellow. Greg is a frequent guest on local and national syndicated radio programs, has represented FIRE on national television shows, including CBS Evening News, The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC’s Dr. Nancy, The Abrams Report, Hannity and Colmes, Stossel, Scarborough Country, and Buchanan and Press, and has testified before the U.S. Senate about free speech issues on America’s campuses. In 2008 he became the first ever recipient of the Playboy Foundation Freedom of Expression Award and in 2010 he received Ford Hall Forum’s Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award on behalf of FIRE.
Greg is a graduate of American University and of Stanford Law School, where he focused on First Amendment and constitutional law. Before joining FIRE, Greg practiced law in Northern California, interned at the ACLU of Northern California and the Organization for Aid to Refugees in Prague, Czech Republic, and was the development manager of the EnvironMentors Project in Washington, D.C. Greg, along with Harvey A. Silverglate and David French, is a co-author of FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus. Greg is also a proud member of the board of directors of Philadelphia’s Theatre Exile.
Senior Vice President
Robert L. Shibley, FIRE’s Senior Vice President, is a native of Toledo, Ohio, and a graduate of Duke University and Duke University School of Law. Robert’s undergraduate experience serving as the managing editor of the Duke Review newspaper, which frequently decried (and faced) administrative censorship and bias, led him to a career defending the rights of college and university students and faculty members. Since starting at FIRE in 2003, Robert has aided students and faculty members at dozens of colleges and universities. He is also a member of the bar in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Florida. As Senior Vice President, along with traveling to various campuses to speak about First Amendment issues, Robert has represented FIRE publicly on Stossel, Fox and Friends, and Lou Dobbs Tonight, in national and international radio and TV interviews, and in published editorials in the New York Post, Boston Globe, National Review, Providence Journal, Daily Oklahoman, and other newspapers. He also writes columns for The Daily Caller, Forbes.com, and Pajamas Media. Robert and his wife Araz live in Apex, North Carolina, with their two daughters, Grace and Cecily.
Director, Individual Rights Defense Program
Peter Bonilla has been with FIRE since 2008 and worked with FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program since 2009, becoming director in 2013. As Director he manages FIRE’s caseload, writes frequently for FIRE’s blog,The Torch, and has lectured to student groups and at student conferences around the country. Since January 2011, Peter has also been a contributor for the political commentary website PolicyMic, covering issues in American higher education. Prior to joining FIRE, Peter was Literary Manager of Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company, one of the country’s top theatres for the development and production of new politically and socially-themed plays. He is also a past recipient of a fellowship in playwriting from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and his first play was produced to critical acclaim in Arizona in September 2011. In 2009, Peter was a contestant on the television game show Jeopardy! His undergraduate degree, with a double major in theater arts and economics, is from the University of Pennsylvania.
Director of Legal and Public Advocacy
William Creeley, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, is a proud native of Buffalo, N.Y. William graduated from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2003. As an undergraduate, he earned a B.A. magna cum laude in political science and critical theory, served as a student senator, received a Founders’ Day Award, and was the graduation speaker for both the Gallatin School graduation ceremony and the All-University commencement. In 2006, William graduated from New York University School of Law, where he served as an associate executive editor for the New York University Law Review. A former FIRE legal intern (2004), William began defending student and faculty rights for FIRE in 2006. William has spoken to students, faculty, and administrators at events across the country and online and has led FIRE’s Continuing Legal Education programs in New York and Pennsylvania. William has coauthored amicus curiae briefs submitted to a number of courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. William has appeared on national cable television and radio on behalf of FIRE, and William’s writing has been published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Jurist, Inside Higher Ed, Daily Journal, the Charleston Law Review, the Providence Journal, The Boston Phoenix, Free Inquiry, The Legal Satyricon, and others. William is a member in good standing of the New York State Bar, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, and the Freedom of Expression Network.
Vice President of Finance and Information Technology
Sean Clark graduated from Penn State University in 2003 where he earned a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in History. As an undergraduate, he presided over Undergraduate Student Government Senate as its president, chaired the Student Organization Appeals Board, and served as vice-chairman and later as chairman of Penn State Young Americans for Freedom. In 2001, Sean became involved with FIRE when the foundation intervened on the behalf of YAF in a religious liberty dispute with the university. Sean first started with FIRE in 2005 as a Program Associate, later serving as a Program Officer and Assistant to the President and now manages the day-to-day operations of the FIRE office.
Director of Development
Alisha is a Philadelphia native who graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Business Marketing. While in school, she was a member of Chi Omega sorority and played an active role on the chapter’s Philanthropy committee. Alisha leads FIRE’s development activities including donor relations, foundation grants, and fundraising events. Before joining FIRE six years ago, Alisha held a public affairs internship at Planned Parenthood. Alisha is a member of the Junior League of Philadelphia and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Philadelphia Chapter. She currently volunteers as a birth doula and lives in the Chestnut Hill section of the city with her husband, daughter, two Boston terriers Murphy and Millie, and one naughty kitten Georgie.
Director of Policy Research
Samantha Harris graduated from Princeton University with a degree in politics in 1999 and went on to earn her J.D. in 2002 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served on the editorial board of the Journal of Constitutional Law. Samantha joined FIRE in 2005 after serving as a law clerk for the late Honorable Jay C. Waldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and working as a litigation associate at the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP.
As Director of Policy Research, Samantha conducts extensive research on policies affecting speech at hundreds of colleges and universities and is the author of FIRE’s annual Spotlight on Speech Codes report. She has also spoken to students, faculty, and administrators around the country, and has represented FIRE publicly on national television and radio as well as in publications including Inside Higher Ed and the New York Post. When not defending free speech on campus, Samantha enjoys cooking, a cappella singing, and playing the flute and piano.
Ashley is a proud Philadelphia native who graduated cum laude from Drexel University with a B.S. in communications, concentrating in corporate and public relations. Ashley first came to FIRE in 2011 through Drexel University’s cooperative education program and worked as a Program Assistant. Before coming to FIRE, she interned at Greater Media Philadelphia in the sales and marketing department of WMGK radio. In addition to her work in development, Ashley also supervises students in the cooperative education program as well as helps manage the day-to-day operations of the FIRE office. Ashley is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Philadelphia Chapter.
Research and Program Associate
Born in Toronto, Canada and raised in Montreal, Akil is a 2008 graduate of Princeton University and a 2013 graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. His major areas of study were constitutional and international law with a particular focus on federalism, foreign policy, separation of powers, and civil liberties. An award-winning public speaker and debater since high school, and a member of Cardozo Law School’s Moot Court Honor Society, Akil has a natural passion for free speech. He contributed to on-campus public discourse as a discussion group leader at Princeton’s chapter of Sustained Dialogue, as a member of its International Relations Council, and as president of Cardozo’s chapter of the Federalist Society. Akil’s writing has been published by PolicyMic and Montreal’s political commentary journal The Métropolitain. In his spare time, Akil enjoys spending time with old friends and making new ones; reading works of history and historical fiction; discussing politics and philosophy; and watching crime dramas, reality TV, and the work of the great chef Gordon Ramsay.
Chief of Staff to the President
Pierce Babirak, a proud native of Maine, holds a Bachelors of Arts in History and Political Science from Grove City College and a Masters of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. During his undergraduate studies, Pierce served as the president of his class for the Student Government Association and actively participated and competed in the theater arts as a director and actor. Prior to joining FIRE, Pierce interned for the president of The Heritage Foundation and completed the Teach For America program, teaching 7th and 8th grade mathematics in the School District of Philadelphia. Pierce’s passion for the essential role free speech plays in education and social discourse is what led him to FIRE.
Katie is a Pacific Northwest native who graduated cum laude from the University of Washington with a B.A. in political science and a minor in history. As an undergraduate, Katie was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and was involved in College Democrats. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Katie worked on the 2012 Washington state governor’s race as a field staffer for the Democratic candidate’s winning campaign. Katie’s passion for politics, government, and the law led her to Washington, D.C. She has served as an intern on the Hill and as an outreach and research assistant for LegiStorm, a congressional research and data company. In her spare time, Katie enjoys listening to alternative rock music and watching Portland Trail Blazers basketball.
Program Manager, Campus Outreach
Emily graduated from James Madison University in 2011 with a B.A. in political science and a minor in studio art. As an undergraduate, Emily served as chairman of the JMU College Republicans and interned for the United States Senate in addition to interning for Regnery Publishing. Prior to joining FIRE, Emily worked at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, promoting the conservative intellectual movement on America’s college campuses. Emily’s belief in the importance of the free and open exchange of ideas, especially at universities, is just one reason she is happy to be at FIRE.
Legislative and Policy Director
Joseph Cohn, FIRE’s Legislative and Policy Director, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Fels Institute of Government Administration, where he earned his Juris Doctor and Masters in Government Administration. Prior to law school, Joe attended the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV), where he graduated cum laude and co-founded the university’s ACLU chapter. A former staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and law clerk in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Joe joins FIRE having demonstrated a career-long dedication to advancing the cause of civil liberties. He has served as a staff attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, where his work earned him accolades from The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly (“2007 Lawyer on the Fast Track”) in 2007 and from Super Lawyers magazine (“Rising Star”) in 2008. In 2010, Joe taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School as an adjunct professor, where he lectured on good trial practices and supervised law students as they represented real clients in both state and federal courts. Just prior to joining FIRE, Joe served as the interim legal director for ACLU affiliates in Nevada and Utah.
Program Officer, Legal and Public Advocacy
A native of Skokie, Illinois, Ari Cohn earned his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School, and his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied political science and sociology. Growing up in Skokie, he studied the famous ‘National Socialist Party of America’ case at an early age, which cultivated a profound respect for the First Amendment, and a lifelong passion for free speech issues. He brings a diverse perspective on student disciplinary issues as well; as an undergraduate, he served on the University of Illinois’ student conduct hearing committee, and later returned to work as a legal intern in its Office of University Counsel. Ari is a member of the Illinois State Bar, and previously served as a legal fellow for FIRE in 2011, after which he joined the Chicago office of Mayer Brown LLP, where he represented large multinational corporations in high-stakes commercial litigation. When not working to advance the cause of civil liberties, Ari enjoys playing the guitar and the violin, attending concerts, following his beloved Chicago and University of Illinois sports teams, and being dragged all around town by his spirited Siberian Husky.
Director of Human Resources
Peyton graduated from Drexel University in 2011 with a B.A. in communications, concentrating in global journalism. Through Drexel’s cooperative education program, Peyton began working for FIRE in the spring of 2008 as a Program Assistant. After being on FIRE’s staff for three years while finishing her undergraduate degree, she took on a full-time position as Assistant to the Vice President after her graduation. As part of her work at FIRE, Peyton will also supervise students from the same program that brought her to FIRE. Throughout her time at Drexel, Peyton was a member of the women’s crew team. Outside of her involvement at FIRE, Peyton is a proud New Yorker and is passionate about the music and culture of the 1960s.
Program Associate, Campus Outreach
David is a 2013 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) with a B.A. in philosophy and history and a minor in philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE). While in school, he served as president of the UNC Young Americans for Liberty, with whom he won YAL’s national free speech activism award. His undergraduate activism also earned him a spot in FIRE’s Prometheus Society. David joins FIRE after gaining experience working professionally in college outreach and activism coordination at Students For Liberty.
Assistant Director of Development
Bridget Glackin graduated cum laude from Fordham University with a B.A. in History and Political Science in 2007. After earning her undergraduate degree, Bridget worked as a press officer at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York City, focusing on issues such as culture, immigration, and higher education. In 2009, she returned to Fordham University to pursue an M.A. in Modern European History, completing her Master’s thesis on the intersection of socialist and feminist ideologies in late 19th century Britain. This passion for the study of competing ideologies and her belief in the value of open scholarship drives her commitment to the preservation of liberty on America’s college campuses.
Program Officer, Individual Rights Defense Program
Susan Kruth earned her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2007, with a concentration in music and film. After a handful of short film and documentary gigs, Susan wanted to study the ways that the Constitution protects filmmakers, so she decided to go to law school. While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, she served as musical director of the law school’s a cappella group, the A Cappellate Opinions, and performed in UVA Law’s spring musical comedy program, the Libel Show. Susan earned her J.D. in 2011 and is now a member of the Virginia State Bar. She got her start working to protect free speech through a fellowship with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has also completed civil rights internships with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project. Susan is happy to have finally landed at FIRE, where she can continue to focus on defending freedom of expression and the right to due process.
Program Associate, Public Awareness Project
Gina graduated cum laude from Georgia’s Agnes Scott College in 2011, receiving a B.A. in philosophy and political science. While in college, she co-founded and lead the Agnes Scott College Libertarians, which held a number of free speech events on campus during her tenure. After graduating, Gina completed the Koch Summer Fellow Program through the Institute for Humane studies at the Sam Adams Alliance, where she completed projects in web and graphic design. In 2012, her passion for discourse and discussion led her to FIRE.
Director, Individual Rights Education Program
Azhar Majeed, a native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, received a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in History from the University of Michigan in 2004. He is also a 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. As an undergraduate, his academic interests included comparative constitutional law and political philosophy, particularly from the time period of the Enlightenment. During law school, Azhar represented the University of Michigan at the 2006 Tulane International Moot Court competition. Azhar was one of FIRE’s inaugural Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellows and was also a FIRE legal intern in 2005.
Program Associate, Individual Rights Defense Program
Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Drexel University in 2014 with a B.S. in political science and a minor in history. In 2012, Sarah began working with FIRE through Drexel’s cooperative education program as a Program Assistant. She stayed on FIRE’s staff for another year through the rest of her undergraduate career. After graduation, Sarah took on the position of Program Associate for FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. In addition to her passion for free speech, Sarah is an avid J.R.R. Tolkien fan.
Program Officer for Campus Outreach
Molly Nocheck, a Cincinnati native, graduated from Ohio University in 2013 with a B.S. in journalism. During her time as an undergraduate, Molly served as the director of Students Defending Students, an organization dedicated to advising students through OU’s judicial processes. She also served as a reporter and producer for WOUB News. Molly is excited to be working for FIRE and hopes to ameliorate codes of conduct nationwide. Her passion for due process and free speech is only matched by her love of Skyline Chili.
Executive Assistant to the President
Nate O’Connor is a native Hoosier from Indianapolis. He graduated from Indiana University in 2013, and double majored in Italian and political science. While at IU, Nate was highly active in the university’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, which has worked with FIRE for several years to dismantle the university’s oppressive speech codes. After finishing his senior year while studying abroad at the University of Bologna in Italy, Nate interned at YAL’s national office in Washington D.C. He then moved on to serve as a legislative intern at the Indiana State House for the spring 2014 legislative session before coming to FIRE. In his free time Nate enjoys traveling, listening to wide varieties of podcasts, and being an amateur astronomer.
Catherine Sevcenko graduated magna cum laude from George Mason School of Law after a career as a Foreign Service Officer. Postings in Budapest, Munich, and Moscow before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall gave her a deep appreciation for the power of free speech. After law school, Catherine clerked on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals before starting work as an associate at Steptoe & Johnson, LLC. After leaving Steptoe, Catherine joined the appellate group at the U.S. Trustees Program at the Department of Justice. Most recently, she was interim Executive Director for the U.S. Chess Center, a non-profit in Washington, D.C. that teaches chess to children.
Catherine is an adjunct professor of appellate writing at George Mason School of Law. She lives outside of Washington D.C. with her husband and two children, one of whom attends a green light school. She also works with raptors and other wild birds as an apprentice wildlife rehabilitator.