Last month, the Campus Freedom Network brought its 2009-2010 incentive program to a close. The CFN’s incentive program rewards students who are active for liberty on campus. Dozens of students were active in the program, hosting speeches, writing op-eds, and recruiting new members to the CFN. Three students stood out above the rest and are this year’s incentive program winners.
This year’s third place winner is Pericles Niarchos. Pericles served as president of the Student Liberty Front, a libertarian group at Drexel University. Through the Student Liberty Front, Pericles worked to organize a "Students Rights Week" last fall, bringing in no fewer than three FIRE speakers. I spoke about FIRE’s mission to defend free speech on college campuses, FIRE Director of Speech Code Research Samantha Harris dissected Drexel’s speech codes, and Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program Adam Kissel spoke about the phenomenon of thought reform on campus, specifically at the University of Delaware. As our way of acknowledging his efforts to advance liberty on his campus, Pericles will receive a 16GB iPod Touch.
In second place is former FIRE intern Braum Katz of The College of William & Mary. Braum worked tirelessly in his position as the college’s first Student Assembly Undersecretary of Student Rights for Free Speech Advocacy, and then as Secretary for Student Rights, to abolish speech codes at William & Mary. Last fall, FIRE was proud to announce that the William & Mary administration had taken Braum’s proposals seriously and had revised its speech policies to accord fully with the Constitution. In our news release, Braum said,
I am extremely proud of all the work that the students and administration of The College of William & Mary have done together to ensure that no student need fear exercising his or her First Amendment rights. The efforts of William & Mary students to green-light the university demonstrates that when students make demands grounded both in law and moral integrity, administrations will listen and policies can change. These changes represent in a very palpable way the spirit of our College, the alma mater of some of our nation’s premier civil libertarians.
In recognition of his hard work and dedication to free speech on campus, Braum will receive a Macbook laptop and will be inducted into the CFN’s prestigious Prometheus Society.
Our grand prize winner is Drexel student Stacy Litz. Stacy worked with Pericles to organize Drexel’s Student Liberty Front "Students Rights Week" to educate her fellow students about free speech on campus. Later in the fall, Stacy penned an op-ed in Drexel’s student paper, The Triangle, calling on Drexel to rescind its yellow-light speech codes, which threaten free speech on campus. She wrote,
It’s time to show the world that Drexel is really "up and coming" and that it is progressive in the sense that it protects students’ rights and allows them the freedom that they need to succeed as scholars.
Stacy also has been active on the CFN’s social network, recruiting new students to CFN membership. In recognition of her outstanding work and dedication to liberty, Stacy will receive a technology bundle including an HDTV, a Macbook, an iPod Touch, and an HD Flip camera. Stacy also will be inducted into the CFN’s Prometheus Society.
We congratulate this year’s winners on their incredible accomplishments. Liberty is safer not only at Drexel University and The College of William & Mary, but across the country. As more students are educated about their rights, fewer are willing to stand down in the face of censorship.