This has been a tremendous week for the defense of liberty, with victories at Dartmouth, SUNY Brockport, and Princeton. If you’ve been following FIRE for some time, you know that victories are the rule, not the exception. In the last five years, FIRE has achieved public victories and policy changes at colleges and universities with a total enrollment of approximately 1 million students. We have distributed (through internet downloads and hard copies) more than 80,000 copies of our Guides to Student Rights on Campus, and we have created a comprehensive speech codes database that rates the speech policies of more than 285 leading institutions of higher education. Within the month, we will substantially upgrade thefire.org to include an individual web site for each school in our database that will include not just our free speech rating from speechcodes.org, but also information regarding any FIRE cases, relevant media coverage of academic freedom issues, and FIRE blog posts regarding the school.
Through these programs (and many others), FIRE is literally changing the campus culture. Before FIRE, censorship offered the path of least resistance for campus administrators. It was easier for careerist administrators to capitulate to campus totalitarians than it was to uphold and defend the basic rights of their students. As evidenced by the recent and important changes at Dartmouth, FIRE is changing the cost/benefit analysis. Politically correct censorship now leads to public embarrassment, public criticism, and (frequently) to litigation. There is much work to be done before we win the war against an ideologically monolithic and oppressive academy, but no one is winning more battles than FIRE.
We cannot accomplish anything, however, without the generous support of our donors. It is an obvious point, but it cannot be stated enough: our donors make our work possible. If you have not given to FIRE, and like our work, I would encourage you to donate now. If you have given in the past and would like to make another investment in liberty, I would encourage you to donate again. We will use your investment efficiently and effectively to fight to restore the most basic and important liberties to American higher education. If this nation wishes to remain free, it must educate its students in liberty.
Thank you for reading this message. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging . . .