FIRE has beefed up its armory of activism resources to aid over three thousand Campus Freedom Network members returning to campus this fall. As Torch readers know, far too many universities have speech codes that stifle free expression on campus. After launching the biggest ad campaign in FIRE’s 10-year history to highlight the most egregious abuses of campus liberty, we want students to know that FIRE has assembled effective tools to defend them.
In our press release today, we outline FIRE’s best and newest tools including $15,000 in scholarships for high school seniors, the new Red Alert widget, our "action alert" webpages, and a new year of the CFN incentive program. All this is in addition to FIRE’s classic resources like our Guides to Student Rights on Campus and Spotlight: the Campus Freedom Resource, FIRE’s extensive speech code ratings database.
As I announced a couple of weeks ago, FIRE’s will award $15,000 in college scholarships to college-bound high school students. FIRE calls on all high school seniors graduating in 2010 to submit essays on freedom of speech in higher education to the 2009 "Freedom in Academia" essay contest. Students will watch two FIRE documentaries, FIRE in Action: Valdosta State University and Think What We Think…Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus, and write an essay on how the universities depicted in the films violated their students’ constitutional rights and betrayed the purpose of a university as a "marketplace of ideas." The student placing first will receive a $5,000 college scholarship, two second place winners will each receive a $2,500 college scholarship, and five runners-up will each receive a $1,000 college scholarship. In addition to the scholarships, students will receive recognition on FIRE’s website. Essays must be submitted by November 6, 2009. Complete rules can be found here.
All college students are welcome to join the Campus Freedom Network, FIRE’s loose affiliation of over 3,000 students and faculty members at institutions of higher learning across the country. The CFN seeks to restore liberty to campus by providing students with the necessary education and resources so that they both know their rights and can defend them. After achieving incredible success and more than tripling our membership in the last year, we decided to re-launch the CFN incentive program for the 2009–2010 academic year. CFN members can earn points for recruiting new CFN members, publishing op-eds about free speech, and hosting FIRE speakers, which earn the CFN members prizes including FIRE Nalgene water bottles, gift certificates, and books on liberty. The most active students will be inducted into the CFN Prometheus Society. Students are competing for the grand prize of a technology bundle including a 42" HDTV, a 13" MacBook, a 16GB iPod, and a Flip Ultra HD Camera, or a $2,500 college scholarship. Second-place winners will receive the choice of the HDTV or MacBook, and third-place winners will receive the choice of the iPod or camera.
Students and faculty members interested in working for liberty on campus should register for the CFN here.