Former FIRE Interns Awarded for Journalism, Free Speech Advocacy

By on March 9, 2012

FIRE is pleased to announce that three of our former interns have won awards for their writing (and tweeting) about campus issues.

Casey Given, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley and a 2010 FIRE intern, won two awards for his writing in The Daily Californian: the California College Media Association’s award for "Best Personal Opinion Column" and the Society of Professional Journalists’ "General Column Writing" award. One of Casey’s winning entries, "Cal, are you experienced?" discusses the storied history of student activism at Berkeley in the context of the current Occupy movement. He has also used his column to discuss free speech controversies on campus and to argue for more robust student rights. In "Free speech is the right ingredient for Republican bake sale" last fall, Casey wrote:

However, just as I defend their opponents’ right to voice their dissent, so too do I stand up for the College Republicans’ right to express their contentious message – all in the name of free speech that Berkeley so strongly claims to cherish. Having completed their paperwork properly, the campus has no right to shut down the event under the First Amendment. Furthermore, considering a strong legal precedent, the ASUC has no right to defund the student group because of the content of their viewpoint. Anyone who says otherwise runs contrary to the morality of freedom, the legal power of the First Amendment and the principles of the Free Speech Movement.

Berkeley is lucky to have such an eloquent (and now award-winning!) columnist advocating for student rights on campus. You can read all of Casey’s columns here; I highly recommend them.

Two other former FIRE interns also won awards for their writing this week, although in a much shorter format. Last fall, the First Amendment awareness coalition 1 for All invited students to tweet about free speech on December 15, 2011, to mark the 220th birthday of the First Amendment. Indiana University – Bloomington senior Nico Perrino and Vanderbilt University sophomore Kenny Tan both submitted winning entries:


Congratulations to Casey, Nico, and Kenny! 

If you are interested in joining FIRE’s 2012 Summer Internship program, apply today. We are accepting applications until March 15.