“Students, professors, and parents should know that FIRE will work toward making 2007-08 the year in which free speech was reinstated as a hallmark of American higher education,” explained Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that specializes in protecting the First Amendment rights of the scores of students on America’s campuses. The organization, which was founded by conservative University of Pennsylvania Professor Alan Charles Kors and former ACLU attorney Harvey A. Silverglate, is dedicated to educating students and parents about their rights on campus.
“We begin this year more prepared than ever to combat the repressive tendencies at universities across the country,” stated Lukianoff. Through the enforcement of broad-based speech codes that FIRE argues are unconstitutional, college administrators often characterize protected speech as “harassment,” “incivility,” and/or “offensive” and punish the student speaker(s).
As part of its crusade against campus censorship, FIRE has announced new resources available for students who are faced with such situations. According to a written statement issued by FIRE, “This year, FIRE’s new resources include the Campus Freedom Network, the Red Alert list and a Web ‘widget’ that provides up-to-date information about campus speech codes across the country.”
FIRE is equally concerned with the treatment the First Amendment has received at Tufts, for the university found the conservative newspaper, The Primary Source, guilty of harassment when the paper published a satirical Christmas carol and an advertisement that read “Islam: Arabic Translation—Submission.”
“Until Johns Hopkins repeals its civility code and Tufts admits that simply publishing verifiable facts about a religion is not ‘harassment,’ FIRE must keep both institutions on our Red Alert list and continue to warn the public about the sad state of students’ rights there,” asserted Lukianoff.