Noah Baron is a rising junior at Columbia University majoring in political science and history. He has been involved with the Columbia College Student Council, is an executive board member of Kesher (a Reform Jewish student group), and editor of The Commentariat (the opinion blog of The Columbia Spectator). Off campus, Noah has been involved with John Edwards for President, the New York Democratic State Committee, Amnesty International, and other organizations. On how he learned about FIRE and why came to intern here, Noah writes:
I’ve been a fierce advocate of free speech long before I first heard of FIRE and long after. I was writing an article about students’ rights on campus for my high school newspaper when I first came across FIRE’s guides. Upon spotting them, I ordered them and read them as soon as they arrived in the mail. Since FIRE is dedicated to protecting the rights of college students, however, I, not yet old enough, stopped following the organization soon after my project lapsed, but my dedication to free speech and basic rights has burned on.
Throughout my college career, I’ve continually sought out places where a vigorous debate might be found, and I have endeavored to protect such places wherever and however I can. Even though I frequently find myself on the center-left, I’m a member of an unofficial Objectivist Club on campus. I’m also the editor of my college’s campus opinion blog, The Commentariat, and am always seeking out conservative voices on a frequently intimidating left-leaning campus.
My desire to find debate and vigorous dialogue within—and outside of—the academy is what brought me to FIRE. That FIRE frequently must defend those on the right, or even the far-right, is not problematic for me. I see this as an indicator not of FIRE’s ideological position, as some might say, but rather as a dedication to what free speech scholar Zechariah Chafee once wrote: "if freedom of speech means anything, it means a willingness to stand and let people say things with which we disagree, and which do weary us considerably."