Oliver Rosenbloom is a rising junior at Brown University, where he majors in history. He is an opinion columnist for the school newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, and is an editor for the Brown Journal of History. On why he came to FIRE, Oliver writes:
My journalism experience in both high school and college has deepened my gratitude for the First Amendment rights that are guaranteed to me as an American. Freedom of expression has contributed to my academic and intellectual growth. In addition, I believe that the First Amendment positively affects all Americans, not only those who are directly involved with the media. Our founders understood that the free exchange of ideas would improve the lives of all citizens by allowing unrestricted intellectual exploration and debate. I admire FIRE’s non-partisan commitment to liberty, treating it as an inalienable American right, and not as a means of fulfilling any narrow political agenda.
Although the First Amendment is a fundamental aspect of American identity, Torch readers know it would be naïve to assume that speech is fully protected in American universities. I came to FIRE because I want to combat the climate of censorship and suppression that exists on many college campuses. I have read about deplorable violations of students’ First Amendment rights throughout the country. This hostility toward free speech and free conscience also exists at my own school, Brown University. Although Brown students claim to value liberty, their actions often violate this principle. This past spring, many students questioned the Brown Daily Herald’s right to publish an unpopular ad run by David Horowitz. Before I enrolled at Brown, students even stole hundreds of copies of the Herald to suppress the ideas expressed in a controversial ad. I believe that my summer with FIRE will make me a better advocate for free speech when I return to Brown in the fall.