Welcome to FIRE’s Student Spotlight! Student Spotlight highlights some of the amazing work being done by students to secure free speech rights for themselves and their peers on campus. There is no “right” way to go about reforming your campus, but one of the best ways to start is to look at what worked for students at other schools. Check back each month for new ideas and strategies!
To nominate someone you know for Student Spotlight, email email@example.com.
Nate, a fourth-year student studying psychology, has been working tirelessly to change his school’s “yellow light” rating in our Spotlight database. His goal? To help Cal Poly become the first “green light” university in California and serve as an “example to the numerous other universities in California that are in desperate need of free speech policy revisions.”
Caitlin, a junior studying political science, has been working tirelessly to make Marshall University more friendly toward free speech. Currently, Marshall has a “red light” rating in our Spotlight Database. “I made it my mission to change this before I graduate so as to ensure that Marshall will grow to become an even greater university,” Caitlin says. The Marshall chapter of YAL plans to do this by lobbying their student government to take a stand. They hope to gain momentum by circulating a petition and hosting a FIRE speaker.
Haley, a junior majoring in sociology and legal studies and the director of communications for Young Americans for Liberty at UW-Madison, has helped lead her group through a busy year promoting free speech rights on campus. The recipe for success? A healthy dose of creativity.
To celebrate Constitution Week, Britney’s group held an extremely successful free speech wall event, despite being confined to their school’s 50-foot-wide “free speech zone.” One of the most exciting aspects of this event was the positive response of the students who, after participating, didn’t see the sense in their school’s free speech zone.
Since attending FIRE’s CFN Conference in 2010, Jon Rice has been advocating for free speech and using his leadership role as thepresident of Pitzer’s Student Senate to challenge campus speech codes.
Students in Georgia Gwinnett College’s Student Government Association (SGA) recently passed a “Free Speech on Campus” resolution calling on the college to honor its moral and legal duties as a public institution under the First Amendment. The SGA resolution is an encouraging example of campus leaders and student government working together to advocate for students’ rights on campus.
Back in 2008, students work for the Quinnipiac campus newspaper, The Quinnipiac Chronicle, were frustrated by QU administrators’ efforts to muzzle the paper. The student editors decided form a new, independent student news source online: The Quad News. Almost five years later, The Quad News is still publishing campus news daily.
Chris Morbitzer and his student group, the University of Cincinnati Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, took their university’s unconstitutional free speech zone to court in 2012—and won.
After former FIRE intern David Deerson and his campus group drew national attention to UNC’s free speech inssues during Constitution Week 2012, they got some welcome news: UNC had substantially revised their problematic policies to improve from a “red light” to a “yellow light” school. David plans to keep up his efforts until UNC is a “green light” school.
In 2012, Morgan Freeman found herself in the middle of a national free speech controversy when a professor at Sam Houston State censored her group’s free speech wall with a box cutter.
Alex McHugh has planned several collaborative campus events, including two successful free speech walls, to encourage discussion about free speech at American University.
Bryant is working to change speech codes at the University of Chicago through public advocacy and as a member of the Committee on Campus Expression. He is the CFN Incentive Program first place winner for 2011-2012.
Former FIRE intern Casey Given used his award-winning column to bring attention to free speech issues on Berkeley’s Campus. He is the CFN Incentive Program second place winner for 2011-2012.
Using the lessons about free speech she learned while working at FIRE, Christe is lobbying the Drexel administration to eliminate repressive speech codes and become a “green light” school for campus speech.
As a Ph.D. candidate and an instructor, Allen works both in and out of the classroom to help fellow students recognize that they are free to speak their minds in a collegiate environment.
In order to help UCLA students better know their rights on campus, Austin and his student group manned a table during “Know Your Rights” week to pass out FIRE materials and resources to fellow students.
Interested in helping her fellow students understand their rights to free speech, Moriah and her student group collaborated with several other student groups to construct a free speech wall on ASU’s campus. After her Spotlight profile was published, Moriah won third place in the CFN Incentive Program for 2011-2012.
A 2011 FIRE intern and Prometheus Society inductee, Kenny has been leading the charge toward speech code reform at Vandy through events, education campaigns, and meetings with administrators.
Brandon first discovered FIRE and the importance of free speech on campus at a Students for Liberty conference in 2009. He’s been involved in the fight for student rights ever since.
Kelly worked with fellow students and administrators for three years to reform unconstitutional polices at James Madison, and she did not give up until JMU achieved a “green light” rating from FIRE in 2011.