Casey Given is a Salinas, California native and a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in rhetoric and a minor in philosophy. He wrote an award-winning political column for The Daily Californian, honored by both the California College Media Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Additionally, Casey founded the Berkeley chapter of Students For Liberty (SFL), and the group won SFL’s Student Group of the Year Award in 2011 for their campus activism.
Casey is also a former FIRE intern, and he used the tools he learned at FIRE to advocate for free speech when he returned to campus. In Casey’s words, “I spent the best summer of my life learning about individual rights in Philadelphia. After my summer with FIRE, I came back to California motivated to promote free speech at Berkeley, the alleged home of the Free Speech Movement.”
At Berkeley, Casey used his writing skills to get several op-ed pieces published in The Daily Californian and used his political column to discuss free speech issues. When a member of his SFL group was punished for cursing at a campus police officer in 2010, Casey wrote a column about the case and alerted FIRE, and the charges were eventually dropped. Casey’s group also hosted FIRE President Greg Lukianoff on campus twice to speak about free speech issues.
As a recent graduate, Casey has some words of advice for students who want to promote individual rights on their own campuses:
Engage with your comparative advantage. That is to say, every student has some skill that they are particularly talented at. Through engaging with this skill to promote individual rights, you will most effectively spread the message of freedom as well as promote your career. For example, in writing a column largely about free speech, I feel I was able to positively contribute to my campus as well as land a job as a policy analyst in Washington, D.C. after graduation. Promoting individual rights is a win-win both for liberty and for your career if you do it right, so get started!