20th anniversary: This June in FIRE history

June 26, 2019

FIRE is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019! 

We’ll soon have more details on how you can celebrate with us, including information on registration and sponsorship for our October gala at the Mandarin Oriental, New York  — featuring a keynote address by Salman Rushdie

Until then, we’re keeping the party going all year long here on Newsdesk, with a monthly walk down memory lane to highlight notable moments in FIRE history that are still relevant today.


In June 2013, a FIRE staff member wrote about her experience — and astonishment — discovering a private organization charging thousands of dollars to help colleges update their policies to ensure they’re legally compliant.

“This sounds like a useful service,” she observed at the time. “That’s why FIRE provides it for free.”

In the run up to FIRE’s 20th anniversary celebration later this year, we want to remind readers that helping colleges and universities improve their speech-related policies is a fundamental part of FIRE’s organizational mission. That’s why we continue to offer our policy expertise and advice to college and university administrators at absolutely no cost

As we wrote this month back in 2013:

Helping college administrators revise their policies to protect student and faculty rights is part of FIRE’s mission as a nonprofit organization. FIRE employs First Amendment attorneys with several decades of combined experience, and we are excited to help when administrators come to us proactively to address their policies. 

[…]

We understand why some colleges and universities might view FIRE as an opponent. And we won’t stop calling out institutions when they violate student and faculty rights. However, we vastly prefer working collaboratively with college and university administrators to ensure that their school’s conduct code provides meaningful due process protections and respects First Amendment rights, so that the abuses we’re concerned about never take place. Our goal is to put ourselves out of business. Help us do that, colleges!

FIRE also has a handbook, “Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies,” available on our website for you to access or download — again, completely free of charge.

FIRE has a proven track record of working with colleges and universities to improve policies on all kinds of civil liberties issues — including free speech and due process.

Here are just a few more of the free, policy-related resources FIRE provides:

  • FIRE’s Spotlight Database lets you search for your school to see how well its policies protect freedom of expression and due process. In addition to policies that regulate student expression at 466 colleges, the database includes the ratings for due process protections at 53 colleges.
  • If your school isn’t included in the Spotlight database, or you have questions about getting speech codes revised, you can contact us directly using our Speech Code Information Request Form. We provide answers to these inquiries promptly.
  • FIRE’s annual Spotlight on Speech Codes report brings you up to speed on the state of speech codes nationwide.
  • We have a webpage dedicated to the “Chicago Statement,” the gold standard for campus free speech policy statements.
  • FIRE offers information for students and faculty interested in learning more about their rights on campus.
  • And more…

Policy reform is something FIRE is passionate about — and has been for two decades. Let us put our expertise to work for you: Check out the complimentary services and resources FIRE can offer your college or university today.