Frequently Asked Questions

Last Update February 5, 2019

Since our founding in 1999, FIRE has been pleased to field questions from students, faculty, alumni, administrators, reporters, supporters, and free speech advocates across the country. Below, please find answers to a few of the most common questions we receive. If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact us at

What is FIRE?

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, is a nonprofit educational foundation based in Philadelphia. FIRE’s mission is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE protects the unprotected and educates the public about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

How do I join FIRE?

If you’re a student, faculty, or alumni, you can join FIRE’s Student Network. You can also join the fight for liberty on America’s college campuses by signing up for our email list so that you may receive the latest news and updates on cases happening around the country.

How can I contribute to FIRE?

FIRE offers its donors many different options for donating, including the option to give right now through our secure online donation form.

I care about the issues. What can I do?

FIRE encourages you to Take Action in cases that you feel passionately about. On our website, we have given students, faculty, every-day citizens, and lawyers examples of ways they can help create change on college campuses. From hosting FIRE speakers, to posting widgets on your website, to writing to university administrators, there is a lot you can do to help the fight for liberty.

I believe my rights were violated. Can FIRE help?

FIRE may be able to help you if your case fits within our mission. Please submit your case to FIRE.

Who works at FIRE?

FIRE employs a diverse staff from across the ideological and political spectrum with varying educational backgrounds. For more information about individual members of FIRE’s staff, please see our staff page.

What is FIRE’s political affiliation?

FIRE is nonpartisan; its staff, Board of Directors, and Board of Advisors comprise individuals from across the political spectrum.

How does FIRE pick its cases?

FIRE responds to all case submissions. We only take cases, however, that fall within FIRE’s mission and programs. FIRE has limited resources and receives a remarkable number of requests for help. We are, therefore, unable to take many cases that touch upon important issues. FIRE does not adjudicate genuine questions of academic merit, which sometimes arise during tenure reviews and grading of student work. FIRE also does not take cases that are from the staff of colleges or universities, involve elementary or high schools, are from outside the United States, or are submitted by phone or fax.

Does FIRE litigate?

Since our founding in 1999, FIRE has intervened successfully in defense of campus civil liberties on behalf of students and faculty members at colleges and universities nationwide. Many of the cases we accept may be resolved by FIRE’s staff. However, other cases require litigation.

While we have a number of attorneys on staff, FIRE is not a law firm and does not represent students and faculty in litigation. Cases that require litigation may be considered for FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes via targeted lawsuits against public universities. Other cases may be referred to FIRE’s Legal Network, a nationwide collection of outside attorneys who share our commitment to defending student and faculty rights.

If you are a practicing attorney interested in joining our Legal Network, please consider signing up here.

Who can I speak to regarding a certain case?

All media requests can be emailed to or you can contact a FIRE representative by calling 215-717-3473. If you are involved in a certain case, contact Peter Bonilla at