Frequently Asked Questions

large question mark in chalk on a blackboard

Frequently Asked Questions

Last Update June 7, 2022

Since our founding in 1999, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (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 fire@thefire.org

What is FIRE?

FIRE’s mission is to defend and sustain the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought—the most essential qualities of liberty. FIRE educates Americans about the importance of these inalienable rights, promotes a culture of respect for these rights, and provides the means to preserve them.

FIRE recognizes that colleges and universities play a vital role in preserving free thought within a free society. To this end, we place a special emphasis on defending the individual rights of students and faculty members on our nation’s campuses, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience.


How do I join FIRE?

You can become a FIRE Member with a $25 donation.

FIRE also maintains networks for college students, faculty, alumni, attorneys, and high school educators looking to preserve First Amendment rights on college and university campuses. 

In addition, you can join the fight for free expression in America by signing up for our email list to receive the latest news on our issues and cases around the country.


How can I contribute to FIRE?

FIRE offers our supporters 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 on issues and cases that you feel passionately about. Throughout our website, we provide students, faculty, everyday citizens, and lawyers examples of ways they can help create change. From hosting FIRE speakers, to writing op-eds, to contacting government and college officials, there is a lot you can do to contribute to the fight for free speech.

Sign up for FIRE’s email list to be the first to hear about ways you can take action against censorship.


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 backgrounds. For more information about individual members of FIRE’s staff, please see our staff page.


What is FIRE’s political affiliation?

FIRE is proudly nonpartisan. FIRE does not use a political litmus test for supporters, donors, or those we defend. Our staff, Board of Directors, and Advisory Council comprise individuals from across the ideological and political spectrum. FIRE works diligently to create and sustain a grand coalition of supporters and allies which, despite deep-seated ideological differences, come together to champion the value of free speech for all. 


How does FIRE pick its cases?

FIRE only takes cases that fall within its 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. On college campuses, FIRE does not take cases involving genuine questions of academic merit, which sometimes arise during tenure reviews and the grading of student work. FIRE also does not take cases that are from outside the United States. We do not take cases by phone — except from faculty members at public universities or people involved in student media using the appropriate hotline — or by fax. Cases must otherwise be submitted only via our confidential online form.


Who can I speak to regarding a certain case?

All media requests can be emailed to media@thefire.org or you can contact a FIRE representative by calling 215-717-3473. 

If you would like to submit a case to FIRE, please use our case submission page.