President and CEO
Greg Lukianoff is an attorney and the president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He is the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate and Freedom From Speech, and has published articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Forbes, the New York Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Stanford Technology Law Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Reason, CNET, The Daily Caller, Congressional Quarterly, The Charleston Law Review, and numerous other publications. He is a blogger for TheHuffington Post and Ricochet.com. He also authored a chapter in Templeton Press’s anthology New Threats to Freedom, edited by Adam Bellow, as well as a chapter in The State of the American Mind, edited by Mark Bauerlein and Adam Bellow. Greg is a frequent guest on local and national syndicated radio programs, has represented FIRE on national television shows, including CBS Evening Newsand CBS This Morning, NBC’s Today Show, CNN’s New Day, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Fox’sSpecial Report and The O’Reilly Factor, Fox Business’s Stossel and The Independents, and MSNBC’s Dr. Nancy, and has testified before both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives about free speech issues on America’s campuses. In 2008 he became the first ever recipient of the Playboy Foundation Freedom of Expression Award and in 2010 he received Ford Hall Forum’s Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award on behalf of FIRE.
Greg is a graduate of American University and of Stanford Law School, where he focused on First Amendment and constitutional law. Before joining FIRE, Greg practiced law in Northern California, interned at the ACLU of Northern California and the Organization for Aid to Refugees in Prague, Czech Republic, and was the development manager of the EnvironMentors Project in Washington, D.C. Greg, along with Harvey A. Silverglate and David French, is a co-author of FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus. Greg is also a proud member of the board of directors of Philadelphia’s Theatre Exile. In his free time, Greg also runs the Genetic Music Project, an open source genetic art project combining music and science
Robert L. Shibley, FIRE’s executive director, is a native of Toledo, Ohio, and a graduate of Duke University and Duke University School of Law. Robert’s undergraduate experience serving as the managing editor of the Duke Review newspaper, which frequently decried (and faced) administrative censorship and bias, led him to a career defending the rights of college and university students and faculty members. Since starting at FIRE in 2003, Robert has aided students and faculty members at dozens of colleges and universities. He is also a member of the bar in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Florida. As Executive Director, along with traveling to various campuses to speak about First Amendment issues, Robert has represented FIRE publicly on Stossel, Fox and Friends, and Lou Dobbs Tonight, in national and international radio and TV interviews, and in published editorials in USA Today and The Washington Post, as well as the New York Post, Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, National Review, Providence Journal, Daily Oklahoman, and other newspapers and magazines. He also writes occasional columns for The Daily Caller, Forbes.com, and Pajamas Media. Robert and his wife Araz live in Apex, North Carolina, with their two daughters, Grace and Cecily.
Director, Individual Rights Defense Program
Peter Bonilla joined FIRE in 2008 and has worked with FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program since 2009, becoming director in 2013. As director he oversees the management of FIRE’s extensive caseload and advocates directly to universities on behalf of students and faculty facing censorship on campuses nationwide. Peter has authored numerous columns for outside publications, commented frequently for radio, print, and television media, and lectured to students and faculty at conferences around the country. Prior to joining FIRE, Peter was Literary Manager of Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company, one of the country’s top theatres for the development and production of new politically and socially-themed plays. He is also a past recipient of a fellowship in playwriting from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and his first play was developed (with stage and film actor David Strathairn) at Philadelphia’s PlayPenn New Play Development Conference, and premiered to critical acclaim in Arizona in September 2011. In 2009, Peter was a contestant on the television game show Jeopardy! His undergraduate degree, with a double major in theater arts and economics, is from the University of Pennsylvania.
Vice President of Legal and Public Advocacy
Will began defending student and faculty rights for FIRE in 2006 after graduating from New York University School of Law, where he served as an associate executive editor for the New York University Law Review. Will has spoken to students, faculty, administrators, and attorneys at events across the country and has led FIRE’s Continuing Legal Education programs in New York, Pennsylvania, and online. Will edited the second edition of FIRE’sGuide to Due Process and Campus Justice and co-edited the second edition of FIRE’sGuide to Free Speech on Campus. Will has coauthored amicus curiae briefs submitted to a number of courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. Will has appeared on national cable television and radio on behalf of FIRE, and Will’s writing has been published by theChronicle of Higher Education, Jurist, Inside Higher Ed, Daily Journal, the Charleston Law Review, the Providence Journal, and many other outlets. Will is a member in good standing of the New York State Bar and the First Amendment Lawyers Association.
A proud native of Buffalo, N.Y., William now lives in Philadelphia with his wife and son.
Vice President of Finance and Information Technology
Sean Clark graduated from Penn State University in 2003 where he earned a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in History. As an undergraduate, he presided over Undergraduate Student Government Senate as its president, chaired the Student Organization Appeals Board, and served as vice-chairman and later as chairman of Penn State Young Americans for Freedom. In 2001, Sean became involved with FIRE when the foundation intervened on the behalf of YAF in a religious liberty dispute with the university. Sean first started with FIRE in 2005 as a Program Associate, later serving as a Program Officer and Assistant to the President and now manages the day-to-day operations of the FIRE office.
Vice President of Development
Alisha is a Philadelphia native who graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Business Marketing. Alisha leads FIRE’s development activities including donor relations, foundation grants, and fundraising events. Alisha is a member of the Junior League of Philadelphia and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Philadelphia Chapter. She currently volunteers as a birth doula and lives in the Chestnut Hill section of the city with her husband, two children, and two Boston terriers.
Director of Policy Research
Samantha Harris graduated from Princeton University with a degree in politics in 1999 and went on to earn her J.D. in 2002 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served on the editorial board of the Journal of Constitutional Law. Samantha joined FIRE in 2005 after serving as a law clerk for the late Honorable Jay C. Waldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and working as a litigation associate at the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP.
As Director of Policy Research, Samantha conducts extensive research on policies affecting speech at hundreds of colleges and universities and is the author of FIRE’s annual Spotlight on Speech Codes report. She has also spoken to students, faculty, and administrators around the country, and has represented FIRE publicly on national television and radio as well as in publications including Inside Higher Ed and the New York Post. When not defending free speech on campus, Samantha enjoys cooking, a cappella singing, and playing the flute and piano.
Ashley is a proud Philadelphia native who graduated cum laude from Drexel University with a B.S. in communications, concentrating in corporate and public relations. Ashley first came to FIRE in 2011 through Drexel University’s cooperative education program as a Program Assistant. Before coming to FIRE, Ashley co-oped at Greater Media Philadelphia where she worked on research, promotions and events in the sales and marketing department of 102.9 WMGK, Philadelphia’s classic rock radio station. Ashley is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Philadelphia Chapter. In her spare time, she enjoys perusing health blogs, working on her fitness and spending time with her adorable bunny Hughie and crazy Aussie Iggy.
Katie is a Pacific Northwest native who graduated cum laude from the University of Washington with a B.A. in political science and a minor in history. As an undergraduate, Katie was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and was involved in College Democrats. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Katie worked on the 2012 Washington state governor’s race as a field staffer for the Democratic candidate’s winning campaign. Katie’s passion for politics, government, and the law led her to Washington, D.C. She has served as an intern on the Hill and as an outreach and research assistant for LegiStorm, a congressional research and data company. In her spare time, Katie enjoys listening to alternative rock music and watching Portland Trail Blazers basketball.
Legislative and Policy Director
Joseph Cohn, FIRE’s Legislative and Policy Director, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Fels Institute of Government Administration, where he earned his Juris Doctor and Masters in Government Administration. Prior to law school, Joe attended the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV), where he graduated cum laude and co-founded the university’s ACLU chapter. A former staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and law clerk in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Joe joins FIRE having demonstrated a career-long dedication to advancing the cause of civil liberties. He has served as a staff attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, where his work earned him accolades from The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly (“2007 Lawyer on the Fast Track”) in 2007 and from Super Lawyers magazine (“Rising Star”) in 2008. In 2010, Joe taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School as an adjunct professor, where he lectured on good trial practices and supervised law students as they represented real clients in both state and federal courts. Just prior to joining FIRE, Joe served as the interim legal director for ACLU affiliates in Nevada and Utah.
Senior Program Officer, Legal and Public Advocacy
A native of Skokie, Illinois, Ari Cohn earned his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School, and his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied political science and sociology. Growing up in Skokie, he studied the famous ‘National Socialist Party of America’ case at an early age, which cultivated a profound respect for the First Amendment, and a lifelong passion for free speech issues. He brings a diverse perspective on student disciplinary issues as well; as an undergraduate, he served on the University of Illinois’ student conduct hearing committee, and later returned to work as a legal intern in its Office of University Counsel. Ari is a member of the Illinois State Bar, and previously served as a legal fellow for FIRE in 2011, after which he joined the Chicago office of Mayer Brown LLP, where he represented large multinational corporations in high-stakes commercial litigation. When not working to advance the cause of civil liberties, Ari enjoys playing the guitar and the violin, attending concerts, following his beloved Chicago and University of Illinois sports teams, and being dragged all around town by his spirited Siberian Husky.
Tyler is a 2010 graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington with dual degrees in political science and history. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and a director on IU’s largest student programming board, helping plan events such as Culture Fest and Homecoming activities. After spending time working as a program facilitator at Camp Miniwanca in Michigan, he enrolled at Michigan State University College of Law and graduated in May 2015. At MSU Law, he participated in the school’s First Amendment Clinic and was president of MSU Law’s chapter of the Federalist Society.
In his free time, Tyler enjoys hiking, soccer, and playing a variety of games on Playstation 4, though typically not simultaneously. He is an avid supporter of the Indianapolis Colts, Chelsea FC, and the Indiana Hoosiers.
Senior Program Officer, Individual Rights Education Program
Colin graduated in 2000 from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He went on to attend Duke Law School, where he graduated in 2003 cum laude, and earned his Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Duke in 2004. Colin then entered a faculty fellowship at Duke Law, working with Professor Arti Rai on university technology transfer policy, intellectual property licensing, and policies to ease legal impediments to drug discovery. He has papers published in the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation; and the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics. In 2007, Colin went to work for the Triangle Apartment Association as its Government Affairs representative. In 2008, Colin and his wife bought and renovated a large historic property which they opened as a boutique hotel. Colin resides in Durham, North Carolina with his wife.
Director of Human Resources
Peyton graduated from Drexel University in 2011 with a B.A. in communications, concentrating in global journalism. Through Drexel’s cooperative education program, Peyton began working for FIRE in the spring of 2008 as a Program Assistant. After being on FIRE’s staff for three years while finishing her undergraduate degree, she took on a full-time position as Assistant to the Vice President after her graduation. As part of her work at FIRE, Peyton will also supervise students from the same program that brought her to FIRE. Throughout her time at Drexel, Peyton was a member of the women’s crew team. Outside of her involvement at FIRE, Peyton is a proud New Yorker and is passionate about the music and culture of the 1960s.
Web Production and Marketing Design Associate
Nikki is a Philly-based graphic designer with a passion for social design. She joins FIRE with a B.F.A. in graphic design from Piedmont College, a post-baccalaureate certificate from Maryland Institute College of Art, and a M.F.A. in graphic and interactive design from Tyler School of Art. She believes in supporting the underdog, stretching her mind, and utilizing design as a platform for positive social growth. In her spare time, Nikki creates hand crafted leather goods, enjoys musicals, and reads dystopian literature.
Legal and Legislative Policy Advocate
Shelby Emmett graduated from James Madison College at Michigan State University in 2006 with a dual-major in Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy and Social Relations & Policy. Shelby attended the David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington, D.C., where she participated in the school’s Legislative Clinic. After law school, Shelby served as the Policy Coordinator for a national non-profit in Baltimore. In 2012, Shelby was the Legislative Fellow with the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in the House of Representatives. During the 113th session of Congress, Shelby served as Legislative Counsel for Congressman Kerry Bentivolio (MI-11), responsible for a broad legislative portfolio including education and civil rights. Shelby, a native of Detroit, Michigan is an attorney licensed in the state of Maryland and lives in Washington, D.C. In her spare time, Shelby teaches kickboxing and enjoys traveling and writing poetry.
Assistant to the Executive Director
Jackie graduated in 2015 magna cum laude from Drexel University with B.S. degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies. She has been working at FIRE ever since participating in Drexel’s cooperative education program as a Program Assistant. At Drexel, she was the Event Coordinator for the campus’ Students Advocating for Feminism and Equality group. After graduation, she took a full-time position with FIRE as the Assistant to the Executive Director. Jackie’s interests in free speech stems from her love of political satire and previous involvement in student activism. When she is not thinking about the state of free speech on college campuses, you can find her preaching to others about how The Chris Gethard Show will revolutionize late night TV.
Assistant Director of Development
Bridget Glackin graduated cum laude from Fordham University with a B.A. in History and Political Science in 2007. After earning her undergraduate degree, Bridget worked as a press officer at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York City, focusing on issues such as culture, immigration, and higher education. In 2009, she returned to Fordham University to pursue an M.A. in Modern European History, completing her Master’s thesis on the intersection of socialist and feminist ideologies in late 19th century Britain. This passion for the study of competing ideologies and her belief in the value of open scholarship drives her commitment to the preservation of liberty on America’s college campuses.
Program Associate, Campus Outreach
A native Philadelphian, Theresa graduated magna cum laude from La Salle University with a dual major in English and political science and a Leadership and Global Understanding (LGU) minor. Theresa’s passion for free speech in education was ignited as a tutor and mentor for middle school students through the Writers Matter program. At La Salle, Theresa was the recipient of both the James A. Finnegan Memorial fellowship and senior student award by La Salle faculty and administration for her contribution to public service. Upon graduation in 2013, Theresa moved to Bratislava, Slovakia on a grant through The Fulbright Program where she taught English to primary and secondary school students. Upon completion of her grant, Theresa continued teaching adults through a language school that prepared the employees of Slovak Government Ministries to host the Presidency of Council of the European Union in 2016. In her spare time, Theresa has a passion for street art, exploring Fairmount Park, and watching travel shows and documentaries.
Research and Program Associate
Haley Hudler graduated cum laude from Denison University in 2013 with a B.A. in political science and a minor in English. While at Denison, Haley worked as a teaching assistant for the Constitutional Law class and served as the captain of the Moot Court team. Following graduation, Haley worked first as a Constituent Relations Representative in the Capitol Hill office of Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). She then transitioned to the role of Education Research Assistant on Senator Alexander’s staff for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, where she focused on both K–12 and higher education policy. Haley attributes her passion for freedom of expression to her journalist parents and grandparents, as well as her experience interning with the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center.
A proud southerner, having lived in Florida, Georgia, and Nashville, Tennessee, Haley now lives in Arlington, Virginia and works out of FIRE’s Washington, D.C. office. In her spare time, Haley enjoys hiking, traveling, visiting D.C.’s countless museums, and listening to NPR.
Senior Program Officer, Legal and Public Advocacy
Susan Kruth earned her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2007, with a concentration in music and film. After a handful of short film and documentary gigs, Susan was inspired to go to law school in order to study the ways that the Constitution protects filmmakers. While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, she served as musical director of the law school’s a cappella group, the A Cappellate Opinions, and performed in UVA Law’s spring musical comedy program, the Libel Show. Susan earned her J.D. in 2011 and is now a member of the Virginia State Bar. She got her start working to protect free speech through a fellowship with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has also completed civil rights internships with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project.
Director, Individual Rights Education Program
Azhar Majeed, a native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, received a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in History from the University of Michigan in 2004. He is also a 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. As an undergraduate, his academic interests included comparative constitutional law and political philosophy, particularly from the time period of the Enlightenment. During law school, Azhar represented the University of Michigan at the 2006 Tulane International Moot Court competition. Azhar was one of FIRE’s inaugural Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellows and was also a FIRE legal intern in 2005.
Production and Design Manager, Sweidy Stata Video Fellow
Chris is a graduate of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication. He started his video career interning with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s communications department. From there, Chris went on to coordinate parts of the Labor 2008 Campaign in Philadelphia. Chris has spent much of his career working in post-production, both in the Washington, D.C., and New York media markets. He has produced video for a variety of commercial companies and nonprofit organizations, including TEDx; amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research; Honda; and Cartier. Chris comes to FIRE from Bleacher Report, where he served as a video editor in New York. Chris is also an avid Philadelphia sports fan.
Program Officer, Individual Rights Defense Program
Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Drexel University in 2014 with a B.S. in political science and a minor in history. In 2012, Sarah began working with FIRE through Drexel’s cooperative education program as a Program Assistant. She stayed on FIRE’s staff for another year through the rest of her undergraduate career. After graduation, Sarah took on the position of Program Associate for FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. In addition to her passion for free speech, Sarah is an avid J.R.R. Tolkien fan.
Program Officer, Legal and Public Advocacy; Editor In Chief, The Torch
Alex is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, and holds a Master of Science degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. A proud native of Tucson, Arizona, she attended college at the University of Arizona, graduating cum laude with a B.A. in journalism and French. Alex also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Madagascar, where she taught English to middle and high-schoolers and collaborated with local reporters on free press and social media initiatives through the U.S. Embassy’s American Press Center. She is a member in good standing of the New York State Bar Association and the State Bar of Wisconsin. She lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and two sons.
Director of Campus Outreach
Molly Nocheck, a Cincinnati native, graduated from Ohio University in 2013 with a B.S. in journalism. During her time as an undergraduate, Molly served as the director of Students Defending Students, an organization dedicated to advising students through OU’s judicial processes. She also served as a reporter and producer for WOUB News. Molly is excited to be working for FIRE and hopes to ameliorate codes of conduct nationwide. Her passion for due process and free speech is only matched by her love of Skyline Chili.
Chief of Staff
Nate O’Connor is a native Hoosier from Indianapolis. He graduated from Indiana University in 2013, and double majored in Italian and political science. While at IU, Nate was highly active in the university’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, which has worked with FIRE for several years to dismantle the university’s oppressive speech codes. After finishing his senior year while studying abroad at the University of Bologna in Italy, Nate interned at YAL’s national office in Washington D.C. He then moved on to serve as a legislative intern at the Indiana State House for the spring 2014 legislative session before coming to FIRE. In his free time Nate enjoys traveling, listening to wide varieties of podcasts, and being an amateur astronomer.
Associate Director of Communications
Nico graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington (IU) in 2012 with a B.A. in journalism and history. While at IU, Nico was a member of the track & field team and served as editor-in-chief for the Indiana Standard and as a reporter and columnist for the Indiana Daily Student. Nico’s on-campus activism in defense of student and faculty rights led to a second-place finish in FIRE’s 2011 Incentive Program and induction into FIRE’s Prometheus Society. He was also a winner of 1 for All and the Knight Foundation‘s 2011 “Free to Tweet” contest.
Nico first joined FIRE in 2012 as a Program Associate and Assistant to the President, later serving as a Communications Coordinator. In 2014, Nico went to work for the Institute for Justice, before returning to FIRE in 2015 to manage its communications team.
Originally from the Chicagoland area, Nico lives in Arlington, Va. and works out of FIRE’s Washington D.C. office. In his spare time, Nico enjoys playing guitar, studying history, and pretending he is Jimmy Buffett.
Program Associate, Campus Outreach
Luke Ripp graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in political science and received his J.D. from Marquette University Law School. While at Marquette, he was active in the Federalist Society and served on the International Executive Board of Students for Liberty. Luke joins FIRE after gaining experience working professionally in a variety of legal, policy, and outreach roles, in both Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. In his free time, Luke enjoys rowing, campfires, and studying the philosophy of God.
Associate Director of Litigation
Catherine Sevcenko, FIRE’s Associate Director of Litigation, graduated magna cum laude from George Mason School of Law after a career as a Foreign Service Officer. Postings in Budapest, Munich, and Moscow before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall gave her a deep appreciation for the power of free speech. After law school, Catherine clerked on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals before starting work as an associate at Steptoe & Johnson, LLC. After leaving Steptoe, Catherine joined the appellate group at the U.S. Trustees Program at the Department of Justice. Catherine joined FIRE as a Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow; in October 2013, she took over the day-to-day management of what is now FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.
Catherine is an adjunct professor of appellate writing at George Mason School of Law. She lives outside of Washington D.C. with her husband and son; her daughter recently graduated from a green light school. She also raises African Pied Crows and recently received her license to rehabilitate wild songbirds.
Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon
Senior Program Officer, Individual Rights Defense Program
A native of the Philadelphia area, Marieke graduated summa cum laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2004. Marieke continued her studies at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2008.
After law school, Marieke clerked for the Honorable A. Richard Caputo in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania before joining the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania as a legal fellow in 2009. She later joined the Philadelphia firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis as a commercial litigation associate, where she continued to work on civil rights cases on a pro bono basis, focusing primarily on the First Amendment. Right before joining FIRE, she served as a Project Coordinator for the nonprofit Resources for Human Development, where she implemented projects addressing disability discrimination and health care reform. Outside the office, she loves to be around horses and volunteers for a therapeutic riding program.