Throughout our 17-year history, FIRE has worked to draw public attention to the free speech and due process rights abuses happening on campuses across the country. Whether through case-specific media campaigns, online “take action” efforts, or broader awareness initiatives, we’ve long recognized that external pressure from our allies can be one of the most powerful levers in the fight for student and faculty rights. This is particularly true in the case of alumni, who have a unique position in the campus community.
That’s why FIRE is putting out a special call to alumni today. Unless your alma mater is one of only 28 schools nationwide that earns a green-light rating from FIRE (you can check here), please consider redirecting some or all of your financial support from that college to FIRE. By doing so, you can send a powerful message to your school’s leadership and help your college or university become the marketplace of ideas it was meant to be.
Beyond supporting individual rights and free expression on a broad level, a redirected contribution to FIRE can become a critical tool in the fight for liberty on the campus you care about most. Here’s why a redirected donation can have a real impact:
- It will support an organization that honors its principles. FIRE stands by our mission and commitments. While your alma mater may promise free expression with lofty statements it fails to deliver on, FIRE is upholding free expression through concrete action. You can work with an organization that proudly stands by its principles and fights to see them honored.
- It sends a powerful message. Alumni have real power to effect change at their colleges and universities. Sadly, many students are too intimidated to challenge campus authority while it actively holds sway over their lives, or they don’t even recognize abuses in the first place. But alumni don’t need to fear punishment or bend to bureaucratic will. In fact, you hold enormous sway over administrative action. Simply put, money talks. If colleges and universities know that violating student rights jeopardizes the bottom line, they’ll make reform a priority. We’ve seen it happen time and time again.
- It will get results. You can be confident that a gift to FIRE will make a real difference. Since our founding in 1999, we have won hundreds of cases on behalf of individuals and groups facing censorship, defeated hundreds of speech codes affecting thousands of students, educated and empowered countless campus activists, and engaged millions of Americans.
- It has real meaning. FIRE is a small organization fighting a massive industry worth billions of dollars. Given our size and the scale of the problems before us, every dollar makes a big difference in our ability to have an impact. The more individuals who join our cause, the louder our voice can be. Your donation is worth more to us than it is to a school with a massive endowment.
- It gives students a chance to enjoy the marketplace of ideas. Most importantly, by donating to FIRE, you can help us give tens of thousands of students the chance to engage in open inquiry and celebrate debate. That exchange of ideas is what made college meaningful for so many of us. If college was a time of inquiry, debate, or dissent for you, consider helping to make that a reality for others, including your children, grandchildren, and friends. Today’s college students—and your future alumni peers—deserve the opportunity to engage in the world of ideas through classroom discussions, dorm room debates, or events on the quad. Help support that experience by standing up to administrative abuse and restrictive speech codes.
For all of these reasons, we hope you will join FIRE’s fight with a 100% tax deductible donation today. Alumni are critical to the effort to support individual rights at American colleges and universities, and you can help make important progress towards achieving FIRE’s mission.
When you donate, let us know you have redirected your support from your college or university, and—if you would like us to do so—we will send the appropriate development office notice of your decision to withhold support.
Finally, supporting FIRE’s work also means spreading the word. Please help FIRE by telling your fellow alumni about our work and by writing to your alma mater to encourage reform. Your donations, and your voices, can make a big difference. Thank you for supporting the fight for campus rights!