April 2012 Christe Thompson

Christe Thompson is a third year student in the Pennoni Honors College at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She is orginially from Harleysville, PA, roughly 40 miles west of Philadelphia. At Drexel, she is pursuing a double major in Communications and Economics, serves as Vice President for the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, and volunteers for the SquashSmarts program working with Philadelphia youth to teach them how to play squash.

Christe first heard about FIRE when she was applying for job opportunities through Drexel’s co-op program. “After exploring FIRE’s website and reading about their mission, I knew that I wanted to work there and help to protect free speech for my peers as well as faculty members,” Christe remembers.

After spending her co-op term at FIRE, Christe decided to seek reform on her own campus. “Working with FIRE really opened my eyes to the injustices occurring on campuses across the country,” Christe notes. “It also made me more aware of the policies at my own university, Drexel. After reading our updated Student Handbook I read more than a few policies that didn’t sit well with me. I got to work immediately getting in touch with the administration and setting up a meeting to discuss with them changes that could be made to help Drexel become a safe place for students’ First Amendment rights.” As a result of Christe’s efforts, the Drexel administration has agreed to work on improving Drexel’s policies for the upcoming school year.

When asked to give advice to other students pursuing speech code reform, Christe recommends perseverance. “Don’t let anyone change your mind,” she suggests. “If you feel strongly about promoting student rights and protecting free speech on your campus, do it. Join the Campus Freedom Network, order a set of FIRE Guides to Student Rights on Campus, and get to work! The best thing you can do is open up a dialogue between the student body and your administration and make freedom of speech an important topic of discussion.”