Last month, FIRE celebrated 15 years of defending student and faculty rights on college campuses with a gala in New York City. Writing Friday for the legal blog Concurring Opinions, esteemed First Amendment attorney Ronald K.L. Collins recaps the highly successful event that took place at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Collins describes the 15th anniversary as:
EXPLOSIVE. That is as good as any a word to describe the high energy level at the 15th Anniversary dinner of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the group founded by Harvey Silverglate and Alan Charles Kors in 1999. People were yelling “FIRE” in the crowded hall all evening long.
He continues by praising the gala’s many excellent speakers—the students (Merritt Burch, Morgan Freeman, Chris Lee, and Robert Van Tuinen), Floyd Abrams, Steven Pinker, and FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. Of Greg, Collins writes:
He is like no other — Lukianoff, FIRE’s president, is a man full of ideas, energy, and the smarts to make it all work. Author, pamphleteer, activist, and Stanford Law graduate, this 40-year-old who grew up in Danbury, CT is changing the world around him by bringing the First Amendment to the doorstep of college bureaucrats bent on squelching freedom of speech and conscience. And Lukianoff and FIRE are winning; they have prevailed (either by a court victory or a settlement) in every one of the challenges they have brought — and they are busily preparing many more. Beyond the courtroom, Lukianoff regularly takes his free-speech message to the public, either by testifying before Congress or appearing on the O’Reilly Factor, the CBS Evening News, or by publishing an op-ed in this or that newspaper. Regardless of one’s ideological stripes, he is always prepared to make a strong case for the First Amendment.
FIRE’s 15th anniversary gala was a great night for free speech and student and faculty rights. FIRE thanks all of those who have been supportive over the years as we continue to protect civil liberties on college campuses.