So far this week, we’ve counted down three of the top five reasons why supporting FIRE’s work is a worthy investment this year. You’ve heard from Alisha and Amanda about all of FIRE’s great programs, through which we educate students and faculty members about their rights and come to their defense when those rights are violated. Now it’s my chance to share with you the number two reason to donate to FIRE in 2009:
When it comes to protecting civil liberties on college and university campuses, FIRE gets results. We are making a difference on campuses across the nation and spreading awareness farther than ever—and we have the statistics to prove it.
Since our founding in 1999, FIRE has secured 163 public victories for students and faculty members at 121 colleges and universities with a total enrollment of more than 2.7 million students. We have been directly responsible for changing more than 70 unconstitutional or repressive policies affecting more than 1.5 million students. FIRE also has a 100% success rate in lawsuits against speech codes we’ve identified as unconstitutional. Of the 18 lawsuits that have been brought against speech codes that FIRE identified as unconstitutional, every single one has resulted in the speech code either being struck down by a court or rescinded by the university.
We reach substantial audiences through an aggressive public awareness campaign that strives to reach not only students and faculty but also the public and the media with FIRE’s issues. In 2009 alone, FIRE has been featured in nearly 180 news articles in 89 publications, which have a combined print circulation of nearly 13.3 million readers, with more than 94.4 million additional readers online. We spread our message even farther through an expanded advertising campaign, launching a multi-pronged and fully coordinated media blitz that made sure FIRE’s message was everywhere when students and parents set foot on campus in the fall. Just this year, we’ve added nearly 2,000 new members to our Campus Freedom Network, bringing its total membership to more than 3,200 students, faculty, and alumni from more than 1,200 schools across the nation—and each of these members is an important voice in the push to create real and lasting change on campus.
An ever-growing resource for students, parents, the media, and the general public, FIRE’s website sees more than 221,000 unique monthly visitors each month, and we have more than 1,700 followers on Twitter. In just four years, we have distributed more than 43,000 bound copies of our educational Guides to Student Rights on Campus, and the Guides have been downloaded more than 237,000 times from our website. FIRE staff made 38 public speaking appearances in 2009—more than four times as many as just two years ago—and were able to connect with important student audiences across the nation, and even some administrators.
FIRE’s ever-increasing presence in both the media and the national public consciousness, combined with our legal expertise and our successful casework, has enabled us to continually gain ground against a higher education establishment with 250,000 times our level of resources. FIRE is poised to extend our influence even further in 2010, and with your support, we can achieve even greater results by reaching larger audiences, driving increased student advocacy and reform efforts, and winning even more case victories.
Check back tomorrow for the number one reason to donate to FIRE this holiday season!