Darpana Sheth joins FIRE as Vice President of Litigation

September 15, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15, 2020—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is proud to announce that Darpana Sheth has joined the campus civil liberties organization as its first Vice President of Litigation. 

Sheth comes to FIRE from the Institute for Justice, where she was a senior attorney and led the group’s National Initiative to End Forfeiture Abuse. Before her time at IJ, Darpana worked in private practice for Chadbourne & Parke LLP, clerked for Judge Jerome A. Holmes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.

Sheth arrives at FIRE at a time when demand for the organization’s services are at an all-time high. The upcoming presidential election, new COVID-related campus restrictions, and high-profile and contentious debates surrounding racial justice and the role of the police have led to a rise in free speech, academic freedom, and due process violations.

“I’m very excited to welcome Darpana to FIRE,” said FIRE Legal Director Will Creeley. “Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a unique ability to secure justice for victims of rights violations, often against seemingly insurmountable odds. I can’t wait to see what Darpana can do for the students and faculty FIRE defends every day, and it’s a pleasure to have her join our talented litigation team.” 

FIRE has celebrated significant litigation victories over the course of its history, including a $650,000 settlement as part of a lawsuit against Chicago State University, an eight-year battle on behalf of a student expelled for a satirical environmentalist collage that ultimately ended in a $900,000 settlement, a settlement that freed 150,000 Los Angeles Community College District students from unconstitutional “free speech zone” policies, and a groundbreaking decision in the Eighth Circuit against Iowa State University. Broadly, FIRE’s legal efforts have directly secured policy changes affecting more than 625,000 students, while spurring changes that affect tens of thousands more nationwide. 

Notably, FIRE is currently embroiled in four separate lawsuits defending the Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations, which secure important free speech and due process protections for college students.

“At a time when freedom of speech is under unprecedented assault, I am thrilled to join FIRE to oversee its litigation team,” said Sheth. “As a Philadelphia native, I have always admired FIRE as an organization that has proven itself to be indispensable in the fight for freedom. I am excited to help FIRE continue its important work and expand its impact in defending free speech, due process, and academic freedom.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of liberty.

CONTACT

Daniel Burnett, Director of Communications; FIRE: 215-717-3473; daniel.burnett@thefire.org