FIRE is pleased to welcome our new Assistant to the Executive Director, Ryne Weiss.
Ryne graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a B.A. in Classics and an emphasis on Latin and Greek.
“I am incredibly excited to work for FIRE’s nonpartisan mission to protect the rights of students everywhere,” he said. “FIRE’s mission has never been more important than in such tumultuous political times.”
It was a high school ethics class that first got Ryne thinking critically about free speech.
“For the class, I read articles by [former ACLU President] Nadine Strossen about how laws limiting speech ostensibly to protect certain groups are frequently subverted and weaponized against the very groups they are meant to protect,” Ryne said.
His upbringing in a town with singular majority viewpoints—ones Ryne happened to disagree with—also informed his views on strong protections for speech.
“My political views made me an outlier, and even an offensive presence to some,” Ryne said. “It is my firm belief that true protection comes only from the strong guarantees of rights that are not subject to the selective enforcement and interpretation of those in power.”
Ryne’s interest in free expression extends to the arts. He has participated in slam poetry events and has worked as a sound engineer and production assistant at events for artists like Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Kygo, and for public figures like Chuck Hagel and David Axelrod. He has also competed in the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt—the world’s largest scavenger hunt—for the past 6 years. In 2013, he captained the winning team.
Please join us in warmly welcoming Ryne to FIRE. We’re glad to have you on board.