FIRE to launch Faculty Legal Defense Fund; First Amendment Lawyers Association National Chair Ronald G. London to lead effort

February 8, 2021

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2021 — College and university faculty members of all political stripes are facing greater threats to their expressive rights and academic freedom than at any other time in recent memory. That’s why, next month, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education will launch a new Faculty Legal Defense Fund that will provide free legal representation to public college faculty members who need it. The fund will also feature a 24/7 telephone hotline for faculty in need of immediate assistance.

Made possible through generous support from the Stanton Foundation, FIRE is pleased to announce attorney Ronald G. London will lead the fund’s efforts. London is the former president and now national chair of the First Amendment Lawyers Association.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be selected to help lead this expansion of FIRE’s ‘first responder’ capabilities in safeguarding faculty members’ academic freedom and ability to express diverse views,” said London.

The Faculty Legal Defense Fund will augment FIRE’s ability to effectively assist faculty facing threats of censorship and punishment for speech and research, ensuring that faculty who need legal help get it quickly.

“Adding the Faculty Legal Defense Fund to FIRE’s arsenal will allow us to help more faculty — faster,” said FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff. “We will continue to litigate cases in-house to establish rights-protective precedents, continue to fiercely advocate in the public square for those whose rights are denied on campus, and now, with the creation of this legal fund, we will multiply exponentially our ability to assist those faculty members who need it in a way and at a pace we never could before.” 

More details about FIRE’s Faculty Legal Defense Fund and hotline will be forthcoming.

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; media@thefire.org