This week, FIRE mailed information about our first annual "Freedom in Academia" essay scholarship contest to high schools around the country. The response has been tremendous—we have already received nearly two dozen entries.
Designed specifically "to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to rights on our campuses," students are asked to familiarize themselves with FIRE’s mission. Then, the student essayists are asked to watch two short FIRE documentaries: FIRE on Campus: An Introduction to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and FIRE in Action: Valdosta State University. These videos provide an excellent glimpse into the workings of FIRE as well as an up-close view of two particularly egregious FIRE cases and how the students successfully fought back.
The essay contest is open only to high school seniors who will be attending college in the fall of 2009. The deadline for all entries is November 20, 2008, with the winner announced on December 19, 2008. Submitted essays should be between 700 – 1200 words and should address how the universities in the videos betrayed their purpose as a "marketplace of ideas" and violated the First Amendment freedoms of their students. FIRE will present a $5,000 scholarship to the grand prize winner and a $2,500 scholarship to the second place winner. Essays should be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail mail to:
Attn: Essay Scholarship Contest
601 Walnut Street, Suite 510
Philadelphia, PA 19106
If you are a high school senior or know one who might be interested in our contest, please encourage them to get their essay in today! To view the complete rules and regulations for the contest, please click here.