From the President in ‘The FIRE Quarterly’: “You Can Make a Difference”

By September 2, 2008

This summer’s issue of The FIRE Quarterly includes a strong message from FIRE President Greg Lukianoff on understanding the sheer size of the college industryand provides simple but effective ways in which FIRE supporters can make a big impact on protecting individual rights on campus. As Greg writes:

While FIRE’s record of success is unparalleled, it is important that people understand the scale of the problem that remains before us. FIRE’s small staff regularly takes on the Academy, an industry with estimated yearly expenditures exceeding $300 billion and total assets approaching half a trillion dollars. Every bit of supportno matter how big or smallis essential, and every new supporter contributes a meaningful step towards university reform.

Here are a few small steps FIRE supporters can take that will make a very big difference:

1. Follow up FIRE press releases with questions for top university administrators:

FIRE includes contact information for the top administrators at the end of each press release so that the people responsible for protecting fundamental rights on their campuses can be held personally accountable when they fail to do so. This approach has been remarkably successful over the years, as administrators often cannot defend in public what they do in private. A simple, well-reasoned, follow-up e-mail asking the university administration how it can defend its actions can make a crucial difference in a FIRE case.

2. Post FIRE’s widgets on your website:

To help FIRE fight speech codes, place our "Speech Code" and "Speech Code of the Month" widgets on your website. Simply copying and pasting the HTML code provided here allows anyone to add either one or both of these widgets to his or her own personal blog or website. The widget is an easy way to express displeasure with speech restrictions at a given school.

3. Send FIRE Guides to students, faculty, and administrators:

FIRE’s Guides to Student Rights on Campus are a series of books that educate students about basic rights on campus, from free speech to due process to religious liberty, and even what to expect at first-year orientation. We are happy to send free copies of our Guides to any college student who sends us a request.

4. Join the Campus Freedom Network (CFN):

Students and faculty are encouraged to sign up for the CFN, where you will have access to the CFN website that allows members to share resources, discuss plans, post multimedia documentation of their successes, workshop editorial columns, form alliances, and work from within to fight for individual rights on campus with an exciting new level of proficiency. With FIRE’s new CFN Incentive Program, student members have the opportunity to win great prizes ranging from gift cards and free books to digital cameras, laptops, and even college scholarships just by bringing FIRE to their campus and signing up their friends.

And, of course:

5. Support FIRE:

As Greg wrote: " I believe FIRE’s work is the best hope for positive change on campus, I believe we are the hardest-working nonprofit out there, and I believe there is no better way to spend your charitable dollar if you wish to see basic rights preserved on America’s campuses."