FIRE Free Speech Conference

FIRE Regional Conference attendees

FSN Free Speech Conference

FIRE’s 2021 Free Speech Conference:
Student Online Speech

Every year, FIRE brings together university students from across the United States to learn about their First Amendment rights on campus. In Fall 2021, FIRE’s Free Speech Conference was a one-day event, which offered ​​a crash course on freedom of expression — with particular emphasis on threats to online speech. Check out the details below to read about this event, and check back to apply for our 2022 Free Speech Conference!

Meanwhile, keep an eye on our Conferences and Events page to stay updated about upcoming opportunities to engage with FIRE, including FIRE’s annual Student Network Summer Conference. We hope to see you at all of our upcoming events!

The Details

FIRE’s 2021 Free Speech Conference: Student Online Speech took place on Saturday, October 16, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee at Vanderbilt University.

The Format

At the conference, college students from across the country came together for a day of intensive study on student rights. This event covered threats to speech online–from professors muting class discussions to self-censorship on social media. Our fall free speech conference provided students with tools to advance freedom of expression in the digital age.

Keynote Speaker

Ken PaulsonKen Paulson
Ken Paulson is a journalist, lawyer and educator who has combined these roles as an advocate and expert on the First Amendment. He’s the director of the Free Speech Center and the former editor of USA Today, where he remains a columnist writing about First Amendment issues.

He’s also the former president of the First Amendment Center and the Newseum. Ken is widely known for developing creative approaches to teaching the First Amendment, including a musical stage show called “Shut Up and Dance,” the social media campaign “Free to Tweet,” and the Emmy-honored national television show “Speaking Freely.”

What was included?

Meals on Saturday, October 16 were provided for attendees. Additionally, a travel reimbursement of up to $300 was available to help students travel to and from the conference.

Ready to speak out on campus? This is your chance to learn how to assert your free speech rights.