As 2009 draws to a close, all of us here at FIRE have much to be thankful for. Throughout the past year, we made huge strides towards victory in the battle for liberty on college campuses. We secured more than 25 public case victories for students, professors, and student groups nationwide (bringing us to 163 public victories since our founding in 1999, which you can check out on our new interactive victory map). We spread awareness about abuses of liberty on campus to millions of new individuals. We reached out and connected with administrators as allies in restoring the most fundamental rights to campus. All of this—and much, much more—was made possible by the support of our generous donors, the enthusiasm of our Campus Freedom Network and Legal Network members, and the dedication and passion of our friends and allies. Thank you for helping to make FIRE’s tenth anniversary year one of our most successful years yet. We couldn’t have done it without you.
But while we are grateful for much this holiday season, much work remains to be done. As Torch readers will recall, last week we counted down the top five reasons why your donation to FIRE during these final weeks of the year is a good investment. However, there are many more than just five reasons to support our work-not the least of which are each of the individual students and professors who are entering the holidays hoping for justice.
While you are sitting around the table breaking bread with your family this holiday season, some professors and students will ring in the New Year with their professional and academic careers on the line. Why? Simply because they said something unpopular (like Travis Eaione and his fellow members of Bucknell University’s Conservative Club, who were forbidden from peacefully protesting affirmative action and President Obama’s stimulus plan); disagreed with the people in charge (like Professor Thomas Thibeault from East Georgia College, who was thrown off campus after questioning a university policy); or offended a fellow campus community member (like Professor Richard Crandall from Lake Superior State University, who alone among his fellow professors was ordered to remove materials from his office door that dealt with issues like presidential politics and gun control). All of these individuals have turned to FIRE as their last line of defense against the administrative abuses they’re facing on campus.
With a donation today, you can help remind school administrators that the United States of America is a nation that treasures liberty, not oppression. Together with you, FIRE can quickly bring these injustices to an end, and perhaps we will even be able to do so in time for these wronged students and professors to have a happy holiday season spent celebrating their freedom rather than fearing ongoing punishment or even expulsion.
Even as we fight against ongoing abuses of liberty, we also face the unfortunate truth that still more students and professors will return to their campuses in the New Year to find that their fundamental rights have been tossed aside by administrators while they were gone. Take, for example, the University of Minnesota, where FIRE has been fighting to prevent current and future students from being subjected to one of the worst thought-control programs FIRE has seen. The program, part of a $4.5 million initiative, has threatened to give remedial re-education, weed out, or deny admission altogether to students in the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development with the “wrong” views. Proposed by the college’s Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group, this political litmus test has threatened to invade and judge future teachers’ thoughts, values, attitudes, and beliefs and would use these judgments to decide whether people were “culturally competent” enough to become teachers. Among the proposals are that future teachers recognize how minority students suffer from “white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression,” and that they “discover their own privilege, oppression, or marginalization.” Under pressure from FIRE, the university has been backing down from this plan while misrepresenting its true import.
As bad as it is to tell students what they can’t say, it is far worse to tell them what they must say, and worse still to tell them what they must think. The ramifications of this Orwellian program go far beyond the college students it directly indoctrinates, reaching into elementary, middle school, and high school classrooms. FIRE’s in-depth expert evaluation of this program has led to its exposure in multiple major media outlets. FIRE’s staff is prepared to continue this fight until we are sure that these outrageous program plans are reformed. Will you partner with FIRE today so that together we can prevent our K-12 classrooms from being led by brainwashed PC teachers? Please join our fight by making your tax-deductible gift now.
I urge you to tell your friends about FIRE and the work we do, and to decide today to make a tax-deductible contribution to FIRE. It is only because of your support that we are able to continue fighting the good fight.