John Cetta is a senior at Cornell University where he is studying Industrial and Labor Relations. He is the managing editor and a staff writer for the Cornell University Pre-Law Journal, contributes to the Roosevelt Institution’s Equal Justice Center, is the treasurer of Cornell Coalition for Life, and is a representative on the University Assembly. John is also involved with the American Cancer Society as a legislative ambassador. On his dedication to free speech and why he came to FIRE, John writes,
Studying at Cornell has afforded me a deep appreciation for individual rights, especially freedom of speech. This appreciation developed not only from the inquisitive academic environment that fosters and depends upon open analysis and thoughtful scrutiny, but also from bearing witness to restrictions of free speech and students’ rights. Although the hostility towards free speech at Cornell is well-documented, when I learned of the disdain for free speech at universities throughout the country I was shocked. The pervasiveness of speech codes and despotic campus policies is truly appalling. Wanton disregard for free speech is antithetical to the notion of unfettered academic inquiry.
Thankfully, not only did I learn how individual freedoms are being restricted in higher education, but also of how FIRE’s work to defend and sustain individual liberties on campus is restoring freedom to the academy. I am eager to help FIRE pursue its mission and humbled by the significance of its work. Being a writer and editor for the Cornell University Pre-Law Journal and an active member in numerous student groups I know full well the importance of allowing the marketplace of ideas to flourish on campus. I hope to protect this marketplace during my time at FIRE, learning from its successful programs in defense of civil liberties.