Nico Perrino joins FIRE from Indiana University-Bloomington, where he majors in Journalism and History with a minor in Italian. Before coming to FIRE, he interned at ESPN. Nico is also president of Young Americans for Liberty at IU. On why he came to FIRE, Nico writes:
Being a writer, and more specifically a journalism student in college, I feel as though I have a greater appreciation for the First Amendment than most other people on campus. My work, and the work of other writers, rests squarely upon society’s common value and understanding of the importance of free speech in a diverse and democratic society, so it is somewhat understandable that we hold this value nearer and dearer to our hearts than most others. However, while it is laudable that college journalism students seem to understand the importance of the First Amendment (although there are cases that would suggest the contrary), it is frightening that so many other students have only a superficial understanding of the rights it expresses and guarantees to us.
I became interested in FIRE after my university discriminated against my student group because of our ideological beliefs. At the time, my fellow group members and I had a very limited knowledge of our rights as students and how we could use those rights to protect our message. As my group was dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, this should serve as an even greater example of how thin knowledge is on campus of students’ rights. If a group of students devoted to the principles of liberty doesn’t even understand students’ rights on campus, there’s probably not much hope for everyone else. It is my desire that through this internship, and with the knowledge I will gain from working with some of the leading First Amendment advocates in the nation, I will go back to my school better prepared to handle any future free speech issues and also to create a more knowledgeable environment where the First Amendment is better understood.