President of campus free-speech group is honored by Playboy Foundation

September 24, 2008

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is the first recipient of the $25,000 Playboy Foundation Freedom of Expression Award, the foundation announced this morning.

The advocacy group, commonly called FIRE, is known among colleges and universities for its relentless efforts to stop campus officials from restricting the free-speech rights of students and faculty members.

Much of FIRE’s work has centered on eliminating campus speech codes, which were introduced in the 1980s and 1990s as a way to protect students from harassment and slurs. The advocacy group has sued colleges and universities on the grounds that such codes are unconstitutional and have created an oppressive level of political correctness.

The Freedom of Expression Award is a new element of the Playboy Foundation’s annual Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards, established in 1979 "to honor individuals who have contributed significantly to the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans." In its announcement, the foundation praised Mr. Lukianoff for defending free speech and "the sanctity of conscience on our college campuses."