Sam Flannery has joined FIRE’s staff as our new Campus Coordinator.
A former FIRE summer intern and recent Ohio University graduate, Sam brings substantial experience in the student-rights arena to his new role at FIRE.
At Ohio University, Sam was the director of Students Defending Students, an organization dedicated to guiding students through the school’s judicial processes, and served on the board of directors of the Center for Student Legal Services. With an eye for implementing student-focused reforms both on-and-off-campus, Sam was also involved in efforts to make Ohio University’s code of conduct more equitable, and even helped negotiate an appeals process for city trash fines that he said unfairly targeted students.
Sam will be bringing that pragmatic mindset to his work with FIRE’s new Student Defender program, helping students nationwide start due process-focused initiatives like the one he ran at OU.
“I’ll be educating students on how to start their own student defender groups, why they’re important, how to effectively help students, and how to keep the groups going,” Sam said. “These groups will be on the front lines of defending due process on college campuses.”
He knows firsthand how important that is.
“The first case I had with Students Defending Students was a big moment for me,” Sam said of helping his first fellow student through the conduct process. “Being able to give them a fair chance, where they were fully aware of their rights and prepared to present their best case possible, and having a positive impact on their college experience was very rewarding.”
What’s the most important thing he thinks students should know if they want to make a change at their own college or university?
“The most important thing I learned is that, as a student, you are more than capable of creating administrative change,” Sam said. “It will be hard and frustrating at times, but with persistence and the right goals in mind, change is possible.”
Welcome to FIRE, Sam! We’re glad to have you aboard.