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High School Seniors: Submit Your Essay to "Freedom in Academia" Essay Contest

FIRE is proud to announce our second annual "Freedom in Academia" essay contest. High school seniors graduating in 2010 and attending college in the fall are invited to write an essay explaining why free speech rights are crucial to higher education and how infringements on these rights betray the purpose of a university education.

Participating students are asked to visit FIRE's multimedia page and watch two short FIRE documentaries: FIRE in Action: Valdosta State University and Think What We Think...Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus. The videos demonstrate in vivid detail how university administrations at Valdosta State University and the University of Delaware abrogated the constitutional rights of their students to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. Students should also watch some of FIRE's other documentaries and read FIRE's mission and posts on The Torch to get a good sense of FIRE's goals and activities.

Students then are asked to write 7001200 words explaining how Valdosta State and the University of Delaware violated the First Amendment rights of their students and betrayed the ideal of a university as a "marketplace of ideas."

The essays should also focus on why restrictions on free speech and freedom of conscience are unsuited to the academic environment.

Deadline for entry is November 6, 2009. Winners will be announced by December 11, 2009.

This year, FIRE will award twice as much money in scholarships as we did last year. One first-place winner will receive $5,000, two second-place winners will receive $2,500, and five runners-up will receive $1,000 each.

Essays should be submitted via e-mail to or via snail mail to:

Attn: Essay Scholarship Contest
601 Walnut Street, Suite 510
Philadelphia, PA 19106

To view the complete rules and regulations for the contest, please click here. We look forward to receiving your entry!

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