Third Annual 'Freedom In Academia' Scholarship Contest Now Accepting Submissions | The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

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Third Annual 'Freedom In Academia' Scholarship Contest Now Accepting Submissions

FIRE is pleased to announce its Third Annual "Freedom in Academia" Essay Contest.

FIRE's mission states in part that we exist "to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to rights on our campuses." For this purpose, high school students from across the country who will be graduating in 2011 and attending college the following fall are invited to write an in-depth essay explaining why free speech and First Amendment rights are crucial to higher education and how abuses of these rights are contrary to the purpose of a university education. Last year's contest was a huge success, garnering 2,700 essay submissions from students across the country. Read the winning essays here.

Students are asked to watch two short FIRE documentaries: Political Correctness vs. Freedom of Thought - The Keith John Sampson Story and Think What We Think...Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus. Students will see how university administrators at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Delaware stifled the constitutional rights of their students to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. Students should read FIRE's mission, watch FIRE's other videos, and read posts on The Torch to get a sense of FIRE's goals and activities.

Students then are asked to write 700 to 1,200 words explaining how the universities in the videos betrayed their purpose as a "marketplace of ideas" and violated the First Amendment freedoms of their students.

Deadline for entry is November 1, 2010. Winners will be announced by December 17, 2010.

This year, FIRE will award one first-place winner a $5,000 scholarship, one second-place winner a $2,500 scholarship, and five runners-up $1,000 scholarships.

Essays should be submitted on the contest page, via e-mail to, or via postal mail to:

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

To view the complete rules and regulations for the contest, please click here.

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