FIRE’s increased profile has been possible only because of a much-needed staff and budget expansion. I am proud to say that we are starting this academic year with the biggest staff and budget in our history. Our growth is a testament to FIRE’s success and the generosity of our supporters. It’s also a sign that our work is in high demand, which means free speech and due process remain at risk on campus—now more so than ever.
To make greater strides towards our mission, we will continue to take our work defending fundamental rights to the airwaves and the courts, to state legislatures and to campuses, but soon we’ll take it to the big screen and debate stage, too.
As we enter our back-to-school season, I want to make sure all Torch readers are on the lookout for two exciting new projects set to debut in coming weeks. Later this fall, Can We Take a Joke?, a documentary about free speech and comedy on campus, will hit screens nationwide. FIRE plays a big role, both on camera and off, and we have some big names participating, including Adam Carolla, Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Jim Norton, Lisa Lampanelli, Heather McDonald, and Karith Foster. You won’t want to miss it.
Also this semester, FIRE is launching a new program that will bring the free exchange of ideas directly to college students: FIRE Debates. Throughout the school year, FIRE will host four debates at major college campuses across the country—two of which will be in collaboration with Intelligence Squared U.S., the nation’s premier debate organization. The first debate will be at Texas A&M, where two debaters will tackle the much-disputed motion “College athletes should be paid.” Stay tuned for our announcement about which big names will be going head-to-head to debate this issue.
We launch these new programs with great excitement, and also with deep appreciation for all those who have made them possible. FIRE remains extremely grateful to have so many of you as our allies and supporters. Thank you, and get ready for a busy fall!