Yesterday, we heard from Bridget about some of the individual students and professors FIRE has worked to defend this past year. Here’s reason #2 you should support FIRE this holiday season:
FIRE nips college censorship in the bud by educating students about the basic rights afforded to them as Americans. By giving them the power and know-how to embrace the ideals of free speech, due process, and religious liberty, FIRE encourages students to be their own advocates for campus liberty.
Educating students about their constitutional rights is a critical part of FIRE’s mission. By arming students with the resources and knowledge to recognize violations of individual liberty, FIRE is empowering a generation of students to fight campus censors and to defend freedom of speech. In 2011, FIRE’s commitment to educating campus community members about their freedoms has been very successful—so successful, in fact, that our student outreach program won the Templeton Freedom Award.
FIRE’s "Freedom in Academia" essay contest, which is part of our "Know Before You Go" initiative, further contributed to that success by expanding the impact of our student outreach program far outside the college campus. This year was particularly noteworthy, as FIRE received entries from a strong pool of more than 2,500 high school students who took the time to watch two eye-opening FIRE documentaries and author essays about the importance of free speech on college campuses. Thanks to our generous donors, FIRE was able to bolster our promotional efforts for the contest in 2011, which resulted in a 75% increase in essay submissions from last year!
FIRE also helps current college students do what they do best—learn! Thanks to the support of our donors, FIRE has taken our popular series of Guides to Student Rights on Campus to the next level. In 2011, FIRE distributed copies of our Guides at campus lectures, conferences, through the mail, online, and even in college classrooms. We’ve also been working on a ramped-up version of our Guide to Free Speech on Campus, which will feature new information and contextual scenarios about online speech, as well as a completely new look. (Stay tuned to The Torch for its release in early 2012.) The Guides are a critical part of our educational work, providing students with the background knowledge they need to defend their rights.
FIRE depends on the generosity of our donors to ensure we have the tools necessary to establish a higher education environment where robust student rights are the rule, not the exception. Gifts to FIRE are 100% tax-deductible, so join us in our efforts to spread liberty by making a donation today. Stay tuned to The Torch for Reason #1 to donate to FIRE later this week, and remember, there are only three days left to give to FIRE this year!