Reason’s Nick Gillespie on Higher Education’s Failures and the Importance of FIRE

March 11, 2013

“FIRE is more important now than ever,” says Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of and In a new interview with FIRE, Gillespie considers how the state of free expression on campus has deteriorated since his days at Rutgers University.

“It’s to the eternal shame of higher education in America that it no longer celebrates itself as a place where anything can happen, anything can be discussed, anything can be taught,” says Gillespie. “Instead it’s all about a kind of rigid and grim enforcement of the status quo or of superior knowledge that extends to how people should live and how people should think.” 

FIRE’s interview with Gillespie touches upon a wide range of topics, from his intellectual heroes to the importance of unfettered discourse in higher education. Gillespie contends that vibrant, intellectual exchanges that should be the hallmark of a healthy educational environment have been increasingly restricted on campus since the early 1980s as a result of a culture of censorship that not only poisons the academy, but also the world beyond the schoolhouse gates.