2013 was, by a lot of measures, FIRE’s busiest year on record. As director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, one measure of this stands out above the others: 2013 marked the highest number of case submissions FIRE has ever had, with well over 500 of them being handled by our small staff.
That last year saw our highest volume of case submissions yet—and I have every reason to expect 2014 will see even more—speaks to two factors. The first is that with each passing year, FIRE’s national profile grows, with our work getting ever more attention in the national media and elsewhere, and FIRE becoming ever more synonymous with the fight for liberty on campus. The second flows directly from the first: The more people become aware of FIRE’s work, the more people there are that know they need FIRE’s help. When FIRE gets a particularly galling submission, invariably among my first thoughts is “Thank goodness this person knew to contact FIRE!” But for every one of those submissions we do get, I don’t doubt there are another four or five out there whose circumstances are not much different.
Fortunately for students and faculty who have suffered censorship or other punishment for their expression on campus, it’s easy to get your story to FIRE. Simply go to our case submission page, let us know what issues you’re facing on campus, and I or another FIRE staffer will be happy to discuss your case with you. If your issues fall outside of FIRE’s mission, we’ll do our best to suggest other available resources of which you may be able to take advantage. We respect the confidentiality of all materials submitted to us.
So, students and faculty: Send your cases to us, and tell us your stories! And to our supporters: If you know someone who might need FIRE’s assistance, send them to our website, where they can read up on our past cases, read our Guides to Student Rights on Campus, learn about our research on campus speech codes, join our Campus Freedom Network, and much more. Since our founding in 1999, we’ve been saying that our ultimate goal was to put ourselves out of business. But before we can do that, students and faculty on campuses nationwide first need to know that FIRE is open for business, and ready to help.
Image: “Document folders” – Shutterstock