Having a Foundation for Individual Rights in Education staffer come to your school to speak to students, faculty, and administrators is an excellent opportunity to bring positive change to the state of student rights on campus. Even if you have never planned a campus event before, FIRE Student Network staff is here to help along the way! Click “request a speaker” to get started!
Members of FIRE’s Board of Directors and Advisory Council are also available for speaking engagements. If you are interested in hosting a member of FIRE’s Board of Directors or Advisory Council for your event, please contact Sonia Deel at email@example.com.
Greg Lukianoff is an attorney and the president of FIRE. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe, in addition to dozens of other publications. He is a regular columnist for The Huffington Post and has frequently appeared on television, including the “CBS Evening News,” “Fox & Friends,” and “Stossel.” He received the 2008 Playboy Foundation Freedom of Expression Award and the 2010 Ford Hall Forum’s Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award on behalf of FIRE. He is a graduate of American University and Stanford Law School.
Robert Shibley is FIRE’s executive director. A native of Toledo, Ohio, and a graduate of Duke University and Duke University School of Law, he is the author of Twisting Title IX, from Encounter Books. During his 15-year career at FIRE, Robert has aided students and faculty members at hundreds of colleges and universities and personally traveled to dozens of campuses to educate students, faculty, and administrators about First Amendment issues. A free-speech activist who himself faced campus censorship, Robert’s writing has appeared in many national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, and TIME. He has also represented FIRE on NPR, The O’Reilly Factor, CNN Tonight, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Stossel, Fox & Friends, and CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, as well as many other national and international television and radio programs.
Will began defending student and faculty rights for FIRE in 2006 after graduating from New York University School of Law, where he served as an associate executive editor for the New York University Law Review. Will has appeared on national cable television and radio on behalf of FIRE and has spoken to thousands of students, faculty, administrators, and attorneys at events across the country.
Barred in New York and Pennsylvania, Will is a member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association and serves as Co-Chair of the Education Subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.
Will’s writing has been published by The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Jurist, Inside Higher Ed, Daily Journal, the Charleston Law Review, and many other outlets. Will edited the second edition of FIRE’s Guide to Due Process and Campus Justice, co-edited the second edition of FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus, and has coauthored amicus curiae briefs submitted to a number of courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States and multiple United States Courts of Appeals.
Will graduated magna cum laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2003. A proud native of Buffalo, New York, Will now lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.
Peter Bonilla, a native of the Washington, D.C., area, joined FIRE in 2008. Previously at FIRE he for several years directed FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, advocating directly on behalf of wrongly censored students and faculty members nationwide. Peter comments frequently for radio, print, and television media, lectures on free speech and academic freedom issues to students and faculty around the country, and has written for multiple outside publications. Prior to joining FIRE, Peter was Literary Manager of Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company, one of the country’s top theatres for the development and production of new politically and socially-themed plays. He is a past recipient of a fellowship in playwriting from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and his first play was developed (with stage and film actor David Strathairn) at Philadelphia’s PlayPenn New Play Development Conference, and premiered to critical acclaim in Arizona in September 2011. In 2009, Peter was a contestant on the television game show Jeopardy! His undergraduate degree, with a double major in theater arts and economics, is from the University of Pennsylvania.
For more than 13 years, Samantha Harris has advised students, faculty, administrators, and attorneys on issues of free speech and due process on campus. She lectures regularly about students’ rights at campuses and conferences around the country, including recently at the Judicial Conferences of the Third and Fourth Circuits. Samantha has been published in Inside Higher Ed, the New York Daily News, Reason, The Washington Post, Vox, and other publications, and has represented FIRE on CNN, ESPN, Fox News, NPR, and more.
Samantha received her undergraduate degree in Politics from Princeton University in 1999, and went on to earn her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2002. Following a clerkship with the late Judge Jay C. Waldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, she was a litigation associate at Pepper Hamilton LLP before joining FIRE in 2005.
Azhar Majeed is FIRE’s Vice President of Policy Reform. A native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, he received a B.A. in political science with a minor in history from the University of Michigan in 2004. He is also a 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. As an undergraduate, his academic interests included comparative constitutional law and political philosophy, particularly from the time period of the Enlightenment. During law school, Azhar represented the University of Michigan at the 2006 Tulane International Moot Court competition. Azhar was one of FIRE’s inaugural Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellows and was also a FIRE legal intern in 2005.
Joseph Cohn, FIRE’s Legislative and Policy Director, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Fels Institute of Government Administration, where he earned his Juris Doctor and Masters in Government Administration. Prior to law school, Joe attended the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV), where he graduated cum laude and co-founded the university’s ACLU chapter. A former staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and law clerk in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Joe joins FIRE having demonstrated a career-long dedication to advancing the cause of civil liberties
Susan Kruth earned her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2007, with a concentration in music and film. While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, she completed internships with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project. Susan earned her J.D. in 2011 and is licensed to practice law in Virginia and Pennsylvania. After law school, she worked for the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia, before moving to Philadelphia to work at FIRE. Susan previously served as editor-in-chief of FIRE’s blog and as a member of FIRE’s litigation team, and she now leads FIRE’s procedural advocacy department.
Nico Perrino is the Vice President of Communications, which oversees media relations, social media, web development, graphic design, audio and video production, advertising and marketing, FIRE’s award-winning Newsdesk, and additional public awareness programs for the organization. He is also the creator and host of FIRE’s So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast.
Nico began defending civil liberties on campus with FIRE in 2010 as a summer intern. He joined FIRE full time in 2012 as a Program Associate and Assistant to the President, later serving as a Communications Coordinator. In 2014, Nico went to work for the Institute for Justice before returning to FIRE in 2015 to manage its communications department. His writing has been featured in USA Today, Politico, and The Guardian, and he regularly travels the country to speak about student and faculty rights on campus.
Nico graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington (IU) with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and history. While at IU, he was a member of the track & field team and served as editor-in-chief for the Indiana Standard and as a reporter and columnist for the Indiana Daily Student. Nico was inducted into FIRE’s Prometheus Society for his on-campus activism in defense of student and faculty rights. He was also a winner of the 2011 “Free to Tweet” contest sponsored by 1 for All and the Knight Foundation.
Tyler is an attorney and a 2010 graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, where he was an executive board member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and a director on the Indiana Memorial Union Board of Directors, IU’s largest student programing board. He is also a 2015 graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law, where he participated in the school’s First Amendment Clinic and served as president of MSU Law’s chapter of the Federalist Society. During law school, Tyler completed legal internships at the US Department of the Interior’s Departmental Ethics Office and later at the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Since joining FIRE, Tyler has testified in state legislatures across the country about campus free speech and due process issues. He has also spoken at nearly 50 colleges and universities nationwide, discussing First Amendment freedoms, common ways in which universities censor student expression, and how students can stand up for their right to free speech.
Tyler resides in Washington, DC, and is a member of the DC Bar. He is an avid supporter of Chelsea FC, the Indianapolis Colts, the Indiana Pacers, and all things Indiana Hoosiers.
Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon
A native of the Philadelphia area, Marieke graduated summa cum laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2004. Marieke continued her studies at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2008.
After law school, Marieke clerked for the Honorable A. Richard Caputo in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania before joining the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania as a legal fellow in 2009. She later joined the Philadelphia firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis as a commercial litigation associate, where she continued to work on civil rights cases on a pro bono basis, focusing primarily on the First Amendment. Right before joining FIRE, she served as a Project Coordinator for the nonprofit Resources for Human Development, where she implemented projects addressing disability discrimination and health care reform. Outside the office, she loves to be around horses and volunteers for a therapeutic riding program.
Laura Beltz is a Philadelphia-area native who graduated from Penn State University with a B.A. in English through the Schreyer Honors College. She is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and is a member of the Pennsylvania State Bar. While at Penn State, her interest in the role of free speech on college campuses developed through an English course on public expression that involved topics ranging from banned books to the constitutionality of Penn State’s speech codes. Laura wrote an honors thesis on law and literature and spent much of her four years competing with Penn State’s Mock Trial organization. At Penn Law, Laura was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law. After spending her first summer of law school as a legal intern for FIRE, Laura worked as a legal intern at the National Constitution Center.
A native New Yorker, Zach graduated from Binghamton University in 2013 and Syracuse Law in 2016. He developed an appreciation for free speech as the President of the College Libertarians and the Federalist Society where he sought to bring those with divergent opinions together for debate and discussion. After serving as a legal intern for FIRE, he became a student attorney for the Criminal Defense Clinic where he defended indigent Syracuse residents on misdemeanor charges.
Outside of FIRE, you can find Zach on the Ultimate Frisbee field, around a poker table, or hovered over a chess board. He serves as the President of the Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance Board of Directors and enjoys watching his beloved New England Patriots win Super Bowls.
Adam Steinbaugh is a reporter with a legal background, graduating cum laude from Loyola Law School in 2012. A Colorado native, Adam moved westward, enrolling in Whittier College, where he served as student body president and was involved in Whittier’s local fraternal organizations. During law school, he served as an assistant to Professor Aaron Caplan, researching the First Amendment issues involved in the use of restraining orders to enjoin civil harassment, and externed for the Honorable Jeffrey Johnson of California’s Second District Court of Appeal.
Following law school, Adam practiced entertainment-focused civil litigation in California and authored an eponymous blog, where he covered a wide range of topics involving the First Amendment and the Internet. He later joined Popehat, and his commentary on internet and free speech issues has been featured in The Guardian, ArsTechnica, Channel 4, the CBC, and various other outlets.
Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Drexel University in 2014 with a B.S. in political science and a minor in history. In 2012, Sarah began working with FIRE as a Program Assistant through Drexel’s cooperative education program and remained on FIRE’s staff for through the rest of her undergraduate career. After graduation, Sarah defended students and faculty facing censorship in FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, where she worked for five years. She is now Director of FIRE’s Targeted Advocacy program, where she focuses on U.S. universities’ relationship with international threats to free speech and art censorship. Her writing about free speech issues, including protest and blasphemy laws, has been featured in publications including Foreign Policy, Artsy, The Huffington Post, and New York Daily News.
Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder
Bonnie Snyder leads FIRE’s high school outreach efforts. A graduate of Harvard with a Master’s in School Counseling and Doctorate in Higher Education, Dr. Snyder has earned public school certifications in three different fields in four different states. She has also taught aspiring teachers in public and private colleges of education for 15+ years. She is the author of three books on education and has written for venues such as Huffington Post and American Thinker and been mentioned or quoted by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She has spoken at national and statewide education and counselor conventions and is available to speak to K-12 students on numerous topics related to their constitutional rights, the history and philosophy of free speech, the importance of competing ideas in academia, and practicing civil discourse.