Having a FIRE 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 Luke Ripp at Luke@thefire.org.
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 second longest-serving employee and is executive director of FIRE, having started in 2003 as a Program Officer for what would become the Individual Rights Defense Program. Along with traveling to various campuses to speak about First Amendment issues, Robert has represented FIRE publicly on “Fox and Friends” and “Stossel,” as well as on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” in national and international radio and TV interviews, and in published editorials in the New York Post, Boston Globe, National Review, Providence Journal, Daily Oklahoman, and other newspapers. He also writes columns for The Daily Caller, Forbes.com, and Pajamas Media. Robert and his wife Araz live in Apex, North Carolina, with their two daughters, Grace and Cecily.
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 spoken to students, faculty, administrators, and attorneys at events across the country and has led FIRE’s Continuing Legal Education programs in New York, Pennsylvania, and online. Will edited the second edition of FIRE’sGuide to Due Process and Campus Justice and co-edited the second edition of FIRE’sGuide to Free Speech on Campus. Will has coauthored amicus curiae briefs submitted to a number of courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. Will has appeared on national cable television and radio on behalf of FIRE, and Will’s writing has been published by theChronicle of Higher Education, Jurist, Inside Higher Ed, Daily Journal, the Charleston Law Review, the Providence Journal, and many other outlets. Will is a member in good standing of the New York State Bar and the First Amendment Lawyers Association.
Ari Cohn is an attorney who joined FIRE to defend civil liberties after leaving private practice in Chicago, where he represented large multinational companies in high-stakes litigation. Ari regularly comments on First Amendment issues in the press, appearing in national and international television and radio broadcasts as well as in various print and online publications. He is the director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, which engages in direct advocacy on behalf of students who have suffered violations of their rights, and he speaks regularly to diverse audiences about the importance of free speech, with a particular emphasis on bridging ideological divides and finding mutual understanding. Ari has authored and co-authored briefs to state and federal courts across the country, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ari earned his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School, and his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A native of Skokie, he studied the famous ‘National Socialist Party of America’ case at an early age, which cultivated a profound respect for the First Amendment, and a lifelong passion for free speech issues. He brings a diverse perspective on student disciplinary issues as well; as an undergraduate, he served on the University of Illinois’ student conduct hearing committee, and later returned to work as a legal intern in its Office of University Counsel. Ari is a member of the Illinois State Bar and the First Amendment Lawyers Association.
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.
Samantha Harris is FIRE’s Vice President of Policy Research. A native of Philadelphia, she holds a degree in Politics from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She joined FIRE in 2005 after a federal clerkship and a brief stint as a litigator. She is the author of FIRE’s annual Spotlight on Speech Codes report and an expert in policies affecting the free speech and due process rights of college students and faculty. She speaks extensively on issues of free speech and due process, and has represented FIRE publicly on national television and radio as well as in publications including Inside Higher Ed and the New York Post.
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, 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 works in FIRE’s legal and public advocacy department.
Nico is the director of communications at FIRE. He 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’s on-campus activism in defense of student and faculty rights led to induction into FIRE’s Prometheus Society. He was also a winner of 1 for All and the Knight Foundation‘s 2011 “Free to Tweet” contest.
Nico first joined FIRE 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 team.
Originally from the Chicagoland area, Nico lives and works in New York City. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, studying history, and pretending he is Jimmy Buffett. Nico is the host of FIRE’s So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast.
Tyler is a 2010 graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington with dual degrees in political science and history. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and a director on IU’s largest student programming board, helping plan events such as Culture Fest and Homecoming activities. After spending time working as a program facilitator at Camp Miniwanca in Michigan, he enrolled at Michigan State University College of Law and graduated in May 2015. At MSU Law, he participated in the school’s First Amendment Clinic and was president of MSU Law’s chapter of the Federalist Society.
In his free time, Tyler enjoys hiking, soccer, and playing a variety of games on Playstation 4, though typically not simultaneously. He is an avid supporter of the Indianapolis Colts, Chelsea FC, and the 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. Laura returns to FIRE as a policy reform program officer.
Zach Greenberg, a Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow, is a native Long Islander and a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and the Syracuse University College of Law. At Syracuse Law, Zach was president of the Federalist Society and a student attorney for the Criminal Defense Clinic, where he defended indigent individuals on misdemeanor charges. He is currently a member in good standing of the New York State Bar and the First Amendment Lawyers Association. He has spoken to groups of students, lawyers, and other professionals on various topics related to free speech and due process on campus.
Outside of FIRE, you can find Zach on the Ultimate Frisbee field, around a poker table, or hovered over a chess board. He also serves on 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 took on the position of Program Associate for FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, where she now works as a Senior Program Officer. In addition to defending freedom of expression on campus, Sarah also writes about the issues surrounding dissidents’ free speech and blasphemy in the international context.
Brynne graduated from the George Washington University with a degree in sociology in 2009. After graduating from GW, Brynne worked for the National Fair Housing Alliance before returning to GW and earning her JD in 2013. While in law school, Brynne served as a co-president of Lambda Law and as the president of the GW Law Feminist Forum. She was also a notes editor for the George Washington International Law Review. Brynne joined FIRE in 2016 after working as a litigation associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.
As a Staff Attorney in the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, Brynne helps to challenge unconstitutional speech codes at colleges and universities throughout the country. Brynne’s been a vocal advocate for free speech since grade school and has wanted to help protect others’ free speech rights since she participated in the Van Vleck Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition while in law school. Brynne is barred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In her spare time, Brynne enjoys playing a variety of RPGs, needlepointing, and knitting, when her cats, Hydra and Toothless, do not demand her attention.