Vice President of Programs

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.

Published Writings

Available Speeches

Liberty In Peril: Speech Codes On Our Nation’s Campuses

This talk discusses the widespread disregard for free speech on our nation’s campuses using both humorous and serious examples of speech that universities have banned and continue to ban on their campuses. Peter explains in layman’s terms why speech codes are unconstitutional and how students can fight back and demand their rights.

The First Amendment On Campus: A User’s Guide

This talk gives an overview of how students’ free speech rights are routinely violated on college campuses across the country. The talk details the history of free speech on campus and describes the biggest current threats to student rights on campus: overzealous campus censors and restrictive speech codes. Plus, the session will offer tools and advice on how attendees can proactively take a stand for free speech on campus.

Free Speech On Your Campus: Real Students, Real Solutions

This interactive session teaches students about their rights on campus and how to defend them by going through real-life scenarios of campus censorship and how those students fought back. Attendees will learn proven arguments and strategies they can use to defeat would-be censors at their own schools.

*Other topics may be available upon request