Vice President for Procedural Advocacy
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.
- “Harvard attacks a defense attorney for doing his job: Ronald Sullivan could be penalized for daring to represent Harvey Weinstein,” New York Daily News, Feb. 27, 2019
- “Conflicts over the politics of the Middle East are corroding academic freedom on U.S. campuses,” The Washington Post, Dec. 13, 2018
- “The spurious move to stifle speech on campus because it is ‘dehumanizing,'” Reason, Nov. 17, 2017
- “Stop using censorship to ‘protect’ free speech,” The Washington Post, Apr. 27, 2017
Note: Please do not feel limited to the speeches listed below. They are examples of available presentations, but Samantha is happy to customize her talk to meet your particular needs.
The Assault on Due Process on Campus
Today, students are routinely suspended or expelled from college for serious offenses like sexual assault without so much as a hearing or an opportunity to confront their accuser. Samantha explains why it is so important for colleges to provide due process, how schools are failing at this, and what we can do about it.
Title IX and Sexual Misconduct on Campus
Title IX, the law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded educational institutions, has led colleges and universities to set up parallel justice systems that adjudicate claims of some of society’s most serious crimes — but often without any of the procedural protections normally afforded to people facing such serious accusations. This talk will cover the history of Title IX, the changes and proposed changes to its enforcement under the Obama and Trump administrations, and will discuss how colleges can protect students from discrimination without compromising free speech and due process rights.
Know Your Rights: An Introduction to Student Rights on Campus
In this presentation, Samantha provides an overview of free speech and due process rights on campus. Audiences will gain an understanding of the legal underpinnings of student free speech and due process rights; the most common threats to free speech and due process on campus; and how to identify and address threats to your own rights.