Faculty Rights & Resources

FIRE Faculty Network

The FIRE Faculty Network is a diverse coalition of faculty interested in defending and sustaining academic freedom and faculty rights, free speech, and civil liberties on campus. By joining FIRE’s faculty network, you’ll receive information curated specifically for faculty, including the latest information on FIRE events, legal developments, strategies for activism, and noteworthy research and reporting related to free speech and academic freedom.

Chicago Statement Advocacy

Because the University is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.”

–Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago

FIRE offers a variety of resources for faculty members who would like to protect freedom of expression at their college or university. We would be pleased to work with any faculty member who wishes to help reform their school’s speech codes, would like to convince their institution to adopt a version of the Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago (the “Chicago Statement”), is concerned about academic censorship, faculty rights and professor rights at their school, or otherwise wants to improve the free speech climate on campus.

Since 2015, FIRE has urged colleges and universities nationwide to adopt a version of Chicago Statement, which guarantees “all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn,” and makes clear that “it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

If you have questions, need assistance, or would like to be added to FIRE’s faculty outreach network, please email facultyoutreach@thefire.org.

Faculty Conferences

FIRE’s 2020 Faculty Conference will be held at the University of Chicago from October 22 – 24, 2020, bringing together a select group of faculty members from institutions around the country. We are currently accepting proposals for the 2020 conference, and faculty can learn more about the conference and the process of submitting a proposal on our call for proposals website. The deadline to submit is June 15, 2020.

As with our previous faculty conferences, we are accepting proposals from faculty interested in presenting on topics related to free speech, academic freedom, and faculty rights in higher education. Selected papers were presented as part of panel discussions moderated by other faculty attendees. We hope to issue a volume based on the collected papers presented at this year’s conference in early 2021. Inquiries regarding our conferences may be directed to facultyoutreach@thefire.org.

FIRE’s 2019 Faculty Conference was held at Boston University from October 31–November 2, 2019, bringing together roughly 70 faculty members from institutions around the country. We hope to issue a volume based on the collected papers presented at last year’s conference soon.

The volumes of 2017 and 2018 conference papers are available now.

Teaching Resources

In 2019 FIRE released First Things First: A Modern Coursebook on Free Speech Fundamentals, a new electronic coursebook offering students an engaging primer on the basics of First Amendment law, examining a range of contemporary topics in free speech of interest to the college population. Comprehensive, authoritative, and highly affordable at only $2.99, First Things First makes a valuable addition to any classroom.

First Things First is a college coursebook like no other. Written by three First Amendment experts and professors — Ronald K. L. Collins, Will Creeley, and David L. Hudson, Jr. — the book provides students with the fundamentals of modern American free speech law in a clear, concise, and accessible manner. 

First Things First introduces readers to First Amendment issues related to topics such as student speech, freedom of the press, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, advertising, music censorship, and artificial intelligence. The text includes scores of audio and video links, photographs, and helpful study-aid summaries and questions. First Things First’s vibrant and engaging tone ensures readers will leave this book with a dynamic understanding of their rights and the value of free speech.

With an innovative electronic textbook format, the traditional college text is replaced with dynamic content designed for college students—and enhanced by scores of audio and video links, photographs, and helpful study-aids. First Things First’s price is a modest $2.99. At a time when the price of coursebooks continues to soar, this e-textbook costs less than a latte.

More Free Speech Resources for Faculty