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!
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 works with FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, engaging in direct advocacy on behalf of students who have suffered violations of their rights, and 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 is the associate director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at FIRE, responsible for managing the cases of several hundred students and faculty each year, and going to bat with numerous university administrations. Peter came to FIRE from another industry in which free speech protections are a must: theater. From when he graduated college in 2005 until he joined FIRE in 2008, Peter was the literary manager of Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company, helping develop new plays with contemporary political, social, and cultural themes. His playwriting has also garnered him a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and his first play was produced to acclaim in 2011.
Samantha Harris is FIRE’s director of Policy Research, so while she may not be able to name your university’s sports team, she will definitely be able to tell you all about its harassment policy. She graduated from Princeton University in 1999 and then attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After a federal clerkship and a brief stint as a litigator, she landed at FIRE in 2005 and has been there ever since. Samantha lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and their three daughters.
Azhar Majeed is director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program. 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. After a handful of short film and documentary gigs, Susan was inspired to go to law school in order to study the ways that the Constitution protects filmmakers. While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, she served as musical director of the law school’s a cappella group, the A Cappellate Opinions, and performed in UVA Law’s spring musical comedy program, the Libel Show. Susan earned her J.D. in 2011 and is now a member of the Virginia State Bar. She got her start working to protect free speech through a fellowship with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has also completed civil rights internships with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project.
Catherine Sevcenko, FIRE’s Associate Director of Litigation, graduated magna cum laude from George Mason School of Law after a career as a Foreign Service Officer. Postings in Budapest, Munich, and Moscow before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall gave her a deep appreciation for the power of free speech. After law school, Catherine clerked on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals before starting work as an associate at Steptoe & Johnson, LLC. After leaving Steptoe, Catherine joined the appellate group at the U.S. Trustees Program at the Department of Justice. Catherine joined FIRE as a Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow; in October 2013, she took over the day-to-day management of what is now FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.
Catherine is an adjunct professor of appellate writing at George Mason School of Law. She lives outside of Washington D.C. with her husband and son; her daughter recently graduated from a green light school. She also raises African Pied Crows and recently received her license to rehabilitate wild songbirds.
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, Nico 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 a second-place finish in FIRE’s 2011 Incentive Program and 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 works out of FIRE’s Washington D.C. office. In his spare time, Nico enjoys playing guitar, studying history, and pretending he is Jimmy Buffett.