The spring issue of our newsletter, The FIRE Quarterly, is now available here. This edition focuses on highlighting FIRE’s recent cases at Michigan State University, Pomona College, Virginia Tech, the University of North Carolina, and Wright State University. We also provide you with an explanation of FIRE’s new planned giving program and how you can leave a lasting legacy of liberty in your will.
FIRE’s co-founder and chairman Harvey Silverglate provided this issue’s “From the Board of Directors” article and discussed his campaign for a position on Harvard University’s Board of Overseers. On the reasons why he is running, Harvey writes:
While FIRE’s hallmark has from its inception been to stick to its principles regardless of whose ox is gored, its strategies and tactics have evolved. Thus, as FIRE nears its tenth anniversary, one can list the various approaches it has developed to support procedural fairness, academic freedom, and related values in higher education: the Torch blog that regularly updates readers (providing sunlight, that most effective disinfectant); the burgeoning Campus Freedom Network (CFN), which guides students and faculty in campus activism to change illiberal policies; and the Robert H. Jackson fellowships, which grant recent law school graduates an opportunity to explore higher education law and First Amendment jurisprudence. And the list goes on.
Another strategy is now in the early stages of formulation: The exercise of alumni power in gaining seats on university governing boards and injecting real-life experience into the often isolated world of the university. As of publication, I’m in the midst of a real- life test run. I have been campaigning, as an alumni petition candidate, for a seat on Harvard’s Board of Overseers, the university’s second most powerful (and oldest) governing body. Traditionally, the mainstream Harvard Alumni Association selects eight candidates each year to run for five open seats on the thirty-member Board. The victors are always assumed to oversee without upsetting the apple cart too much. The apple cart, of course, is a university run primarily by administrators (a burgeoning class of increasingly insulated bureaucrats) and by the most politically ambitious elements of the faculty. FIRE knows the tools by which these persons govern the lives of students and teachers—speech codes, kangaroo courts, and other such ideologically-driven tyrannies.
FIRE’s achievements provide us with more opportunities to defend and educate about individual rights on college campuses. For more on the continued successes and campaigns of FIRE, be sure to check out The FIRE Quarterly.