11 Ways to Promote Free Speech on Campus

FIRE works every day to expose campus censors and challenge unjust speech codes. We know first-hand that some of the biggest victories for free speech on campus come from students themselves—students who take action to improve student rights at their schools. This page highlights the many resources FIRE has put together to help students take action:

1. Register for FIRE’s student network

Sign up to receive updates from FIRE about free speech issues at your school and to gain access to exclusive events. Plus, students get a free FIRE t-shirt just for signing up!

2. FIRE’s Student Spotlight

Read our interviews with real students who have successfully promoted free speech on their campuses

3. Know your rights

What are my rights on campus? Knowledge of your First Amendment rights is the first and most essential tool in defending those rights. FIRE provides resources like our Guides to Student Rights on Campus and more to help students and faculty understand their rights.

4. Challenge speech codes on your campus

FIRE’s Spotlight database includes detailed analysis of speech codes at more than 400 top colleges and universities. If your school is not yet in Spotlight, you can request a FIRE review of your school’s policies here.

For more information on speech codes, read FIRE’s advice for Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies and Challenging Your College’s Speech Code.

5. Write an op-ed

Op-eds and letters to the editor published in campus newspapers are effective tools to draw attention to restrictive speech codes on campus. Check out our op-ed writing tips, and feel free to contact FIRE for feedback on your column!

6. Organize a Free Speech Wall demonstration

Free speech wall demonstrations can bring together student groups from across the political spectrum to celebrate open discourse on campus.

7. Host a FIRE Speaker

FIRE speakers travel to dozens of schools each semester to discuss First Amendment issues on campus. To invite a FIRE speaker to your school, visit the FIRE Speakers Bureau page.

8. Attend a FIRE event

9. Intern at FIRE

FIRE interns do substantive work on behalf of rights, liberty, and individual dignity, and they assist FIRE in defending civil liberties on campuses all across the country. FIRE offers paid summer internships for both undergraduates and law students.

10. Celebrate a free student press

Read about the most common threats to free speech that student journalists face, plus resources from FIRE and the Student Press Law Center.

11. Ask for advice

FSN members can contact the FIRE staff for advice about how to plan free speech events or pursue speech code reform on their campuses. Email us anytime at students@thefire.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

~The FIRE Student Network Team