High school juniors and seniors: Your holiday plans are surely filling up, but there is still time to write an essay on the importance of free speech in higher education and submit it to FIRE’s Free Speech Essay Contest. With just three weeks left to enter (the contest ends at midnight on December 31, 2017), it’s time to finally check this important task off your end-of-year to-do list.
You can find examples of past contest-winning essays here. This year’s winners will be announced by January 31, 2018. We will be awarding $20,000 in scholarship prizes, with $10,000 going to the top essay writer.
This year’s contest asks you to familiarize yourself with FIRE’s work defending and sustaining individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. (In addition to defending the rights of students and faculty, FIRE works to educate students and the general public on the necessity of free speech and its importance to a thriving democratic society).
To get yourself in the proper writing mood and mode, be sure to take a look at these two videos about real students who faced censorship and punishment for exercising their right to free speech.
Then, do your best to tackle this writing prompt in 800-1000 words: “Drawing on the above videos and any other resources available on FIRE’s website, explain in 800-1000 words why free speech is so important to higher education, and why censorship undermines the ideals of liberal education and a free society.”
FIRE’s Free Speech Essay Contest is open to juniors and seniors in U.S. high schools, including home-schooled students and U.S. citizens attending schools overseas.
Don’t delay; enter today. We look forward to reading your submission!