The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has fought for the rights of students on college campuses for decades, but despite a strong track record of success my sense is that the organization is little known outside of academia or free speech circles.
Academia’s dysfunctions are now culture-wide, however. And that might explain FIRE’s announcement:
Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education becomes the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.
America’s leading defender of free speech, due process, and academic freedom in higher education is expanding its free speech mission beyond campus. The $75 million expansion initiative will focus on three main areas of programming: litigation, public education, and research.
“America needs a new nonpartisan defender of free speech that will advocate unapologetically for this fundamental human right in both the court of law and the court of public opinion,” said FIRE President & CEO Greg Lukianoff. “FIRE has a proven track record of defeating censorship on campus. We are excited to now bring that same tireless advocacy to fighting censorship off campus.”
As part of its expansion initiative, FIRE is also launching a $10 million nationwide advertising campaign to promote a culture of free expression. The campaign, Faces of Free Speech, launches today and will last throughout the remainder of 2022. The campaign will initially reach Americans through robust national cable television, digital, and billboard advertising.
Time to set new brushfires of freedom. As FIRE expands its mission and its focus, I hope it can be what the ACLU once was for free speech.