Two Attorney Positions Open at FIRE

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FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a most worthy organization, is seeking a legal defense fund director and a legal defense fund fellow.

FIRE has employees from across the political spectrum who share its commitment to defending freedom of speech and due process on university campuses.

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  1. Here’s your chance, Rev. Since your bugaboo is colleges, maybe you should see first hand how full of holes your narrative is by actually getting involved with real cases.

    1. Yeah, Artie doesn’t have a single, honorable bone in his entire body. Working, learning, understanding, self-reflection… all things that Artie is incapable of.

  2. Lots of conservative Christian universities missing from the rankings on FIRE.

    1. They get around that with the argument that as long as you’re honest and explicit about hating free speech then everything’s cool. It’s only if you say you value it and then don’t or have to value it and then don’t. It’s a bit silly philosophically (after all, hypocrisy is at least the homage vice pays virtue) but legally sound.

      1. If you think “free speech” must be a universal hallmark of any institution that calls itself “higher education” then I think this argument is correct. The problem is that I’ve heard almost no one criticize this position take that stance. And, if that is your position it is going to hard to reconcile that with the state of most of higher education, in practice, not recognizing any type of free speech. But that is the only “hole” I see in their position.

        1. Lukianoff of FIRE has an entire book where he argues that the problem with universities that censor things to ‘protect’ their students from viewpoints leads to people deficient in things like citizenship skills in a diverse world. And yet FIRE says ‘hey, if you are open about how much you hate free speech at your institution you’re all good!’

          There are some public schools and private schools that make (often vague) promises about free speech who sometimes (rarely actually) stumble and don’t live up to it. Then there are many conservative religious schools that *systemically* violate free speech, in other words it’s the usual rule that you can’t espouse certain things. If you value free speech as a good thing you’re certainly getting less of it in the latter (though you may be getting less ‘honesty’ about free speech in the former).

          1. If you think schools that supposedly embrace free speech rarely fail to live up to that commitment I think you are wearing rose colored glasses.

            Again, I don’t think that the argument that in order for an institution to qualify as “higher education” it must endorse some concept of free speech is invalid. Just no one usually makes that argument when it comes to religious schools. And if you did make that argument it would need to be applied equally to other institutions of higher education which actively do not provide any semblance of free speech. Hence why I don’t think it is made.

            Most of the whole argument “religious schools don’t provide free speech” argument is just shadow boxing.

            1. “If you think schools that supposedly embrace free speech rarely fail to live up to that commitment I think you are wearing rose colored glasses.”

              There are thousands of schools that operate nearly all year and day long, and yet when FIRE did a survey of offenses it measured in the …hundreds. That’s rare.

              “Again, I don’t think that the argument that in order for an institution to qualify as “higher education” it must endorse some concept of free speech ”

              Literally Lukianoff argues that an institution that censors is failing society and its educational mission. Like FIRE in general he just ignores the implications of that position re religious schools.

              I mean, if you decry ‘coddling’ what do you call religious schools who *as a matter of general policy* refuse to hire, will reprimand/fire, students and teachers who state opinions contrary to the ‘faith statements’ they make everyone sign? Is this not ‘coddling’ or ‘providing a safe space’?

              1. If hundreds are making into the public limelight you know that there are thousands if not tens of thousands happening every year across this nation. General higher education is no champion of free speech and you can’t even pretend that is true.

                Again, if your argument is that it must be a universal hallmark of higher education then that is one thing. But, unless that is what you are trying to argue I don’t see any problem with institutions expressing their value statements as long as they are consistently enforced. Whether or not that makes a well rounded student and eventual graduate, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to the market to decide. And with that I would just note that probably the vast majority of students who graduate from these institutions go into religious based work anyhow, not the general marketplace.

                1. “Whether or not that makes a well rounded student and eventual graduate, I don’t know.”

                  Again, this is Lukianoff’s argument, that censoring thwarts this. There’s the hole.

                  1. There is a big difference in arguing some form of education is ideal, then requiring it be qualify as a form of education. I would tend to agree with you that I think an institution that fosters freedom of speech, diversity of viewpoints, and hosts a robust marketplace of ideas most likely producing superior graduates. But I don’t think it is a “requirement” that every educational institution hold these values. And, I would also point out that in practice very few institutional actually uphold these values at least in the US even those who promise them.

      2. “They get around that with the argument that as long as you’re honest and explicit about hating free speech then everything’s cool.”

        Bullshit. If you’re honest and explicit about hating free speech, they give you a rating of “Warning – Does Not Promise Free Speech”. They say that “FIRE believes that free speech is not only a moral imperative, but also an essential element of a college education.”

        But you’re probably one of those guys that thinks that facts are racist.

      3. Religious schools should be allowed to restrict speech. They just should not receive government privileges, subsidies. nor exemptions. Others that fail to adopt the Chicago Principles should lose them. They are for education not for indoctrination. Education requires presenting all aspects of a subject. That would include the atheist viewpoint in a course on religion, and the Ptolemais view of planetary orbits in astronomy. Doing that would make the courses better.

    2. “Lots of conservative Christian universities missing from the rankings on FIRE.”

      Evidence? I see Baylor University and Brigham Young University, among others. They don’t rate everybody. Do you have any evidence that conservative Christian universities are rated less frequently than others?

  3. F.I.R.E is a lot bigger than it was back in the day, much bigger. Used to occasionally go to programs where Harvey and Alan would speak when “speech codes” were a newer invention of the Left. Most people that worked there were from Ivy league schools which I was told at the time was intentional to give it legitimacy.

    Although I still follow their work casually, it seems to me that they have largely failed at their mission. Unless literally putting out small fires is now their mission as their website is just full of stories of these little victories ignoring the fact that until the culture changes for each one of these there are probably 100 more stories of similar victims.

    But a glimpse at their most recent 990 suggests there is still a lot of money in this fight and their execs are well compensated for continuing to battle those little fires.

  4. “defending freedom of speech and due process on university campuses”

    certain campuses, filtered in a manner that flatters right-wing donors

    1. “certain campuses, filtered in a manner that flatters right-wing donors”

      Which campuses are those, Arthur? They are awfully critical of places like Baylor, Brigham Young, and Liberty. Maybe those are left-wing?

      1. I have listed the FIRE-coddled institutions, by the dozens and repeatedly, for clingers unable or unwilling to conduct research.

  5. I would like to speak to the people who set legal policy at FIRE about several subjects.

    1. Drop ’em an email. Back in the day they would respond to most outside inquiries that were sincere. Probably still true today.

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