[October 11, 2020] Freedom is a value. But “freedom” – in its many variations and circumstances – is also a path to human wisdom and excellence in life. It has been far too long since I’ve written on core values and the importance they have in our existence. Today, our subject is the organization known as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. More well-known by its acronym, FIRE.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s mission is to defend and sustain the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities.1 These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience – the essential qualities of liberty.
In 1998, the University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors and Boston lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate co-authored The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses. In response, they received hundreds of pleas for help from victims of illiberal policies and double standards that violated their rights and intruded upon their private consciences. To answer these calls for help and to transform the culture, Alan and Harvey founded FIRE.
“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” – Pope John Paul II
Here are their core values that have made them not just guardians of justice but famous and feared as well:
- Support for the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
- Religious liberty
- Legal Due Process
- Freedom of conscience
Three of FIRE’s primary focuses is opposition to campus speech codes, security fees, and due process. Leaders within FIRE see these as impinging upon the First Amendment and thus unconstitutional. They have a successful track record of getting universities to resend or abolish these restrictive administrative procedures.
FIRE has been praised for its work in protecting the freedom of individual university students, faculty, and administrators. We wish them the best of luck for the future. There are very few organizations that are on the right side of history and freedom for all.
- https://www.thefire.org/about-us/mission/The QVC Difference