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high school essay contest: Freedom in Academia

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  • crwropps@aol.com
    FIRE’s “Freedom in Academia” Essay Contest  http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/9253.html  The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2008
      FIRE’s “Freedom in Academia” Essay Contest 


      The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is pleased to announce its first annual “Freedom in 

      Academia” essay contest. High school students from across the U.S. are invited to write an in-depth essay 

      explaining why free speech and First Amendment rights are crucial to higher education and how abuses of 

      these rights harm education.   


      One first place winner will be awarded a college scholarship of $5,000. 

      The second place winner will receive a $2,500 college scholarship. 

      Deadline: November 20, 2008 

      Winners Announced: December 19, 2008 

      FIRE’s Mission 


      FIRE’s mission is to defend and sustain 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. FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected and to 

      educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our 

      campuses and about the means to preserve them. 




      1. Go to FIRE’s website at www.thefire.org and familiarize yourself with FIRE and FIRE’s issues.  


      2. Click on FIRE’s multimedia button. Watch two short videos about real students who were censored 

      and punished for speech that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.  


      Video #1: FIRE on Campus: An Introduction to the Foundation for Individual Rights in 


      This video serves as an introduction to FIRE, its principles and issues, and its commitment to liberty 

      on campus. It then turns to FIRE’s case at San Francisco State University, where students endured 

      a months-long investigation for stomping on Hamas and Hezbollah flags during an anti-terrorism 

      protest. It also discusses campus speech codes. 


      Video #2: FIRE in Action: Valdosta State University 

      This short film highlights FIRE’s fight against Valdosta State University’s (VSU’s) unconstitutional 

      free speech zone policy and chronicles FIRE’s victory on behalf of VSU student T. Hayden Barnes, 

      who was expelled for engaging in a peaceful protest.  


      3. Answer the Essay Question: In 700 – 1200 words, please discuss the videos you have seen and 

      explain how these universities betrayed the purpose of a university and violated the constitutional 

      guarantees of free expression. Focus on why such codes and practices are incompatible with higher 

      education and why free speech is important in our nation’s colleges and universities.  


      4. Submit your essays to scholarships(at)thefire.org (replace (at) with @). All essays should be submitted to FIRE by 

      November 20, 2008. Include your name, contact information, school, and school address on the top, 

      right hand corner of your essay. You may also mail your essay to:  


      Attn: Essay Scholarship Contest 

      601 Walnut Street, Suite 510 

      Philadelphia, PA 19106 


      FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, 

      journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual 

      rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation’s 

      colleges and universities.  

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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