Photos from my exciting weekend in New Orleans are up. Click the button below. Quite a great conference where I met so many wonderful people...and New Orleans is such a neat city. Check out the other blog posts to read about some of the stuff from the conference.
Day two of the FIRE Leaders in Student Rights Conference has come to a close. Today was quite a jam packed day filled with presentations from senior FIRE staff including Greg Lukianoff (President), Will Creeley (Director of Legal and Public Advocacy), Robert Shibley (Senior Vice President), Catherine Sevcenko (Litigation Coordinator), Bob Corn-Revere (partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP), and Hayden Barnes & Robert Van Tuinen (two students from recent high profile free speech cases).
These speakers discussed the landscape of higher education today, and how truly frightening this are. For those that have read my past blog posts you've probably heard about some work my group and I have been doing at Cal Poly. Cal Poly doesn't have the greatest policies when it comes to free speech, but some of its policies aren't nearly as bad as those at other schools.
Some pointers I pulled out of my notes:
Good points to think about, especially if you reading this are a student or work at a university. It is critical that students know their rights and are willing to defend them. One of the funny things, if you think about it, with FIRE is they are working toward the day when they will be able to put themselves out of business. They fight against censorship and policies that restrict speech, and should they be able to get policies at all universities across the United States back on track and where they should be, then they will have no reason to exist anymore. FIRE just celebrated their 15th Anniversary. They thought they would be able to accomplish their mission in ten years, but as evident it is taking a little longer than they expected. If students, faculty, and administrators wake up, we may be able to accomplish this mission soon, but FIRE can't do it alone.
Friday, March 21, 2014,
After a full day of traveling, day one of the FIRE Leaders in Student Rights Conference is complete. Convening down here in New Orleans, Louisiana is probably one of the most friendly and intelligent, yet rambunctious and rabble-rousing groups of college students around. These are the people who are willing to get their hands dirty as they fight the good fight for students rights on issues of free speech, association, due process, and much more on university campuses across the Unite States.
It has been amazing to hear some of the stories and about some of the work other have been doing on their campuses, and to finally be able to meet face-to-face some of the students I have read about.
I have only spent a few hours with this group, but I am already quite energized (not that I wasn't before, but even more now) for the cause on my campus, and and am overflowing with new ideas.
Tomorrow we will be hearing from FIRE staff and digging in on the key issues at hand and how we can continue to contribute to this battle.
A great quote from our packet to close on:
“The essentially of freedom in the community of American universities is almost self-evident... To impose any straight jacket upon the intellectual leaders in our colleges and universities would imperil the future of our Nation."
--Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 250 (1957)
Now, I must admit that I don't know much about Marin Luther King Jr. except the major stuff that everyone has heard about in school at some point or another, and with papers, projects, and studying for finals I don't have time at the moment to read up about him, but I felt inclined still to post this.
Today as a closing thought for my International Political Economy course my professor played an excerpt from Dr. King's "Drum Major Instinct" speech. It was quite moving, and quite inspiring.
The focus of Dr. King's speech was on service, and the legacy we leave behind after we die. It is not a light subject--not a "morbid" subject either--but something that is enlightening to reflect on.
Take a chance to listen or read the text if you have a moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_keJ6I4QoC4
Text from the excerpt follows:
Faith - Family - Friends - Psychology - Politics