In a recent letter to the editor, Wayne Lela mischaracterized FIRE’s work by saying FIRE “defends conservative teachers and students who have been discriminated against by liberal bigots on various college campuses.” FIRE defends constitutionally-protected speech (at public campuses) and speech protected by institutional promises (at private campuses) regardless of political ideology. That means sometimes we defend conservatives, sometimes we defend liberals, and sometimes we defend students whose speech isn’t political at all. This year alone, we defended a professor in California who tweeted how happy she was that First Lady Barbara Bush passed away and also celebrated a victory for a lawsuit from a student right here in Illinois who was detained and interrogated for passing out flyers critical of capitalism.
It’s important that Lela’s mischaracterization of FIRE is corrected as we are very proud of our non-partisan work to defend the rights of students and faculty members regardless of their political ideologies. More of our work can be found at https://www.thefire.org/category/cases/.
Communications Manager at FIRE