FIRE’s Summer Internship Program a Success
August 10, 2009
by Luke Sheahan
Friday was the last day of FIRE's 2009 summer internship. For the last ten weeks, Jesse, Tim, Noah, John, Maureen, and Daniel joined the fight for liberty on campus in the Philadelphia FIRE office, and Alexandra, FIRE's Legal Intern, worked from our New York office.
The undergraduate interns spent the summer helping FIRE staff prepare for the 10th Anniversary Celebration in October (buy your tickets today!), updating old FIRE databases and creating new ones, preparing internal reports on trends in public opinion on the First Amendment, debating the finer points of campus liberty with FIRE staff and one another, and blogging about various FIRE issues. Noah and Tim weighed in on the Torch regarding their findings on high school students' opinions on the First Amendment. Noah also penned an insightful post for the Columbia Spectator's Commentariat blog on Columbia's speech codes. John wrote a scathing rebuke of Cornell University for its student-led censorship and Daniel recounted the myriad problems plaguing his beloved Brandeis University.
All in all, not bad.
But it wasn't all work. The undergrads had the opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual CFN Summer Conference where they heard from FIRE Co-founder Harvey Silverglate, author and professor KC Johnson, and lawyer and author Wendy Kaminer, among other free speech luminaries. Additionally, the interns were treated to private seminars with such academic stalwarts as FIRE Co-founder Alan Charles Kors, University of Wisconsin professor Don Downs, George Mason Law School professor and Volokh Conspiracy contributor Todd Zywicki, University of Massachusetts professor and FIRE Board member Daphne Patai, and New York Civil Rights Coalition founder and executive director Michael Meyers. Each session was an enlightening experience. Our undergraduate interns will arrive on their campuses this fall erudite, thoughtful, and educated about their rights; would-be collegiate censors should be very, very afraid.
Meanwhile in New York, Alexandra—who will enter her second year at Columbia University School of Law this fall—spent her summer working closely with Will and Greg on a wide variety of legal research and writing. Specifically, Alex researched variances in public forum analysis in federal circuit caselaw concerning "non-community" speakers on campus, prepared a memo on the constitutionality of Michigan State University's new spam policy, researched the impact of contract disclaimer clauses on university handbooks in state and federal jurisprudence, assisted in the composition of responses to universities, and provided excellent spot research as needed to all FIRE lawyers throughout the summer.
We thank all the interns for their great work this summer and we wish them the best as they return to their respective universities in the fall.