Introducing FIRE Summer Intern Jaclyn Hall
June 12, 2008
by Luke Sheahan
Jaclyn Hall is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies Political Science and Philosophy. She works with Peers Helping Incoming Students, the Underground Shakespeare Company, and the Social Planning and Events Committee for Connaissance. On why she came to FIRE, Jaclyn writes:
When I told my father that my Connaissance group had invited Karl Rove to speak this spring, he laughed and said "Penn? Invite a Republican? No way!" Although he is no Ahmadinejad, the Rove event offered a case study in freedom of speech for the broadly liberal University of Pennsylvania community. I was jeered while handing out fliers, and a handful of students kept asking why I would want to hear from him, their emphasis indicating a clear disdain for the political strategist. Despite the controversy, the students and faculty came through with a sold-out crowd, thoughtful questions, and a minimum of heckling.
The Penn community's commitment to giving students and guests the freedom to express their viewpoints in situations like this event explains why my university has a "green" rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. In a conversation after the Rove speech, a friend and 2007 FIRE intern Aaron Werner pointed me to FIRE's website. As a political science major and con law enthusiast, I was appalled upon reading the many accounts of heinous and often ridiculous abuses of free speech. I decided to apply to FIRE's internship program to help defend these rights for college students across the country.