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Thursday, June 15, 2017

FIRE Seeks Sponsors for Its Student Interns

The following message came the other day from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Please help if you can.


Niklas Vakil
Good morning,
I’m excited to introduce you to Niklas Vakil. Nik joined
the FIRE team this week as part of our annual Internship
Program. Along with eight other undergraduate students
and three law school students, Nik will spend his summer
learning about free speech, due process, religious liberty,
free thought, and legal equality from FIRE staff and other
First Amendment experts and free speech advocates.
Back on campus, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Nik is the solicitor General for the Associated Students of
Madison. In this role, Nik has represented fellow students
in numerous cases in front of the Student Judiciary,
including the defense of two student council members who,
after voicing criticism of affirmative action policies and
university sponsored “safe spaces,” were charged with
malfeasance in office and subject to removal from their
positions. In both of these cases, Nik won unanimous
Nik also serves on the Student Misconduct Panel on
campus. Participating in misconduct cases, Nik has
gotten a close-up look into the troubling lack of pro-
cedural protections for accused students. For example,
at UW-Madison — and most other institutions of higher
education nationwide — students’ cases are decided
using the low “preponderance of the evidence” standard.
(An unlawful mandate by the Department of Education
that nearly all colleges and universities use this standard
in adjudicating sexual misconduct cases is currently
being challenged in court through a lawsuit sponsored
by FIRE.)
These experiences have ignited Nik’s passion for civil
liberties and brought him to intern at FIRE. By completing
an internship at FIRE, Nik will get the hands-on training
he needs to better address free speech and due process
concerns on his campus. In total, it will cost $5,120 to
host Nik all summer. This cost completely covers his
stipend, books, materials, fees to attend our activism-
focused summer conference, and more, like a tour of the
National Constitution Center.
Would you consider sponsoring Nik?
You can sponsor Nik by making a donation to FIRE’s
Internship Program today. Our Internship Program lies
at the heart of our efforts to empower student activists.
It is one of our longest-standing and most successful
programs, and in a time when so many of today’s college
students are demanding “protective” speech codes, “safe
spaces,” and trigger warnings, it is also one of our most
important. Now more than ever, we need to make sure
that students who care about free speech and due process
rights are given the opportunity to gain the knowledge and
tools needed to fight for them on campus. This summer,
FIRE has 12 brilliant and dedicated students who want
that opportunity. Our interns are committed to the free and
robust exchange of ideas and have each chosen to spend
the summer learning strategies to change the culture on
Given your help, Nik and his fellow interns can become
effective advocates for liberty back on campus. Your
donation affords them the unique opportunity to gain the
experience they need to translate their passion into action.
It will also give them a lifelong appreciation for the First
Amendment, which they will carry into careers in law, public
policy, service, and education!
I hope you will think about this request and consider saying
yes! Thank you in advance for supporting this important
FIRE’s 2017 intern class
Kendall Burchard, University of Virginia
School of Law
Sam Foer, University of Rhode Island
Michael Frazier, University of Kentucky
Ethan Greist, Johns Hopkins University
Jacob Hill, The College of William &
Katherine Hung, Harvard College
Veronica Joyce, Pennsylvania State
Julia Kothmann, University of Virginia
Isaac Smith, University of Cincinnati College
of Law
Niklas Vakil, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Qi Xu, Swarthmore College
Lyndsey Wajert, Boston University School
of Law
FIRE Summer 2017 Interns
Molly Nocheck
Director of Campus Outreach, Internship Coordinator
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
510 Walnut Street | Suite 1250 | Philadelphia, PA 19106

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