In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Nico Perrino, VP of Communications with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), to discuss the state of free speech on college and university campuses. We consider challenges to free speech, such as cancel-culture and social media wars. Additionally we discuss essential practices of free speech, such as debate and discussion, listening, and creating opportunities for consensus building and change.

Nico Perrino is Vice President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)’s Communications department, including FIRE’s award-winning Newsdesk. He is also the creator and host of FIRE’s So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast. Nico began defending civil liberties on campus with FIRE in 2010 as a summer intern. He joined FIRE full time in 2012 as a Program Associate and Assistant to the President, later serving as a Communications Coordinator. His writing has been featured in USA Today, Politico, and The Guardian, and he regularly travels the country to speak about student and faculty rights on campus.

As a documentarian, Nico was Co-Director and Senior Producer of “Mighty Ira: A Civil Liberties Story” , a feature-length film about the life and career of former ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. Previously, Nico served as Creative Consultant on “Can We Take a Joke?” , a film about censorship in stand up comedy. Nico graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington (IU) with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and history. While at IU, he was a member of the track & field team and served as editor-in-chief for the Indiana Standard and as a reporter and columnist for the Indiana Daily Student. Nico was inducted into FIRE’s Prometheus Society for his on-campus activism in defense of student and faculty rights. He was also a winner of the 2011 “Free to Tweet” contest sponsored by 1 for All and the Knight Foundation.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West.