Education

Michigan State University Sued Over Preventing Richard Spencer From Speaking

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Kerry Picket Political Reporter

A lawsuit filed late Sunday night against Michigan State University claimed the school rejected First Amendment rights of white nationalist Richard Spencer when officials prevented him from speaking on campus, The Detroit Free Press reports.

“After consultation with law enforcement officials, Michigan State University has decided to deny the National Policy Institute’s request to rent space on campus to accommodate a speaker,” the university had said in a statement. “This decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville last weekend.”

Attorney Kyle Bristow, an alum of MSU, filed the lawsuit on behalf of of Georgia State University student Cameron Padgett, who attempted to book a conference room at the on-campus Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center but was rejected.

However, other universities have not been successful at keeping Spencer off their school grounds despite efforts to do so.

Prior the violent protests that took place in Charlottesville last month, a federal judge kept Auburn University from canceling an on-campus speech by Spencer.

The University of Florida rejected Spencer from speaking on campus on September 12, citing the issue of public safety and referencing the events that arose in Charlottesville, but the school eventually backed down and agreed to reschedule the alt-right figure.

However, Texas A&M is not backing down from its prohibition of Spencer.

Texas A&M now prohibits external campus speakers from reserving a space without the support of a student group, Inside Higher Ed notes, a change from when Spencer spoke on that campus last December.

In the lawsuit against MSU, Bristow states that Padgett believes in “identitarian philosophy,” which he claims is “Eurocentric political ideology which advocates the preservation of national identity and a return to traditional Western values.”

“Although Plaintiff does not consider himself Alt-Right, Plaintiff is a supporter of Spencer and Plaintiff is the organizer of Spencer’s collegiate speaking tour,” Bristow wrote of Padgett.

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