Weekly Media Round-Up: FIRE’s Pressure on Michigan State Over ‘Spamming’ Case Heating Up

By on December 5, 2008

While FIRE awaits the results of this week’s disciplinary hearing of Michigan State University (MSU) undergraduate Kara Spencerwho faces possible suspension for sending "spam" e-mails to 391 MSU professorsword of the case and FIRE’s involvement has quickly spread throughout the East Lansing, Michigan, campus and beyond. Shortly following the sending of FIRE’s letter to MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, an article in MSU’s paper, The State News, alerted the campus community to the university’s outrageous overreaction to Spencer’s e-mails, which conveyed relevant information about impending changes to the school’s academic calendar.

Word of MSU’s threats against Spencer has also made it over to Minding the Campus, where John Leo has appropriately blurbed it under the heading "Campus Madness." The case was also the subject of an article on CNET, as you know by now from Adam’s concurrent entry.

Earlier this week, Ray Nothstine of the Acton Institute noted FIRE’s extensive efforts exposing the hundreds of unconstitutional speech codes in effect at America’s colleges and universities. Nothstine revisited his earlier work in a later blog entry, where he notes once again the influence of Alan Charles Kors and Harvey Silverglate’s book The Shadow University on his work fighting speech codes. Of The Shadow Universitycelebrating its tenth year since its publicationNothstine says that it is "[a]n important reference, and recommended reading for anybody interested in this topic." He also takes a moment to praise FIRE’s work combating speech codes nationwide, an effort he calls "nothing short of remarkable."

While we were recovering from last week’s Thanksgiving festivities, Robert’s earlier Torch entry on the banning of JuicyCampus.com from Tennessee State University’s network prompted a pair of articles to pick up on the controversy. A prominent feature on Black College Wire notes FIRE’s concerns over the constitutional aspects of TSU’s decision, as does an article in the Huntington News, which quotes extensively from Robert’s article.

As we mentioned yesterday, The Daily Targum at Rutgers University has put the Rutgers community on alert with its article on the letter from the Student Press Law Center, FIRE, and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists to New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram expressing our concerns over proposed "cyber-bullying" speech codes. And at Phi Beta Cons, former FIRE President David French chimes in on Samantha’s article on Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, which rather than taking steps to comply with the recent ruling in the case of DeJohn v. Temple University seems merely to have hidden the more unpalatable elements of its speech code by blocking them from public view. To David, this is par for the course in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. This says quite a lot, given his characterization of one of Temple University’s more outrageous defenses in the DeJohn case as akin to "a cop frisking a suspect, finding weed and a bong in his pocket, and then hearing, ‘What? How’d that get there? That ain’t mine!’"

Schools: Tennessee State University Temple University Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Michigan State University