Michigan State University: Funding Rejected for Free-Market Scholar’s Speech

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Michigan State University

In September 2012, the Michigan State University (MSU) College Libertarians, a recognized student organization at MSU, applied to the Associated Students of Michigan State University’s (ASMSU’s) Funding Board for $4,450 in funding to host a lecture by bestselling author and historian Tom Woods. The Funding Board denied the application, notifying the group that the student government “cannot fund groups with political agendas” as it would “seem like we [ASMSU] are pushing a particular political agenda.” FIRE wrote to MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon on October 19, explaining that Supreme Court precedent required the school to ensure that funding be made equally available to student organizations on a content- and viewpoint-neutral basis. Shortly after receiving FIRE’s letter, the group’s application for funding was re-reviewed and approved by the Funding Board. The ASMSU also stated that it will review its policies to ensure full compliance with the First Amendment.