Links for the Weekend: A Flood of Bad Press for Michigan State

December 13, 2008

There’s just something so right about so much negative publicity slamming Michigan State University in the wake of its outrageous prosecution of student government leader Kara Spencer over charges of "spamming," which has put Michigan State on FIRE’s Red Alert List.

Some of the coverage Torch readers will have already seen. For instance, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff highlighted the case in a column on The Huffington Post, graduate admissions guru Adam Markus questioned MSU’s fitness for preparing future leaders in his blog, and Slashdot’s pointer to a recent Fox News story on FIRE’s efforts at MSU generated more than 500 comments.

Others pitched in as well. Word of Spencer’s official warning for being found in violation of MSU’s policies was carried in the Chronicle of Higher Education, while the Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal helped give Spencer’s hearing and punishment wide regional and national exposure. Reason and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression helped spread the news as well, and Spero News was just one of many to carry our press releases on the case. We’ve also seen coverage from a host of other blogs, including Roger Matus’ Death by Email. FIRE even got some international assistance, in Canada and places as far-flung as Italyand Japan. A frivolous charge of "spamming" sure gets people running to their computers!

On Friday, we carried word of the announcement of FIRE Co-founder Harvey Silverglate’s campaign for election to Harvard University’s Board of Overseers. (Be sure not to miss Harvey’s Minding the Campus article from this week to get a taste of his concerns about the modern campus.) Two other longtime FIRE friends have also offered their congratulations. Todd Zywicki at The Volokh Conspiracy calls him "a truly principled civil libertarian and a sage and courageous observer of higher education in America," and former FIRE president David French’s endorsement at Phi Beta Cons is both cheeky and genuinely warm-a testament to the many brought together by FIRE’s mission.