Michigan State University

Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

Michigan State University has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more

This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech.
  • Residence Education and Housing Services: Reporting Bias

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: July 30, 2018

    A bias incident is an incident of verbal or non-verbal conduct that is threatening, harassing, intimidating, discriminatory or hostile and is based on a category protected under the MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy(“ADP”). Please also see the MSU Anti-Harrassment Statement for more information. Read More
  • Spartan Life Student Handbook: Guidelines Regarding Bulk Email by Internal Users on MSUnet

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 21, 2019

    “Bulk email” in this context means the transmission of an email message within a short time frame to more than a small set of recipients who may not have elected voluntarily to receive the email. … Prohibited uses. Bulk emailing may not be used for personal purposes, advertising or solicitations, or political... Read More
  • MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 21, 2019

    [T]he University community holds itself to certain standards of conduct more stringent than those mandated by law. Thus, even if not illegal, acts are prohibited under this policy if they: … Harass any University community member(s) on the basis of age, color, gender, gender identity, disability status, height... Read More
  • Spartan Life Student Handbook: General Student Regulations

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 21, 2019

    Physical security and an environment free of harassment are necessary for individuals if they are to successfully pursue their educational endeavors and fulfill responsibilities; therefore, no student shall: 2.01 cause or threaten physical harm to another or endanger the physical safety of another. … 2.04 cont... Read More
  • President’s Statement on Free Speech Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: August 21, 2019

    Lawful and peaceable public demonstrations are permitted by the University and are protected by the law, without regard to the point of view being expressed. Members of the University’s community of scholars are free to organize, debate, pass resolutions, distribute leaflets, circulate petitions, picket, and otherwi... Read More
  • Spartan Life Student Handbook: General Student Regulations

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: August 21, 2019

    Bullying:  An intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act, or a series of acts, directed at another person that is severe, persistent, or pervasive and has the effect of doing any of the following: Substantially interfering with a student’s education; Creating a threatening environment; or Substantiall... Read More
  • University Policy on Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 21, 2019

    “Sexual harassment” is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment violates University policy when: … Such behavior is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that a reasonable person would find that it: a... Read More
  • Michigan State, winner of “Golden Padlock” award, won’t say what words it blocks on Facebook, citing public safety and terrorism

    June 24, 2019

    After a series of courts held that public entities may violate the First Amendment when they restrict content or access to their social media accounts — and after a lawsuit by PETA and the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed that Texas A&M had blocked criticism by animal rights activists — we here at FIRE got curious…. Read more

  • New York Times highlights due process lawsuit alleging all-too-common problems

    June 6, 2018

    Former Michigan State University student and professional football player Keith Mumphery filed a lawsuit against the university last month, arguing it violated his due process rights, Title IX, and state law when it expelled him for alleged acts of sexual misconduct. In an article published in The New York Times last week, Michael Powell puts… Read more

  • More Campuses Using Special Victims Units to Investigate Sexual Assaults

    September 23, 2015

    Working to address concerns about both sexual assault and due process on campus, more colleges and universities are asking specially trained police units to investigate sexual assault allegations. Earlier this month, The Arizona Republic reported that Arizona State University (ASU) police formed a special victims unit (SVU) to handle sexual assault allegations at ASU. “The… Read more

  • FIRE at Michigan State University

    September 21, 2015

    On September 17—Constitution Day—I joined FIRE’s Joe Cohn and Tyler Coward to speak to students and faculty of James Madison College at Michigan State University (MSU) about campus speech codes and what students can do to reform them. Today, The State News, MSU’s campus newspaper, covered the event, relaying a key practical argument in favor… Read more

  • Michigan State Settlement Shows OCR’s Continuing Confusion about Due Process

    September 9, 2015

    Last week, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a resolution agreement with Michigan State University following two student complaints that OCR had been investigating, the first one of which dated from 2011. Unfortunately, despite weighing in at a hefty 42 pages, this latest finding from OCR is surprisingly light on remedies… Read more

  • Protest Dos and Don’ts, Brought to You By Michigan State and UC Berkeley

    December 15, 2014

    This past weekend, columnist George Will spoke at Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) December commencement ceremony, after university officials rebuffed students’ demands that he be disinvited. Will’s speech was not free from protesters, but thankfully it was free from disruption. The strategy employed by those objecting to Will’s presence stands in stark contrast to that of… Read more

  • Michigan State President Denies Disinvitation Attempt Against George Will

    December 11, 2014

    George Will, like too many other speakers, is no stranger to requests that he be disinvited from college campuses. In October, students at Scripps College in California successfully petitioned the college to rescind Will’s speaking invitation. Later that month, students and faculty at Miami University of Ohio attempted—and failed—to have Will disinvited from a campus… Read more

  • Michigan Senate Subcommittee Proposes Penalty for Speech About Labor Unions

    April 1, 2014

    In response to Michigan State University’s plans to adopt programs from the National Labor College, the Michigan Senate’s Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee has authored a budget provision that would fine public universities within the state $500,000 for “each occurrence” of “any instructional activity that encourages or discourages union organizing of employees.”

  • Michigan State AAUP Chapter Criticizes Lack of Due Process for Suspended Professor

    September 12, 2013

    Last week, FIRE noted the case of Michigan State University creative writing professor William Penn, who was suspended from teaching after a controversial video was posted on YouTube that was recorded during one of his lectures. FIRE was among those concerned that Penn had not been given a hearing before being removed from teaching—a severe… Read more

  • Michigan State Suspends Prof Without Hearing for In-Class Political Remarks

    September 6, 2013

    A video uploaded to Campus Reform’s YouTube account Tuesday shows a segment of Michigan State University Professor William Penn’s “Literatures, Cultures, Identities” course that has resulted in his suspension from teaching. The video, recorded August 29, includes political commentary critical of Republicans and runs for nearly 10 minutes. Inside Higher Ed reports that “Penn remains… Read more

  • Michigan State College Libertarians Host Author Tom Woods

    December 6, 2012

    FIRE is happy to report that the Michigan State University (MSU) College Libertarians were finally able to host author Tom Woods for an on-campus presentation on the economy this week. The speech was delayed over a month after the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) rejected the College Libertarians’ request for funding, claiming that… Read more

  • Michigan State Reverses Decision Rejecting Free-Market Scholar’s Speech

    November 16, 2012

    Here’s today’s press release EAST LANSING, Mich., November 16, 2012—Michigan State University (MSU) has reaffirmed the First Amendment rights of student organizations this week after it wrongly denied funding to a student group. When the MSU College Libertarians were denied funding to bring bestselling author Tom Woods to speak on campus on the faulty basis… Read more

  • Michigan State Reverses Decision Rejecting Free-Market Scholar’s Speech

    November 16, 2012

    EAST LANSING, Mich., November 16, 2012—Michigan State University (MSU) has reaffirmed the First Amendment rights of student organizations this week after it wrongly denied funding to a student group. When the MSU College Libertarians were denied funding to bring bestselling author Tom Woods to speak on campus on the faulty basis that groups with “political… Read more

  • Attention, Spartans! FIRE’s Peter Bonilla at Michigan State University Tomorrow

    October 5, 2012

    You would think that if any place in America was safe for students to debate political topics, it would be the college campus. However, this is not quite the case these days. Just take for instance a recent incident at Auburn University where a student was forced to remove a Ron Paul campaign sign from… Read more

  • A Victory for Campus Speech in Michigan

    July 30, 2012

    Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court handed down its ruling in People v. Rapp (PDF) and delivered a win for student rights on campus. The court overturned the conviction of Jared Rapp, a former Michigan State University (MSU) law student prosecuted under an ordinance that prohibited a large swath of protected speech on MSU’s campus…. Read more

  • ‘12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ List in the News

    March 30, 2012

    Tuesday, The Huffington Post released FIRE’s list of the 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012. In addition to the social media storm the story generated, the list caught the attention of a number of media outlets:  University of Cincinnati’s appearance at the top of the list garnered the attention of Cincinnati City Beat…. Read more

  • The top 12 worst colleges for free speech

    March 28, 2012

    Who doesn’t love a good awards show? The gowns, the acceptance speeches, the brutal infringements of civil liberties … the excitement just never ends. Once again, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work), has sorted through the hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation that severely restrict the First Amendment rights of… Read more

  • FIRE’s 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012

    March 27, 2012

    Here’s today’s press release:  PHILADELPHIA, March 27, 2012—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its 2012 list of the 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in The Huffington Post today. Harvard is new to the list this year, joining Yale, Syracuse, and the University of Cincinnati at the top of the list. "These colleges and universities… Read more

  • Adam’s Speech Raises Awareness of Red Alert Status at MSU

    February 29, 2012

    As we wrote last week, FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel recently visited Michigan State University (MSU) to address two student audiences. His second talk focused on the school’s Red Alert status and inclusion on FIRE’s 2011 list of the "Worst Colleges for Free Speech."  Free Speech at MSU – FIRE VP Adam Kissel… Read more

  • FIRE VP to Speak at Red Alert School Tomorrow

    February 21, 2012

    This Wednesday, February 22, FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel will address two student audiences at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing. MSU earned its place on FIRE’s Red Alert list in 2008, when a student was found guilty of "spamming" for emailing a select group of professors about proposed changes to the… Read more

  • Michigan State Admin: Stop Reading Your E-mail – It’s Inefficient!

    March 2, 2011

    Chances are that you check your e-mail at least once a day. If you are, though, you are wasting your time, says David Gift, Vice Provost of Libraries, Computing and Technology at Michigan State University. In a recent article (which extensively quotes our own Will Creeley) by student reporter Ian Kullgren in the Michigan State… Read more

  • This Week in the News: Greg’s Dirty Dozen Causes Big Vibrations, and Syracuse Drops Investigation of Alleged Blogger

    February 4, 2011

    This has been quite the week for FIRE. No less than 21 articles mentioned our involvement in defending free speech on campus! Greg’s Huffington Post article, "The 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech," was noted by numerous news sources across the country. Marshall University garnered the most numerous citations by far. Davin White, writing for… Read more

  • FIRE in ‘The Huffington Post’ on America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech

    January 27, 2011

    Today, The Huffington Post published FIRE’s list of America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech. An expansion of FIRE’s Red Alert List of the “worst of the worst” schools for student and faculty rights, this “dirty dozen” slideshow includes the schools that come onto FIRE’s radar screen again and again for their repeated and egregious violations of fundamental rights, as… Read more

  • FIRE’s Free Speech Billboard Ad about Michigan State Rejected

    January 24, 2011

    An advertising company has refused to run a billboard ad from FIRE promoting free speech at Michigan State University (MSU). The ad, which would have appeared very close to MSU’s campus this month, addresses MSU’s draconian e-mail policy. Unlike virtually all colleges and universities, MSU claims in its policy that "The University’s e-mail services are… Read more

  • The ‘Spartan Edge’ on FIRE at Michigan State

    October 7, 2010

    Last Wednesday, FIRE’s Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Azhar Majeed addressed a group of students at Michigan State University (MSU) in a lecture hosted by the campus chapter of the Center for Inquiry. Justin Wan covered the event for the online campus paper Spartan Edge.            Wan first notes FIRE’s recent case at MSU,… Read more

  • FIRE at Michigan State This Wednesday

    September 28, 2010

    This Wednesday, September 29, the Center for Inquiry at Michigan State University (MSU) will host Azhar Majeed, FIRE’s Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, on the second leg of his Midwest speaking tour. His lecture will focus on the dangers of campus censorship, including the recent case of Kara Spencer, who was unjustly sanctioned… Read more

  • FIRE to Student Groups at Michigan State University: Help Fight for First Amendment Rights

    September 24, 2010

    Today, FIRE sent the following e-mail to the leadership of Michigan State University’s student groups, asking for their help in reforming MSU’s unconstitutional e-mail policy. We wrote: To the student leaders of Michigan State University: This year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE; thefire.org) purchased a full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World… Read more

  • Red Alert at Michigan State: Time to Set Things Right

    September 1, 2010

    FIRE’s full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report‘s college rankings issue exposes the colleges and universities that are the "worst of the worst" when it comes to individual rights. At these schools it is downright dangerous for students to express themselves without fear of censorship or punishment. By placing these schools on our Red Alert list,… Read more

  • At Michigan State, Student E-mail in Same Class as Phishers and Scammers

    August 18, 2010

    A brief article in Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) student paper The State News carries some interesting tidbits about MSU’s technology services department, namely its proficiency in keeping "spam" e-mail messages out of MSU’s computer network. The State News writes: Each day, MSU’s Academic Technology Services, or ATS, mail system blocks about 400,000 junk mail –… Read more

  • Michigan State’s Free Speech Problems Not Going Away

    April 1, 2010

    Yesterday, Michigan State University (MSU) student publication The Big Green published an excellent article about MSU’s shameful place on FIRE’s Red Alert list. The six schools on this list have displayed a severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of their students or faculty members and are the "worst of the worst" when it comes to… Read more

  • Michigan State University Demands That Personal Opinions Stay Off Campus E-mail

    January 26, 2010

    After FIRE notified Michigan State University (MSU) President Lou Anna K. Simon that MSU remains on FIRE’s Red Alert list because of its extremely restrictive new “spam” policy, President Simon responded by defending the policy. “The University’s email services are not intended as a public forum for the expression and dissemination of personal opinions,” Simon… Read more

  • Still Looking for a New Year’s Resolution, Red Alert Schools?

    January 14, 2010

    Here’s an easy New Year’s resolution that Brandeis University, Bucknell University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University can make: get off of FIRE’s Red Alert list of America’s worst violators of campus liberty! This week, FIRE sent the presidents of each of the six Red Alert schools a letter reminding… Read more

  • FIRE Requests that Student Body at Michigan State Stand Up for Students’ Rights

    November 10, 2009

    Last year, Michigan State University (MSU) found a student guilty of "spamming" after she e-mailed "too many" professors at once with an urgent message about changes to the school calendar—changes that the university appeared to be pushing through on short notice. After FIRE and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (and about a dozen additional free speech… Read more

  • State Court Strikes Down Michigan State University Ordinance on First Amendment Grounds

    October 9, 2009

    Last week, a Michigan county circuit court struck down a Michigan State University (MSU) ordinance as unconstitutional after determining that the ordinance, which prohibited "disrupt[ing] the normal activity or molest[ing] the property of any person, firm, or agency while that person, firm, or agency is carrying out service, activity or agreement for or with" the university, violated… Read more

  • How Can Michigan State University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

    September 1, 2009

    FIRE’s full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report‘s college rankings issue exposes the colleges and universities that are the "worst of the worst" when it comes to individual rights. These are schools where it is downright dangerous for students to express themselves without fear of censorship or punishment, and FIRE warns prospective students and… Read more

  • ‘U.S. News’ Readers: FIRE’s Red Alert List Exposes the Worst Violators of Campus Rights

    August 25, 2009

    Why does FIRE’s ad in U.S. News & World Report show a book padlocked shut? One of FIRE’s most shocking cases was that of Keith John Sampson, a student-employee at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was found guilty of racial harassment for merely reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting… Read more

  • FIRE’s Biggest Ad Campaign Ever Hits ‘U.S. News’

    August 25, 2009

    For the second year in a row, FIRE has run a full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s America’s Best Colleges issue, released today, highlighting the colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University are listed in the print ad, while Bucknell University,… Read more

  • Rights in the News: FIRE Brings the Heat to Binghamton

    February 21, 2009

    Adam’s speech at Binghamton University (BU) came at a time of high tensions on the public university campus, as the BU social work faculty continues its assault on graduate student Andre Massena. The Binghamton Review (also one of the joint hosts of Adam’s speech) sat down with Adam for an interview on Binghamton’s speech codes… Read more

  • Rights in the News: Recent Victories and Ongoing Speech Code Efforts Continue to Get FIRE’s Message Across

    February 6, 2009

    For yet another week, word of FIRE’s efforts has reverberated throughout the national and online press. As Azhar noted earlier today, Greg’s latest column for The Huffington Post expresses FIRE’s relief at the dropped "spamming" charges against Michigan State University junior Kara Spencer, but also notes our concern that the online policy Spencer was initially… Read more

  • Greg on ‘Huffington Post’: Michigan State Still Has Work to Do

    February 6, 2009

    In his latest column for The Huffington Post, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff celebrates the news that Michigan State University (MSU) recently dropped the absurd "spamming" charges leveled at student government leader Kara Spencer. While this development represents yet another satisfying victory for freedom of speech on a college campus, Greg cautions that the threat of… Read more

  • Michigan State University Drops ‘Spam’ Charges Against Student Critic of Administration

    January 28, 2009

    In a significant victory for freedom of expression on campus, Michigan State University (MSU) has withdrawn "spamming" charges against a student government leader who criticized the MSU administration’s plans in an e-mail to professors. MSU junior Kara Spencer had carefully selected and e-mailed eight percent of MSU’s 5,000 faculty members, encouraging them to express their views about proposed… Read more

  • Michigan State Drops ‘Spamming’ Complaint Against Student Critic of Administration

    January 28, 2009

    EAST LANSING, Mich., January 28, 2009—In a significant victory for freedom of expression on campus, Michigan State University has withdrawn “spamming” charges against a student government leader who criticized administration plans in an e-mail to professors. MSU junior Kara Spencer had carefully selected and e-mailed eight percent of MSU’s 5,000 faculty members, encouraging them to… Read more

  • Obama: Silencers of Dissent Are on the Wrong Side of History

    January 20, 2009

    Today we have asked President Obama to help fight speech codes on college campuses, which not only violate the rights of millions of college students but also teach them that censorship is more efficacious and desirable than tolerance of each person’s views, no matter how profoundly antithetical to one’s own. In this vein, one line… Read more

  • FIRE Pens Open Letter to President Obama

    January 20, 2009

    This Inauguration Day, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has sent President Barack Obama an open letter requesting that, as a scholar of constitutional law and the leader of the nation’s executive branch, he and his administration join the fight against college and university speech codes that are infringing on the rights of millions… Read more

  • Rights in the News: Controversy at Southern Illinois Ignites FIRE’s 2009 Efforts

    January 16, 2009

    Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) Chancellor Samuel Goldman and his administration have been a veritable one-stop shop for newsworthy content lately, as followers of The Torch this week are no doubt aware. In one of three articles penned by Adam Testa for the Southern Illinoisan, Goldman referred to FIRE as "embarrassing" SIUC into defending… Read more

  • MSU Incorrectly Defends Itself in Response to Civil Liberties Coalition in ‘Spam’ Case

    January 8, 2009

    FIRE has received another strange, quite flawed response from Michigan State University in reply to an open letter to MSU’s president signed by thirteen civil liberties organizations. The open letter, written by FIRE in conjunction with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, explained why MSU’s anti-spam policy is unconstitutional and pointed out the wrongful application of the… Read more

  • 2008 Highlights: FIRE Places Full-Page Ad in ‘U.S. News & World Report’ Calling Out ‘Red Alert’ Schools

    December 31, 2008

    While FIRE works on cases from hundreds of schools in a given year, we have a special list for those schools that have shown unique intransigence in the face of criticism from FIRE for abusing student and faculty rights. We call that special list our Red Alert list, and right now five schools have earned… Read more

  • This Month in FIRE History: Michigan State University Engaged in Thought Reform

    December 30, 2008

    December appears to be a tough month for civil liberties at Michigan State. For those who have been following Kara Spencer’s "spam" case at MSU, you may be interested to learn that this is not the first time FIRE has been at odds with the university over the holidays. In December of 2006, FIRE called… Read more

  • College Censorship of Online Speech in 2008

    December 23, 2008

    This year, FIRE has seen a number of colleges take steps to regulate online speech. The Internet makes it easier than ever for people to communicate with one another, and thus presents a whole new world for would-be censors of campus speech. FIRE has kept a close watch on the developing relationship between colleges and… Read more

  • Michigan State Again Misrepresents ‘Spam’ Policy in Response to FIRE

    December 19, 2008

    Michigan State University (MSU) strangely persists in misrepresenting its anti-spam policy, an unconstitutional policy that it has used to punish a student government leader for e-mailing a small percentage of faculty members about significant pending changes to MSU’s academic calendar. MSU declared junior Kara Spencer a spammer for engaging in her rights as a citizen… Read more

  • Greg in ‘The Huffington Post’ on Michigan State

    December 19, 2008

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has posted an article on The Huffington Post about Michigan State’s finding that student Kara Spencer was guilty of sending "spam" when she e-mailed faculty members with her views about a change in the freshman orientation and academic calendars. As Greg says: MSU’s decision is both outrageous and unsettling for many… Read more

  • Thirteen Civil Liberties Organizations Send Open Letter to MSU President about ‘Spammer’ Case

    December 17, 2008

    FIRE, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and eleven other civil liberties organizations have sent an open letter today to Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon in defense of MSU student government leader Kara Spencer. The signing organizations agree that MSU’s anti-spam policy, which was used to punish Spencer for sending e-mails to 391 faculty… Read more

  • MSU Community Responds to ‘Spam’ Case Online

    December 15, 2008

    Following last week’s press release about Michigan State University student Kara Spencer, who was found guilty of "spamming" for criticizing the administration’s plan to change the school calendar, MSU’s student paper, The State News, published an article about the outcome of the case. The article’s comments section attracted attention from several members of the campus… Read more

  • The Skeletons in MSU’s Closet: Thought Reform at Michigan State

    December 12, 2008

    As our readers know, FIRE is utterly outraged about Michigan State University’s decision to find student Kara Spencer guilty for e-mailing numerous professors about the school’s decision to shorten the school year. This decision has earned MSU an express pass to our Red Alert List, and our resources are engaged at full power to overturn this… Read more

  • ‘Graduate Admissions Guru’ Says Stay Away from MSU

    December 11, 2008

    FIRE friend Adam Markus has a great blog entry up about our ongoing case at Michigan State University. Markus’ blog is a hub for all sorts of information about graduate school admissions. After posting our most recent press release about this case, Markus notes that MSU is the home of the Broad School MBA program…. Read more

  • Michigan State University Joins ‘Worst of the Worst’ on FIRE’s Red Alert List

    December 11, 2008

    In the wake of its recent treatment of student government leader Kara Spencer, Michigan State University (MSU) has achieved the unflattering distinction of being named to FIRE’s Red Alert list. MSU yesterday found Spencer guilty of "spamming" and misuse of university resources after she criticized the administration’s plan to change the school calendar. Spencer had… Read more

  • Student Government Leader at Michigan State University Found Guilty of ‘Spamming’ after Criticizing Administrative Decision

    December 10, 2008

    Breaking news: A Michigan State University student government leader has been found guilty of “spamming” and misuse of university resources after she criticized the administration’s plan to change the school calendar. MSU junior Kara Spencer had carefully selected and e-mailed 391 of the school’s faculty members, encouraging them to express their views about the changes…. Read more

  • Student Government Leader at Michigan State University Found Guilty of ‘Spamming’ after Criticizing Administrative Decision

    December 10, 2008

    EAST LANSING, Mich., December 10, 2008—A Michigan State University student government leader has been found guilty of “spamming” and misuse of university resources after she criticized the administration’s plan to change the school calendar. MSU junior Kara Spencer had carefully selected and e-mailed 391 of the school’s faculty members, encouraging them to express their views… Read more

  • MSU ‘Spam’ Case Hits Slashdot

    December 10, 2008

    A recent entry on Slashdot, a widely read blog featuring "news for nerds," directs readers to a FOX News story on FIRE’s case at Michigan State University involving junior Kara Spencer, who was threatened with suspension for "spam." Over 500 comments have been posted in response thus far. Spencer had e-mailed 391 selected members of… Read more

  • ‘Content Neutral’ Does Not Mean ‘Constitutional’ (Except at MSU)

    December 9, 2008

    The worst problem in the Michigan State University "spam" case—where a student government official, Kara Spencer, faces suspension for having e-mailed 391 carefully selected professors about proposed changes to the campus calendar—is not an administrator’s outrageous claim that receiving a single unsolicited e-mail is considered a disruption to whoever receives it. No, the worst problem… Read more

  • Greg Discusses MSU ‘Spam’ Case on ‘Huffington Post’

    December 8, 2008

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff covers Michigan State University student Kara Spencer’s incredible ordeal over at The Huffington Post this evening, detailing precisely what’s wrong with the fact that Spencer faces judicial charges for sending an e-mail about an important university calendar change to about 8% of the school’s faculty. Greg writes: The crowning absurdity here… Read more

  • MSU ‘Spammer’ Interviewed in Today’s Podcast

    December 8, 2008

    In today’s episode of FIREside Chats, Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, is joined by Kara Spencer, the Michigan State University student government leader who faces suspension for e-mailing faculty members with what an administrator has deemed “spam.” Spencer e-mailed about 8 percent of the school’s faculty members encouraging them to express… Read more

  • Episode 135: Michigan State University Student Faces Suspension for ‘Spam’ after E-Mailing Professors

    December 8, 2008

    In today’s episode of FIREside Chats, Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program is joined by Kara Spencer, the MSU student government leader who faces suspension for “spam” after she e-mailed about 8 percent of the school’s faculty members, encouraging them to express their views about changes to the freshman orientation and academic… Read more

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

    December 5, 2008

    While FIRE awaits the results of this week’s disciplinary hearing of Michigan State University (MSU) undergraduate Kara Spencer—who faces possible suspension for sending "spam" e-mails to 391 MSU professors—word 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… Read more

  • CNET Covers MSU ‘Spam’ Case

    December 5, 2008

    Declan McCullagh, CNET News’ chief political correspondent, has just posted an article on FIRE’s active case at Michigan State University (MSU). As we reported yesterday, MSU junior Kara Spencer faces suspension for "spam" because she e-mailed about 8 percent of MSU’s faculty to ask them to lend their voices to campus debate about changes to… Read more

  • Michigan State University Student Faces Suspension for ‘Spam’ after E-Mailing Professors

    December 4, 2008

    A leader of Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) student government faces suspension for "spam" after she carefully selected and e-mailed about 8 percent of the school’s faculty members encouraging them to express their views about changes to the freshman orientation and academic calendars. With the blessing of one of MSU’s formal committees, MSU junior Kara Spencer… Read more

  • Michigan State University Student Faces Suspension for ‘Spam’ after E-Mailing Professors

    December 4, 2008

    EAST LANSING, Mich., December 4, 2008—A leader of Michigan State University’s student government faces suspension for “spam” after she carefully selected and e-mailed about 8 percent of the school’s faculty members encouraging them to express their views about changes to the freshman orientation and academic calendars. Student Kara Spencer, who faced a disciplinary hearing on… Read more

  • Victory at MSU: SAC Program Dismantled

    May 3, 2007

    It’s been a long time coming, but change has finally come for Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program. Yes, after months of pressure from FIRE, MSU has finally seen the error of their ways, announcing in a letter to FIRE last week that the controversial SAC program has been dismantled. In… Read more

  • Cathy Young on SFSU and Censorship Masquerading as ‘Tolerance’

    April 10, 2007

    In Reason Online yesterday, the ever-reasonable Cathy Young discussed a string of FIRE cases involving students punished for expressing hostility toward Islam. Young notes that there is a disturbing trend afoot involving college administrators acting hastily, often with disciplinary action, against students who have been seen as blaspheming Islam. Of course there is the SFSU… Read more

  • MSU Stays Quiet About SAC’s Future

    April 6, 2007

    Lee June, Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) Vice President for Student Affairs and Services, insisted this week that the school’s controversial Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program would return in a modified form, although he refused to detail precisely what aspects of the program would be modified. Responding to FIRE’s March 29 letter requesting more details… Read more

  • FIRE Responds to MSU: SAC Program Reform Insufficient, Inconclusive

    March 30, 2007

    After Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) internal review of the school’s Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program, FIRE remains unconvinced of the program’s constitutionality.   That was the message sent to MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Lee N. June in a letter yesterday from FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. Yesterday’s letter was sent in response to… Read more

  • ‘Obsession’ Screening at Michigan State to Proceed

    March 22, 2007

    When the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter at Michigan State University decided to show the film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” YAF members thought it would be a good idea to have security present during the screening. “Obsession” has been a hotly contested film on many campuses, plus a YAF-cosponsored campus appearance… Read more

  • FIRE to MSU: We’re Waiting…

    March 7, 2007

    On February 22, 2007, FIRE sent a follow-up letter to Michigan State University (MSU) President Lou Anna K. Simon regarding MSU’s Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program. FIRE reiterated the point made to MSU in FIRE’s first letter, that the SAC program is anathema to nearly every tenet of a free society. In an article… Read more

  • FIRE to MSU: Do the Right Thing

    February 23, 2007

    Yesterday, FIRE sent Michigan State University (MSU) President Lou Anna K. Simon a follow-up letter concerning MSU’s blatantly unconstitutional Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program. In the letter, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff implores President Simon to recognize MSU’s obligations under the Constitution as a state actor and dismantle the SAC program, attaching a copy of… Read more

  • Michigan State University Alum Responds to ‘Detroit News’ Article on Thought Reform

    February 20, 2007

    An alumnus of Michigan State University, Stephen Szepietowski, responded today to my column on MSU’s Orwellian thought reform program: I was pretty shocked to see Greg Lukianoff’s commentary (“MSU pursues Orwellian thought reform,” Feb. 7). As a summer 2006 graduate from Michigan State University, I was unaware of such a program, which is scary enough…. Read more

  • Misleading at MSU

    February 14, 2007

    On Monday, the Michigan State University (MSU) student newspaper The State News published an article about the school’s Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program. The article, which details some of FIRE’s concerns about the program’s constitutionality, includes distressing quotes from MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon: “You don’t get into the program because you choose… Read more

  • FIRE Editorial on MSU in ‘The Detroit News’

    February 7, 2007

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff opined on the Orwellian nature of Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) Student Accountability in Community program in The Detroit News today. As FIRE has previously described, the Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program is a disciplinary early intervention seminar that not only punishes students for making practical jokes and rude remarks, but… Read more

  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping… Read more

  • ‘Orwellian dystopia at Michigan State’

    December 19, 2006

    Check out Luke’s article on Family Security Matters, in which he discusses Michigan State University’s truly disturbing Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program. Luke also points out the serious due process and self-incrimination problems presented by such a program: A heavy emphasis is put on refusing to allow the student to “obfuscate” the issue. Obfuscation… Read more

  • Thought Reform and Compelled Speech at Michigan State

    December 14, 2006

    Today, FIRE issued a press release on the simply stunning thought reform program at Michigan State University. The university’s Student Accountability in Community seminar (SAC) forces students whose speech or behavior is deemed unacceptable to undergo ideological reeducation at their own expense. While the “seminar” can be either a “voluntary” or mandatory sanction, according to… Read more

  • Michigan State University Engaged in Thought Reform

    December 14, 2006

    EAST LANSING, Mich., December 14, 2006—It may be almost 2007, but it feels more like “1984” at Michigan State University. The university’s Student Accountability in Community Seminar (SAC) forces students whose speech or behavior is deemed unacceptable to undergo ideological reeducation at their own expense. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is challenging… Read more