We Are Spartans


MSU President explains decision to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 15:48:36-05

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon released the following statement to FOX 47 regarding the settlement that will allow Richard Spencer to speak on campus:

“Last fall, a white nationalist group sought to hold an event at MSU shortly after tragic violence at a rally in Charlottesville, Va. We declined to allow the event at that time, not because of their hateful views, but because public safety is our first obligation.

Michigan State is wholly dedicated to freedom of speech, not just as a public institution, but as an institution of higher education. Here, ideas—not people—are meant to clash and to be evaluated based on their merits. As I noted in a long-standing statement on freedom of speech, “Without this freedom, effective sifting and testing of ideas cease, and research, teaching, and learning are stifled.”

So this week, MSU agreed to allow the group to hold an event, during spring break, at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education on March 5, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. This agreement was based on the university’s requirement that the event occur on a date and at a venue that minimizes the risk of violence or disruption to campus. The security of our campus community remains our top priority and all appropriate security measures will be taken in connection with the event.

Michigan State rejects this group’s divisive and racist messages and remains committed to maintaining a diverse campus and supporting an inclusive, just and democratic society.”

Spencer's lawyer, Kyle Bristow, released the following quotes to FOX 47:

“This is a resounding First Amendment victory for the Alt-Right. Left-wing censorship of right-wing ideas in academia is unacceptable.”

“Richard Spencer gets to speak and MSU gets to pay.”

“The fundamental right of Americans to think and speak freely is nonnegotiable.”