Michigan State University Sued After Refusing Space On Campus For Controversial Speaker

download-2Michigan State University is being sued after it refused to rent space on campus for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak later this month. The rental was requested by Georgia State University student Cameron Padgett for an event on-campus at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center.

Michigan officials issued a statement the decision  was “due to significant concerns about public safety” after the “tragic violence” in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I have previously written about how “public safety” is now being use as a catch-all rationalization to bar some speakers (generally conservative speakers) based on the content of their speech.  By citing counterprotesters, universities hope to avoid the appearance of content based discrimination but obviously it is the content that is driving the decision.  A university simply has to cite the anger of others in barring particular speakers;

Once again, this is the triumph of the “heckler’s veto” where people are denied the ability to speak based on how others will react to their views.  In Ohio, a bill will be introduced to bar  university officials from disinviting speakers based on the fear of counterprotesters.  It should not take a law for universities to maintain protections for free speech on our campuses.  We are yielding to the mob in the form of violent groups like Antifa.

 

I do not know anything about Spencer beyond his reputation as a white nationalist.  It does not matter. If Michigan State University is allowing speakers to rent space, it should do so in a content neutral fashion.

What do you think?

194 thoughts on “Michigan State University Sued After Refusing Space On Campus For Controversial Speaker

  1. Diane, you are asking for a reading of your mind and a wide interpretation of what you say along with a recollection of every non-important statement you have made on this blog. That is a dangerous thing on a chat site. However, I am glad to have assisted you sufficiently that you now check your work and that you are so grateful for my attention that you actually made sure I knew it.

  2. If MSU does not want Nazi’s to wave their flags around on MSU property on their rental space so be it. It’s called the free market. Then again, most of the people here on this site would have no where to go. Go stand around some statue of a traitor of this country and scream about your rights with the other losers. America love it or leave it…….as the saying goes.

    • Fish, MSU is a publicly funded TAXPAYER supported institution. It is MY property since I pay taxes. It is not “their” property, it is the TAXPAYERS property.

      • Then go stand on YOUR property and wave your flags and tell them to let hate speech on YOUR property. Is it not TAXPAYER property that traitors have statues? Your tax dollars go to ultra right so called christian schools, see if you can give a speech about how their is no God and see what they tell you. All public institutions should have the right to deny racist hate from the property they have a responsibly to uphold.

        • Then go stand on YOUR property and wave your flags and tell them to let hate speech on YOUR property.

          Sayeth the man who is confident that his ilk will be the ones defining ‘hate speech’.

        • Fish Wings is the only alt left commenter here w/ the stones to admit what frankly/SWM, Natacha, Ken Doll, et. al. believe, that being they do not believe in the US Constitution. They are our new Confederates.

  3. Institutions like Michigan State that cannot manage diversity of speech, even ugly speech, should simply refuse to rent the room to anyone no matter what they intend to speak about. Another alternative is for them to give up federal funding and become a private institution. It seems those on the left only want their own voices heard. That places them in the same place as all the petty dictators in the world.

    • Institutions like Michigan State that cannot manage diversity of speech, even ugly speech, should simply refuse to rent the room to anyone no matter what they intend to speak about. A

      They couldn’t operate without letting their faculty speak. Since some components of the university are patronage programs for political sectaries by design and others have decayed into such, that still would not be content-neutral.

        • Allan. DSS’s point might have been that the content of speech at Universities is already inherently biased toward political patrons. Consequently, they cannot manage diversity of speech in a content-neutral manner. The best that Universities could get would be giving equal time to diverse speakers. But that sort of equal time allotment would have to stem from, and lead to, a content-based quota system of the type fabricated on The Snooze Hour, formerly with Jim Lehrer.

          • No, that was not my point. My point was that members of the public (including internal constitutents like students) be able to rent space at the going rate and invite who they care to invite. It’s a franchise that Natacha et al do not recognize because they allocate to themselves and people like them a franchise to brand political discussion ‘kosher’ or ‘traffe’. And, we know very well that quite ordinary disputes over public policy will be ruled out of bounds by their ilk. (I have, for example, been kicked off a discussion board by an attorney-blogger now running for a judgeship in Los Angeles. His reason was that I suggested that homosexuality was a behavioral disorder. For the sake of the people of Los Angeles, I do hope this cretin never makes it to the bench).

  4. It’s been over 8 hours and none of the alt left have answered the simple yes or no question. Should this man be allowed to speak? So, I’ll put you all down as “NO” and you clearly all do not believe in the 1st Amendment. We know you don’t believe in the 2nd Amendment. You are the new Confederate soldiers. The racist, homophobic Ken Doll can be your General Robert E Lee.

  5. Two flaws in JT’s analysis: “obviously content is driving the decision” and that the white supremacists were “denied the ability to speak”.

    First of all, JT is calling Michigan State officials liars by declaring that their rationale is a ruse: “Michigan officials issued a statement the decision was ‘due to significant concerns about public safety’ after the “tragic violence” in Charlottesville, Virginia.” After Heather Heyer’s death, no one can seriously argue that any college campus wouldn’t have significant concerns about public safety as a result of a hate group coming to speak on campus.

    Secondly, no one is muzzling the white nationalist from speaking: he’s just not being allowed to speak on the Michigan State campus at this time. No one is stopping him from going someplace else. There is no unfettered right to engage in any kind of speech any place and at any time. Those in charge of the venue have the obligation to protect the safety of students and the general public. How much should they have to spend on riot police, security, etc. so that a white supremacist can spew his violence-inciting hate on a state college campus? No matter how much they spend, they can’t stop a speeding car being driven by a maniac. Why does he want to go to Michigan State, and why now? The white supremacists, just like their President, revel in the free publicity they get by pissing people off. No one is stopping him from speaking or attempting to control or ban the content of his speech. Just go someplace else.

    • First of all, JT is calling Michigan State officials liars by declaring that their rationale is a ruse:

      They pull their security team, antifa or local juveniles show up, ergo ‘unsafe’. Yes, this is a ruse.

    • So I guess the right should now show up to all leftist speakers and bring violence to the event. Then you will agree to shut down all leftist speakers due to safety concerns, correct?

      • You keep doing the Chump equivalency thing. No, once and for all, no: Nazis, white supremacists and white nationals are not equal to those who oppose them. The simple reason is that what they stand for is un-American, immoral, and indecent to human sensibilities. They cause trouble because people of good conscience cannot sit idly by and let swastika-wearing and Hitler saluting anus holes march down our streets or stink up our state college campuses. Evil must be addressed. They and their message of hate and white superiority are evil.

        • You keep doing the Chump equivalency thing. No, once and for all, no: Nazis, white supremacists and white nationals are not equal to those who oppose them.

          The positive law is what matters in these cases, and the positive law says every participant in public discussion has an equal right to use public fora.

          The ‘people who oppose them’ are – in the case of the antifa – useless trolls to be tolerated up until the point they throw the first punch, after which they get hauled off for disorderly conduct and common assault as would any drunk collared punching people on the street.

        • They cause trouble because people of good conscience cannot sit idly by and let swastika-wearing and Hitler saluting anus holes march down our streets or stink up our state college campuses. Evil must be addressed.

          Don’t you ever get tired playing a self-important harpy? Richard Spencer has zero cachet, zero influence, and near-zero following. Your ilk aren’t what stands between him and the fall of the Republic. Public indifference is what stands between him and whatever objects he has.

        • Prisons are full of people who engaged in violence because someone pissed them off. A man is not allowed to beat or kill his wife even if she says something racist or equally repugnant. He is required to vote with his feet. Offensive speech is not a legal defense.

          So I disagree that racists cause violence because good people can’t sit idly by. I was not legally permitted, nor did I desire to, punch men who have judged my intelligence or abilities because I am a woman. Someone sincerely told me once that women were so lucky we live in the modern era where they have medications for PMS, because now we could hold important jobs like pilot planes. And he was completely serious. My reaction was to laugh uproariously at him.

          Why do we teach little kids never to hit someone just because they make him mad if it’s now considered fighting the good fight? Shall parenting books now be amended to include that violence over words is sometimes the only thing some people understand?

          Studies show the US is actually one of the least racist nations in the world. Neo Nazis and the KKK are in the Infinititely small minority. Give them no attention and ignore them unless they engage in a crime, just like we have always done.

          I get why the university would have concerns over content. They need to decide if they are either unbiased or content biased. I do not in any way agree with any rationalization of violence because of speech or limiting the First Amendment. I would like to add that these avenging angels are horrid at doing their homework and often sweep up innocent people in their violence.

          • Karen S, I agree with your conclusion in the case of public speakers and other sorts of speech that occur in a public setting. Content-based and view-point-based restrictions on public speech are already precluded from the fighting words doctrine by Supreme Court decisions as instances of prior restraint.

            However, there are exceptions for private speech that occurs in conjunction with menacing behavior. Those exceptions occasionally lead to arrests on simple assault charges before any physical assault is committed. Moreover, some jurisdictions, such as Louisiana, allow provocation by insulting words as mitigating circumstance for defendants in civil suits when the plaintiff seeks compensation for actual, physical assault.

            While Antifa operates in public places, I don’t see why provocation by insulting words could not lead to arrests of Antifa members or their opposing protesters for simple assault before any physical assault occurs; provided that there is menacing behavior as well as insulting words and no prior restraint of the opposing protesters or speakers at issue.

        • “You keep doing the Chump equivalency thing.”

          Not sure what the Chump equivalency thing is or how I keep doing it since it was my first reply. But you are right that the thugs that shut down people from speaking are not equal to those speakers. I would suggest that they are worse since they are the ones forcing their views on others with violence (something that you claim the speakers groups do). The fact that you do not see that shows your hypocrisy.

        • “are not equal to those who oppose them”

          “All animals are created equal. Some animals are created more equal than others”

          Natacha, I guess you didn’t read Animal Farm by George Orwell. You were a deprived child and that deprivation has hurt you considerably.

          Don’t go into a store to buy something trivial while people are starving somewhere around the world because “people of good conscience cannot sit idly by ” while you waste money on trivial things.

  6. I see this as a matter of selective denial of speech based on class. Spencer seems quite odious yet the University has itself invited war criminals to speak at important events or for various other reasons. So why is a war criminal allowed to speak on campus?

    The reason is that war criminals invited to speak are nearly universally admired by left and right neocons/liberals. Clearly actions taken by the speakers and their horrific world views are class dependent. Wealthy and prestigious war criminals are fine. People like Spencer who appeal to the lower orders, no, they may not speak.

    Annihilation of entire nations is fine as long as it is proposed by the powerful, connected and wealthy. It’s not even speech based discrimination so much as class based. The same ideas are acceptable to universities if the “right” sort of people espouse them. There is no mistake about that.

    • Spencer is a very well to do Dallas prep school boy. He went o Duke, UVA and University of Chicago .He considers himself to be a high class intellectual neo nazo who is quite proud of his beliefs.

    • The reason is that war criminals invited to speak are nearly universally admired by left and right neocons/liberals.

      No, the reason they’re invited is that they’re accomplished or knowledgeable about something. They’re called ‘war criminals’ by vicious and mendacious sectaries.

  7. Orwell has pimp slapped Nostradamus as a predictor of the future. The frankly/SWM alt left truly do epitomize the classic Orwell line, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Animal Farm was on my junior year summer reading list. You see, the Good Sisters of St. Joseph and Jesuits made us read 10 books every summer and they taught us HOW to think, not what to think. And they really loved Orwell. 1984 was on my senior year summer reading list.

    • Just curious. Would they have allowed you to think your own way without protest if a group pf students wanted to discuss and advance atheism or the dark side of Catholicism or clergy abuse or anti-Semitism in the Catholic Church or the legalization of drugs or abortion rights or “artificial” birth control? Would they have allowed a speaker to support the idea of sex before marriage? Would they not teach you WHAT to think when it came to those subjects? Were no books frowned upon of the 10 books you had to read over the summer? Or was all summer reading assigned? Did they allow books they might have seen as actually “subversive”? Would they have allowed the reading and discussion of books supporting what has become to be known as the alt-left view or did they only allow books that supported their own narrow views? Did they offer no control at all about what you were reading and discussing? If not, they were a very unusual Catholic school indeed. I suspect you never saw the clever manipulation of thought they engaged in. They apparently convinced you that you were free to think absolutely on your own with no pressure whatsoever to think in certain ways. You must have been a model student.

      • Louise doesn’t understand the distinction between a state university and private institutions with architectonic reasons. Two explanations:

        1. Louise is dumb as dirt; or

        2. Louise fancies public institutions are the private property of her ilk.

        Neither is attractive.

        • Desperate, Notice the alt left Louise, or no one that I’ve seen answered my simple yes or no question. But, the dull/normal Louise did have a LOOONG list of questions for me. LOL! and I think Louise is almost totally just dumber as dirt, w/ just a bit of your second explanation.

          • Nick, there are members of The Society of Jesus whose views on social redemption in the here and now of this world by way of the so-called Liberation Theology might be construed as compatible with the left end of the political spectrum. I have no idea whether Louise would find fault with those Jesuits. But The Benedictines and The Dominicans are on record in opposition to those particular Jesuits. And then there’s the case of Malachi Thompson . . . O bother. I’m going to have to check that one first. Allan is on the prowl.

            • Diane – the Jesuits, including the current Pope, are liberal theologians. The Benedictines are liturgists. In general, they are not concerned about theology.

              • Yes, Paul, but there used to be Jesuits who were conservative theologians.

                Meanwhile, Malachi Thompson was an avant-garde jazz trumpeter. Malachi Martin was a former Jesuit priest who stirred up a ruckus over exorcism and satanic rites at The Vatican. And there’s still no proven connection between avant-garde jazz trumpeting and the exorcism of the demonically possessed–nor vice-versa. Apparently that’s just a myth created devotees of J. S. Bach.

                • Diane – when I was at Creighton University, my theology professor and personal confessor, started my first class by telling us that he did not believe in the concept of Hell. Kinda took all the fun out of all that Catholic guilt. 😉

                  • I think I read you, Paul. Guilt is the savoir faire of sin. But then I still prefer venal sins over mortal ones. Confession followed by absolution. It’s better that way. Correct me if I’m wrong.

                    • Diane – you really haven’t lived life to the full if you haven’t committed at least two mortal sins in the same week. 🙂

                    • It’s kind of late in the game to advise me of that, Paul. But I’ll take it under advisement, anyway. Think, think, think . . . what’s a good pair of mortal sins with which to top things off?

                    • Diane – well, I am agnostic and have given up all vices. I no longer suffer from Catholic guilt. 😉 However, I am in no position to advise you because I don’t know you well enough to corrupt you. 🙂

                    • Diane – the 2 important things are that you are a practicing Catholic and you believe they are mortal sins. 🙂 A year of Jesuit theology taught me that. Enjoy!!!!

                    • Paul, my deceased husband and I were excommunicated in 1958. If I read you right, that means either I’m off God’s hook or I’m already too far gone for the other thing.

                    • Diane – if you are excommunicated, then you are not a practicing Catholic and are therefore incapable of committing mortal sins. Be as hedonistic as you want. 🙂

                    • Thanks Paul. Yippy kayo kayay.

                      P. S. Technically it was my husband who was automatically excommunicated. I think I might have become apostate when I married him shortly thereafter.

                    • Diane – just because you marry an ex-communicant, that does not make you one. Did he get a letter from the parish or diocese saying he was ex-communicated? Sometimes we things when they really aren’t. My mother’s theology ended at the 8th grade. Mine ended in college. Our views on Catholic theology were wildly different. There were things that she thought were sins, that I thought were no big deal. Her world was very black and white, mine a light shade of grey.

                      d

                    • Paul, I have no idea about any letters received. I know only that the priest told my husband that he had to repent and that my husband told the priest that he refused to do so. After that the priest said that my husband was automatically excommunicated and could not receive any sacraments until he repented.

                      In any case, we both became atheists soon enough; and I’m pretty sure The Church frowns on atheists who used to be Catholic.

                      P. S. My daughter is very upset that I’m discussing this issue. I don’t know how she found out. She always knew what she was getting for Christmas before she unwrapped it–the little sneak. Her father was actually proud to have been excommunicated. She should respect that.

                    • Paul, face-to-face does not work. I’m literally decrepit. My occasional mental defects are genuine neuropathy. Besides, my daughter thinks you’re fishing for information about me. I’m facing a gag order from that one.

                    • Diane – it is against the Civility Code to ‘fish’ for information on people. Your daughter needs to get a life. If I was fishing, I would ask directly. By face-to-face I meant the priest talking to your husband. I have no interest in what he did to get ex-communicated. Nor do I care that you and he were atheists, which you volunteered. I don’t find you interesting enough to doxx.

                    • Diane – if you are excommunicated, then you are not a practicing Catholic and are therefore incapable of committing mortal sins. Be as hedonistic as you want.

                      I can see your Jesuit instructors left something to be desired.

                    • DSS – would you like to correct my theology? I think it is sound. She is an atheist, what sin can she commit?

                    • Any and all of them. Baptism washes away mortal sins. You can only be baptised once. From that time forward, you require confession and absolution absent an act of perfect contrition.

            • “I’m going to have to check that one first. Allan is on the prowl.”

              Diane, That is a good idea and will help prevent you from digging a deeper hole with a teaspoon. By now you should be running out of teaspoons. Stop digging and try a ladder.

              • Allan, are you now attempting to advance the discourse exclusively by means of pesky pestering?

                What does digging a hole with a teaspoon have to do with Jesuits teaching Mr. Spinelli how to think rather than what to think? Why not engage with the issue, instead, Allan?

                At least Paul was very nearly on point when he drew a distinction between theology [sort of like how to think] versus liturgy [kind of like what to think].

                • “Allan, are you now attempting to advance the discourse exclusively by means of pesky pestering?”

                  You brought my name into a conversation I was not involved with. I think the bloody Mary’s talked about earlier have gone to your head. It appears you are a pickled pesty pesterer.

                  • Can you type pickled pesky pesterer three times fast without getting knuckle-tied?

                    P. S. I’m a lifelong teetotaler. Never had a drop.

                    • ” I’m a lifelong teetotaler. Never had a drop.”

                      Well, then maybe you ought to start now.

                      I cannot type that well drunk or sober. If I need something long typed up someone generally does that for me.

  8. We have frankly down as a weasely, alt left “no.” She doesn’t have the guts to say it but based on her 10:51a comment she believes this is about “wants” or FEEEELINGS, the Holy Grail of female alt leftists. She doesn’t believe it’s about the 1st Amendment and RIGHTS. Still waiting for the other alt left.

    • Colleges and universities would be wise to stop inviting anyone to speak on university grounds. Any group that wants to invite a speaker can rent a venue off campus. If the university itself wishes to invite a speaker, it can also use facilities off campus. It’s unfortinate that students will lose the opportunity to hear well kmown people speak at their schools, but the protests have gotten out of hand. Students can get good educations without university-sponsored speakers. Let the students arrange their own speakers and arrange the security required without university involvement, liability or damage caused by protests.

      The student grouos thst have invited controversial figures to speak and the protesters that arise have brought this on themselves. Universities must protect the safety of students and their own integrity. They shouldn’t involve themselves in protests and the havoc they create. I’m not suggesting that colleges and universities be legally banned from inviting speakers. Each school must decide for itself if they want to allow campus disruptions resulting from having speakers appear or in cancelling certain speakers, but my advice would be to end the practice of inviting speakers to campuses altogether.

      • Your idea, if adopted, would lead to unused space on campus, and there’s no guarantee that outside venues would become available should student groups find any to rent. Why should student groups be denied use of the school facilities, which are maintained using student fees? Not inviting outside speakers means an even narrower bandwidth of information and ideology; orthodoxy is toxic.

      • Surely you jest! Your suggestions are at direct odds with your basic contempt for neoliberal subversive institutions. Wow, who would have thought you were a closet Prussian?

        Protests have gotten out of hand because the institutions have let them get out of hand. Once again, good proposal on your part. Maintain control.

        If bread and circuses were not so easily attainable, alot of this mumbojumbo would not have the legs behind it to continue–as people would be more concerned about an education that provides a skill that contributes to their well-being, not some piece of paper that entitles you to a limited number of positions that occur as the result of bizarre social constructs and too much money in college administration.

      • Colleges and universities would be wise to stop inviting anyone to speak on university grounds.

        Why? It’s public property. Where better to have a public forum.

        • Desperate, Note the alt left response when people they don’t like are invited and then informed about the 1st Amendment. They go to the ol’ “treat everyone the same” insanity and want to suspend the Constitution. “NO SPEAKERS” These are the folks who also came up w/ that wonderful “zero tolerance” remedy.

      • Louise says, “my advice would be to end the practice of inviting speakers to campuses altogether.”

        Louise, had your current advice been taken during The Vietnam War, the student-led protests against that war would have had to have rented off-campus facilities for the purpose of burning draft cards (or later braziers, for that matter). Local fire marshalls might then have been empowered to shut down a substantial portion of both the anti-war movement and the feminist movement on the grounds of public safety.

        Perhaps those same fire marshalls might have followed suit with the torch-bearers of The Ku Klux Klan. Or not.

        • Oops. That last argument is a fallacious instance of a straw-man reductio ad absurdum appealing to an extreme by way of hypothetical anachronism, to boot. I apologize for that Louise.

          Are you paying attention yet, Allan?

          • Absolutely Diane. You seem to be enamored with logical fallacies. Perhaps that is because you commit so many. Get rid of your teaspoon and try a tablespoon. It will be three times as fast.

            • Allan, don’t mistake speed for efficiency. Safety and quality still have to be factored into the finished goods and services.

              P. S. Did you already know who Malachi Thompson and Malachi Martin were? If not, then my hesitation was wasted on you.

              • Diane, since I am a very careful guy I’m not sure what you are trying to express. I don’t even understand what you mean by your “hesitation was wasted on you”. This is a chat list so it becomes more difficult to read one’s mind while subtleties often go unnoticed.

                • Allan, If you’ll recall, I mentioned your name in a conversation in which you were not involved, because I had to fact-check the name Malachi Thompson before posting anything further on that topic for fear that Allan would be on the prowl soon enough. Don’t you remember that, Allan?

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