Michigan State Blocks White Nationalists, Gets Sued

Richard Spencer couldn't get a conference room
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2017 3:22 AM CDT
MSU Sued for Turning Down White Nationalist Group
Cameron Padgett, a 23-year-old senior at Georgia State University, speaks during an interview with the AP.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Michigan State University is being taken to federal court for denying white supremacist Richard Spencer a chance to speak on campus. Attorney Kyle Bristow, former president of the MSU chapter of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom group, accuses the university of violating the First and Fourteenth amendments by refusing to rent a conference room to Spencer so he could speak about his "alt-right" philosophy, the Lansing State Journal reports. The lawsuit says rejecting Spencer, who heads a group called the "National Policy Institute," because the university considers his beliefs objectionable "constitutes unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination."

Cameron Padgett, the Georgia State University student who tried to rent a conference room for Spencer, is seeking a jury trial and damages. the Detroit Free Press reports. After Spencer was denied space last month, MSU said the move was made after consulting with law enforcement officials. "Michigan State University has decided to deny the National Policy Institute’s request to rent space on campus to accommodate a speaker," the university said in a statement. "This decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville." (Texas A&M canceled a "White Lives Matter" event last month.)

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