ASMSU paid thousands of dollars to sponsor a visit from The New York Times best-seller list author Tom Woods on Tuesday night, just a few months after the MSU College Libertarians were delayed rights to funding from the university.
ASMSU is MSU’s undergraduate student government.
Woods was brought to speak to students by the MSU College Libertarians, which received $4,450 in donations from ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, to fund the event at the Business College Complex.
Originally, Woods was slated to speak in early November, but in September, the College Libertarians submitted a request for funds to sponsor the event to the ASMSU Funding Board and did not receive approval, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, a nonprofit organization to assist civil liberties at universities.
College Libertarians President Bobby Fox was told ASMSU could not fund groups with “political agendas,” The State News previously reported.
After being assisted by FIRE, ASMSU eventually approved funding on Oct. 23, stating the event would not be a direct political endorsement.
Although there was a slight hiccup at first, Fox said ASMSU was very cooperative in making this event happen and providing the funding for Woods to share his “interesting view on the economy.”
“(This event) was what (ASMSU) perceived to be a political event, and they had a policy against that,” Fox said. “What I’m hoping students and (the) audience gets (out of the event) is an understanding of why the crisis happened and maybe how to predict these crises.”
Nearly a month after the event was first scheduled, Woods spoke to a crowd of about 100 people, focusing on his book “Meltdown,” published in 2009. The book, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for 10 weeks, is about the possible causes of the financial crisis, and it encourages people to consider different ways to improve the economy.
“What I’m encouraging people to do (at these lectures) is be open to alternative ways of thinking,” Woods said. “We’re in a pretty bad economic shape, and that comes from the same kind of conventional advice that’s been given (in the past).”
ASMSU’s Funding Board provides funding to various Registered Student Organizations to bring in speakers and provide educational programming events that are free and open to the public, ASMSU Director of Public Relations Haley Dunnigan said in an email.
“We are very pleased to provide funding to any organization that brings educational opportunities to students,” Dunnigan said.