Report: White supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on MSU's campus
Update 3:59 p.m.
Padgett's attorney, Kyle Bristow, responded to request for comment. He said he believes Spencer speaking during spring break will not be an issue.
"I don't think it will have an impact whatsoever, in fact we had even been targeting spring break at other universities," Bristow said. "We figure that if people want to come to the event, they can find a way to make it happen. Whether class is in session or not isn't really too important."
Coming to an agreement with a trial removes any uncertainty about what is happening, which is good for everybody, Bristow said.
People who are very liberal tend to cause issues when Spencer speaks, but as long as police maintain order, there should not be any problems, Bristow said.
"Ultimately what the goal is, is for Cameron Padgett and his invited guests to be able to meaningfully share their ideas with anybody who is interested in them, and for people who participate to be able to thereafter respectfully challenge them," Bristow said.
Update: 3:22 p.m.
In response to the news white supremacist Richard Spencer is coming to MSU, President Lou Anna K. Simon released a statement regarding the matter.
The full statement can be read below:
"Last August, a white nationalist group sought to rent space to hold an event on the Michigan State University campus in the wake of a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va. We declined, not because of their repellent, racist views, but because, after consultation with law enforcement officials, we had significant concerns about public safety, which is our first obligation.
They sued us and, in mediation, we have settled the lawsuit and agreed to host an event at The Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education on Monday, March 5. MSU has entered into this agreement to ensure that the event occurs on a date and at a venue that minimizes the risk of violence and disruption on campus.
Michigan State has a long record of supporting freedom of speech. As a public institution, it is for us both a legal and constitutional obligation, but because academic freedom is so closely connected, it also is an institutional commitment. Here, ideas—instead of people—are meant to clash.
Words can wound, however, and we hope that Spartans not only treat others with respect, but support one another when any of us is disparaged based upon who we are. Our diversity makes us better, and Michigan State’s core values of quality, inclusiveness and connectivity are strengthened by their linkage.
None of that means we need to give this group the attention they seek. They’re not coming here to win converts but to provoke outrage to support their phony narrative of victimization. Discrimination against people is wrong, but ideas can and should be judged on the values they promote. This group’s notions about racial identity earned discredit long ago.
My predecessor John Hannah, who chaired the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in the 1960s, argued that the development of citizen-scholars is the greatest calling of an American university. That might be even more true today, as those who want to pull us apart are encouraged by disparaging rhetoric used by leaders and groups in national conversations.
But here, we must tap into our will to be different and to make a difference. Every day, a diverse, global family of more than 500,000 Spartans discovers vital knowledge, creates beauty, promotes prosperity, affirms humanity, and commits to being better tomorrow than we are today. That’s the identity I’m most proud of."
White supremacist Richard Spencer is coming to MSU's campus, despite the university initially denying the request.
MSU lawyers agreed to allow Spencer to visit campus on March 5, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The agreement came after Cameron Padgett's attorney, Kyle Bristow, filed a lawsuit against MSU in August 2017 when the university denied Spencer a space to speak on campus Aug. 17, 2017. Padgett attempted to book the room for Spencer originally.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the terms of the agreement state:
- Spencer will speak from 4:30-6:30 p.m. March 5 in the auditorium in the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education.
- Spencer will pay the university $1,650 for the rental.
- MSU will provide police and security for the event. Spencer's group won't pay anything towards it.
- MSU will set up a ticketing process for the event and control entry to the event.
- Spencer's group will provide insurance for the event.
- Spencer's group will not hold any other gathering or event at MSU.
MSU spokesperson Jason Cody could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
Earlier this year, Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, President Lorenzo Santavicca commented on the possibility of Spencer visiting campus. At the time, he said it was a matter of "when" Spencer was going to visit campus, not if.
Editor's note: This story will be updated throughout the day. This article was updated to fix a factual error. Bristow represents Padgett, not Spencer.