Individual rights advocacy group speaks at MSU
Nearly four years after fighting the university to address policy issues that landed her in front of the Student-Faculty Judiciary Board, former ASMSU Association Director Kara Spencer once again discussed MSU policy issues on campus, along with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE.
In front of a group of about 25 MSU community members and concerned Michigan residents, FIRE’s Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel listed Spencer’s difficulties along with numerous other cases at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Wonders Hall.
FIRE, a non-profit and non-partisan group that focuses on freedoms allegedly limited by colleges in the U.S., had Kissel present to the MSU College Republicans and MSU Campus Conservative organizations on campus, who sponsored the event.
FIRE put MSU on “Red Alert” after Spencer was found guilty of breaking university policies in sending an email to hundreds of faculty members concerning a change in the academic schedule in 2008, Kissel said. Charges against Spencer were eventually dropped. A policy change following the ordeal specified that sending more than 10 unsolicited emails in a day qualifies as spam.
Spencer’s situation is an example of what FIRE believes wrong with universities across the country — the alleged use of “protective” policies to reduce student freedoms in favor of the university, Kissel said.
“It’s counter-intuitive but the university needs to create a safe space to have difficult conversation, even for the really (extreme cases),” Kissel said.
“I speak to a wide variety,” Kissel said. He said that his invitation by the two groups was simply a chance to discuss the “Red Alert” MSU has been put on.
According to their website, FIRE currently classifies MSU as a “yellow light” school that has policies that could lead to heavily regulated speech.
“We have an obligation to actively create the society … we want,” Spencer said.