National Policy Institute court proceedings begin Friday
A pre-motion conference is scheduled for Friday morning in the lawsuit between MSU and the organizer of Richard Spencer's collegiate speaking tour. The pre-motion conference will take place at 10 a.m. in the Grand Rapids Federal Building.
Cameron Padgett, a 23-year-old senior at Georgia State University, filed a request with MSU to rent a room for Spencer to speak about alt-right philosophy in July. MSU denied that request in August, citing concerns about public safety following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Now, Padgett is suing MSU for denying his request.
According to the plaintiff's pre-motion conference request, Padgett would like the pre-motion conference to lead to a preliminary injunction where MSU is required to allow him to rent a room for Spencer to speak without also requiring him to pay for police protection or provide insurance for the event.
Padgett is also seeking damages in excess of $75,000 according to a press release from Bristow Law, PLLC.
Attorneys from both sides are required to be present at the pre-motion conference.
Padgett's attorney is Kyle Bristow of Bristow Law, PLLC. According to his website, Bristow is an award-winning attorney who primarily practices in criminal and juvenile defense, family law, civil litigation, criminal record expungement and appeals.
An MSU alumnus, Bristow was president of Young Americans for Freedom, or YAF, during his time at MSU. Under Bristow’s leadership, MSU YAF was the first college organization placed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups, according to a State News article from 2007.
MSU's Young Americans for Freedom chapter was not chartered and used the name without authorization, according to national chairman Grant Strobl. The organizations have fundamentally different beliefs, Strobl said in an email.
Bristow — in conjunction with another attorney — also filed a lawsuit on behalf of Padgett in April. The lawsuit, Padgett v. Auburn University, is almost identical to the lawsuit filed against MSU. At the conclusion of that lawsuit, Auburn University did end up hosting Spencer.
MSU's attorney is Bryan R. Walters of Varnum LLP. Walters, also an MSU alumnus, has experience representing clients in manufacturing, health care, professional services, according to the Varnum LLP website.
Walters is experienced in federal court litigation and has represented clients in intellectual property disputes as well.
Stay with The State News for coverage of Friday's pre-motion conference.