Michigan State University student Kara Spencer sent out an email to 391 MSU faculty stating her concerns about plans to shorten the change the fall 2009 academic calendar and schedule. Her email called for a review of the decision.
One recipient of the email – a plant biology professor – complained to university administrators, who called in Spencer for a meeting. MSU does have an email policy that sets a limit to email recipients at 20-30 without prior review.
However, since MSU is a public school, it is charged with upholding the free speech rights of its students. FIRE has been working with school administration to reassert Spencer’s free expression rights. Unsurprisingly, they opposes this decision.
MSU’s decision defies the First Amendment, fairness, and common sense,” Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, said. “MSU is effectively preventing the campus community from sending e-mails criticizing the administration to more than an extremely small fraction of the MSU community. The university should be ashamed, and the president should immediately overturn this illiberal finding.
Update: Coverage at MSU’s student paper.