NCAC signs letter to MSU President

NCAC and 10 other civil liberties organizations have joined FIRE and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in an open letter to the president of Michigan State University. The letter defends MSU student Kara Spencer who was charged with spamming. Here are excerpts from the letter:

We the undersigned write to express our profound concern about the state of free expression at Michigan State University (MSU) following MSU’s recent ruling against student Kara Spencer.

… MSU’s Student-Faculty Judiciary has found Spencer guilty of violating the university’s Network Acceptable Use Policy and engaging in an “unauthorized” use of the MSU network. MSU has labeled her a “spammer” on the basis of an e-mail she sent to certain members of the faculty addressing and protesting controversial changes to MSU’s Academic Calendar and Fall Welcome schedule. We maintain that it is unacceptable that Spencer has been disciplined, even in the form of a “warning,” for sending a constitutionally protected message to public employees. …

First, MSU’s “anti-spam” policy is constitutionally suspect on its face. It is vague and allows the university unfettered discretion, requiring prior administrative approval before sending e-mails to more than approximately “20 –30” recipients. …  Second, the policy’s application in this instance is egregiously wrongheaded. … This decision violates Spencer’s First Amendment rights, misinforms students about their rights, and chills the speech of any student who wishes to bring an issue of public concern before the MSU community using e-mail as a communications method.

Read the complete letter here.

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