Students' Online Rights in Jeopardy at Michigan State University After Punishment of Student Government Leader

Michigan State University (MSU) joined FIRE's Red Alert list after finding student government leader Kara Spencer guilty of "spamming" and misuse of university resources for criticizing the administration's plan to change the school calendar. Spencer had carefully selected and emailed 391 faculty members to encourage them to express their views on the proposed changes. Despite the fact that Spencer merely wished to alert a small percentage of the campus community—roughly 8 percent of MSU's faculty—to an important administrative decision, MSU found her to be in violation of the university's Network Acceptable Use Policy and guilty of engaging in an "unauthorized" use of the MSU network. MSU dropped charges against Spencer after FIRE intervened, but then made its email use policies even more restrictive, limiting all unsolicited emails to a maximum of 10 recipients, and stating that the university’s email system was “not intended as a forum for the expression of personal opinions.”

Read more about Michigan State University's violations of free speech here>>

To get itself off of FIRE’s Red Alert List, Michigan State University must reform its email policy to protect the expression of personal opinions by banning only substantially disruptive misuse of email. Write to MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon today!

President Lou Anna K. Simon

Michigan State University
Office of the President
450 Administration Building
East Lansing, MI 48824