EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University denied a request to speak on campus from the National Policy Institute, a group led by white supremacist Richard Spencer.
"After consultation with law enforcement officials, Michigan State University has decided to deny the National Policy Institute's request to rent space on campus to accommodate a speaker. This decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville last weekend. While we remain firm in our commitment to freedom of expression, our first obligation is to the safety and security of our students and our community."
Michigan State reviewed request Wednesday
In a statement released Wednesday by University President Lou Anna K. Simon, Michigan State said no decision on the request had been made.
"We are reviewing the request closely in light of the deplorable violence in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend," the statement said.
Simon said the school was not aware of any connection to an MSU-related group or individual.
You can read Wednesday's full statement below.
"Michigan State University has been contacted by the National Policy Institute seeking to rent space to accommodate a speaker on campus. The NPI describes itself as “dedicated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent.”
"We are aware of no connection with any MSU-related group or individual, but such is not required to seek publicly available space.
"No decision has yet been made. We are reviewing the request closely in light of the deplorable violence in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.
"Michigan State takes seriously its obligations to accommodate a broad range of speech. As our record shows, this university does not determine who can access public spaces based on what they think or say.
"Allowing access to public spaces would in no way constitute endorsement of messages that might be delivered there. NPI and similar groups’ events staged at American campuses are intended to provoke reaction that might seem to justify organizers’ racist and divisive messages, which we categorically reject.
"The diversity they shun is a source of our strength, like America itself, and every day some 65,000 students, faculty and MSU staff—and half a million alumni—are the living proof. So we will not be intimidated, nor stoop to reciprocate hate.
"As America’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU from the start was dedicated to opening broad access to cutting-edge knowledge. We are proud of MSU’s long engagement in civil and human rights. And we will continue to welcome and nurture the diverse, engaged citizen-scholars that this world needs—today more than ever.
"We stand with our colleagues across the country for the best of humanity, and our resolve is implacable. Spartans Will."