EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University is being sued after the school rejected a request to rent a space on its East Lansing campus for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak.
Georgia State University student Cameron Padgett, who tried to rent the room, filed the lawsuit Sunday alleging the university is violating Spencer's free speech. In the lawsuit, Padgett describes himself as a person who "subscribes to identitarian philosophy." He also describes Spencer as the "foremost advocate for Alt-Right philosophy in the world and is rapidly becoming a major figure in contemporary American politics."
In August, Michigan State University denied the request from Spencer's group, National Policy Institute (NPI), for Spencer to speak at the campus.
Here is the statement from the university:
"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."
In an earlier statement, university President Lou Ann K. Simon said "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."
Padgett claims this is in direct violation of the group's constitutional right to free speech. He filed a similar lawsuit against Auburn University. He is demanding a jury trial.
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