Richard Spencer's Group Sues Michigan State U

Richard Spencer who leads a movement that mixes racism white nationalism and populism speaks at the Texas A&M University campus Tuesday Dec. 6 2016 in College Station Texas

Several other universities have also recently declined to provide Spencer space to speak on campus, including Pennsylvania State University, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Florida.

According to the complaint, Padgett does not consider himself a part of the "alt-right" - a white nationalist movement - but he is a supporter of Spencer and is the organizer of Spencer's collegiate speaking tour.

An out-of-state college student is suing Michigan State University in federal court over the denial of a speaking request for prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer. "They are pursuing their courses of action for transparently ideological reasons, even though they seek to excuse themselves through a pretend public-safety logic that amounts to a heckler's veto". He is described in the suit as supporting "Identitarian philosophy ... a Eurocentric political ideology which advocates the preservation of national identity and a return to traditional Western values".

The lawsuit was filed by attorney Kyle Bristow Sunday night on behalf of Georgia State University student Cameron Padgett, who has been organizing Richard Spencer's speaking tour.

The East Lansing school has said a decision to deny a request for space was made out of "significant concerns about public safety". "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".

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Padgett filed a similar challenge after Auburn University tried to ban Spencer's appearance there in April.

Fuchs had cited security concerns in rejecting the initial request for Spencer to speak on campus.

"This was about our right to free speech", Padgett said before Spencer took the stage at Auburn University on August 18. Spencer will now have to apply to appear on campus on another date.

A spokeswoman for the University of Florida, Janine Sikes, said Tuesday that she had no update. The lawsuit comes at a time when some experts have said that, because of events last month in Charlottesville, Va., public universities might have legitimate legal grounds to deny Spencer and his group, the National Policy Institute, space on campus.


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