LANSING, MICH. - Michigan State University is being sued by the organizer of white supremacist Richard Spencer's speaking tour. The suit, filed in federal court late Sunday night, alleges MSU violated Spencer's First Amendment rights when it denied him permission to speak on campus.
Attorney Kyle Bristow, who attended Michigan State University and was president of the MSU’s chapter of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom while there, filed the suit on behalf of Georgia State University student Cameron Padgett.
Padgett says in the complaint that he tried to rent a conference room at the on-campus Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center for the speech and was denied.
He is seeking a jury trial and damages from MSU.
MSU announced in August it would deny the group space.
"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," the university said in a statement at the time. "This decision was made due to significant concerns about public safety in the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville last weekend.
The request came after a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched at the University of Virginia on Friday and a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville turned into a deadly riot.
MSU has had controversial speakers before. In December of last year, Milo Yiannopoulos came to MSU as part of his "Dangerous Faggot" tour. Yiannopoulos, a former Brietbart News editor, is an avowed anti-feminist and critic of "PC culture" on college campuses.
Seven people, including two students, were arrested prior to the event and were cited for violating MSU's disorderly assembly or conduct ordinance. At the time, an MSU spokesperson said "speakers from all political persuasions are welcome at MSU. If anywhere, universities should be places for viewpoints to be debated."
© 2017, Detroit Free Press