MSU Student Government to Vote on Hate Speech Resolution Thursday Night

Todd A. Heywood, Michigan Messenger (Michigan State University), February 20, 2008

The Associate Students of Michigan State University, the undergraduate student governing body, is planning to vote on a resolution about hate speech at a meeting at 6:30 Thursday night. The meeting will take place on the third floor of the Student Personnel Building.

The student legislators will consider the resolution “A Bill to Address the Hate Speech Controversy,” which was unanimously passed out of committee earlier this week. The bill would create a “workshop” with ASMSU lawyers, representatives of the MSU Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Affairs, the Vice President of Student Affairs Office and university legal counsel to define hate speech and the line between hate and free speech. The bill also directs ASMSU to advocate for an expansion of the MSU non-discrimination policy to include the definitions of hate and free speech, and to explore the possibility of expanding the MSU Multicultural Center.

The bill was created to address the growing controversies of speakers brought in by Young Americans for Freedom at MSU. The group has sponsored controversial speeches by Chris Simcox, the founder of the Minutemen Civilian Defense Corps; Nick Griffin, the head of the British National Party and a Holocaust denier; Ryan Sorba, an author and conservative activist who claims the idea of being born gay is a hoax; and a proposed appearance by Jared Taylor, the head of the American Renaissance organization which openly advocates that whites are superior to people of color.

“Whereas, MSU students have witnessed hate speech by outspoken groups, which is justified by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution according to university officials,” the bill reads in the reasoning for the bill, “and whereas ASMSU and the student body have attempted to address this issue but has yet to be as effective as necessary. . . .”

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[Editor’s Note: As of noon Friday, the results of this vote have not been published in the Michigan Messenger, which is apparently an afternoon paper.]

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