Michigan Supreme Court Weighs MSU Free Speech Case

Apr 4, 2012

The Michigan Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in a case that questions the constitutionality of a Michigan State University ordinance. 

In 2008, MSU law student Jared Rapp received a parking ticket on campus.  Rapp reportedly yelled at the parking attendant, took his photo and demanded his name.  The question arises as to whether MSU’s ordinance prohibiting anyone from disrupting a university employee’s official business is too broad, and whether it infringed upon Rapp’s right of free speech. 

Rapp’s attorney, Nick Bostic, says he hopes the court will strike down the ordinance.

“My preference would be that they simply tell the MSU Board of Trustees, ‘this ordinance is off the books; if you need something that addresses this, write a new one, with these concepts in mind.,'" says Bostic.

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings says this case differs from a federal precedent dealing with the right of police to make arrests if they’re interrupted in their duties.  Legally, the terms “interrupt” and “disrupt” have been interpreted differently.