Michigan State University confirmed on Wednesday that it is reviewing a request by a white nationalist speaker to appear on campus. No decision has been made.
MSU said the request came from the National Policy Institute, led by Richard Spencer. It came less than a week after a white nationalists, supremacists and protesters descended on Charlottesville, Virginia. One woman was killed after a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of protesters.
Spencer advocates for an all-white "ethnostate." His NPI organization is "dedicated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world."
Spencer reportedly attended the rallies last weekend in Charlottesville which featured chants like "Jews will not replace us."
MSU said a decision the request is being reviewed has not been made yet.
The University of Florida denied Spencer an event there. Texas A&M University canceled a similar event scheduled for September 11. Both schools cited security concerns.
MSU president Lou Ann K. Simon released the following statement:
Michigan State University has been contacted by the National Policy Institute seeking to rent space to accommodate a speaker on campus. The NPI describes itself as “dedicated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent.”
We are aware of no connection with any MSU-related group or individual, but such is not required to seek publicly available space.
No decision has yet been made. We are reviewing the request closely in light of the deplorable violence in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.
Michigan State takes seriously its obligations to accommodate a broad range of speech. As our record shows, this university does not determine who can access public spaces based on what they think or say.
Allowing access to public spaces would in no way constitute endorsement of messages that might be delivered there. 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.
The diversity they shun is a source of our strength, like America itself, and every day some 65,000 students, faculty and MSU staff—and half a million alumni—are the living proof. So we will not be intimidated, nor stoop to reciprocate hate.
As America’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU from the start was dedicated to opening broad access to cutting-edge knowledge. We are proud of MSU’s long engagement in civil and human rights. And we will continue to welcome and nurture the diverse, engaged citizen-scholars that this world needs—today more than ever.
We stand with our colleagues across the country for the best of humanity, and our resolve is implacable. Spartans Will.