In April of 2007, two groups at Michigan State University (MSU) decided to host a speech on illegal immigration. The speech was disrupted by radicals. Some arrests were made. As a result, some protestors decided to retaliate by going to the MSU Office for Inclusion. They claimed to have been harassed in violation of the MSU anti-discrimination policy.
The Office for Inclusion then decided to launch a six-month investigation of all members of the two groups who invited the speaker. They also decided to investigate the two faculty advisors. This was despite the school’s claim that its anti-discrimination policy was not meant to trump free speech.
The investigation concluded that no further action was required. But those investigated disagreed. They were outraged that the policy could be used to launch long-term investigations of conservatives simply for articulating conservative principles. And they knew the policy could be used to create a chilling effect on constitutionally protected expression.
The MSU anti-discrimination policy is problematic for three reasons: 1) It assumes “protected classes” are victims as if rights belong to groups, not individuals 2) it makes the accused demonstrate his innocence, and 3) it holds speakers responsible for “feelings” of “harassment” experienced by those who chose to listen to ideas contrary to their own.
The administration of MSU relies on secrecy and fear to empower its Orwellian policies. Meanwhile, a bold new group is taking them on. The Conservative Faculty and Staff at MSU have decided to fight the administration in a very public manner. They have announced to the administration that they will be a force for ensuring that open enquiry survives and thrives in East Lansing.
Professor Fred Fico established the group (firstname.lastname@example.org) in September of 2008 under the mission statement: To protect and defend the values articulated in the Declaration of Independence here at Michigan State University.
Nearly every university in America needs such a chapter to respond to the attempts of far left administrators, faculty, and students with an agenda to deny free speech to conservatives. Such attempts - whether made through speech codes or anti-discrimination policies – are meant to deny conservatives a platform to debate important issues. Such issues including affirmative action, gun control, and illegal immigration, need a balanced presentation in higher education.
The MSU Conservative Faculty and Staff are defending freedom by boldly exercising it themselves. They are doing it in four principal ways:
1. Defending students and faculty whose free speech rights are being denied.
2. Advocating for students who wish to speak freely against ideological indoctrination in classes.
3. Educating the university community by inviting appropriate speakers to campus to speak on issues of vital importance to America.
4. Speaking out on these issues themselves before members of the university community.
I was thrilled when the group asked me to come to MSU as the first speaker for their fine organization. I was even more thrilled when Professor Fico gave me a brochure that spelled out the four principal beliefs of the new organization. They are as follows:
1. We believe that God, not the state, is the Author of our freedom.
2. We believe that individuals, not groups, have rights.
3. We believe that the right to life enables all other rights.
4. We believe that freedom requires rights of ownership and use of property.
For years, I have been fighting a war against moral relativism, socialism, and identity politics on college campuses. Many times during the struggle I have felt very alone and discouraged. But, now, I realize that the effort is beginning to pay off. Professors are beginning to stand up for our nation in proud defense of our God-given liberties. And they are doing so at a time when those liberties are in unprecedented jeopardy.
To all conservative faculty and staff members around the country I say the following: If you have ever considered standing up against the tide of political correctness in defense of your nation and your liberties, please, do it now. We need you more than ever.