Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
Public university’s Black Students’ Alliance wants school to put 1st Amendment on hold

Wants ‘no-hate ordinance to hold those who engage in hate speech accountable’

The Black Students’ Alliance at Michigan State University recently proposed a few “action items” for school administrators to consider, one of which is throttling the First Amendment.

According to The State News, the BSA wrote to new school president Kevin Guskiewicz noting “the importance of the university working to ensure that Black students’ experiences improve following a series of racial harassment incidents.”

The letter, posted to the BSA Instagram page, says “recent discussions” have shown “alarming disparities and instances of racial discrimination that cannot be ignored.” These include “stagnant [black] enrollment,” differences in graduation rates between black and white students, and hate speech incidents.

One of the “action items” the BSA gave Guskiewicz to consider was “implementation of a no-hate ordinance to hold those who engage in hate speech accountable.”

The group specifically highlighted Professor Jack Lipton of the College of Human Medicine who last October referred to supporters of now-former Board of Trustees Chairperson Rema Vassar as a “mob.” (Vassar is black.)

Lipton ended up apologizing for the remark at a December board meeting, but the BSA says his actions since “have shown a severe lack of compassion and remorse.”

The group wants a written apology from Lipton, as well his attendance at a mandatory meeting between the faculty senate and the BSA.

MORE: Michigan State inclusive language guide: ‘bunny,’ ‘gift,’ ‘America’ are offensive

From the story:

“You have had months to reach out and have dialogue with us,” [BSA parliamentarian Jordan] Roebuck said [of Lipton]. “We have remained patient and willing to speak to you. The words you decided to use describing Black students in your position are not acceptable. Take accountability for your actions so that we can move forward and create a better environment for all MSU students.”

Lipton [pictured] declined to comment directly on BSA’s statement.

Roebuck said the overall experience of reaching out to university officials has been inconsistent.

“It has been difficult getting into contact with people like Dr. Lipton, which is concerning,” Roebuck said. “We had issues scheduling a meeting with interim president Teresa Woodruff as well before meeting with her in the fall. Not being able to get into contact with people who represent MSU faculty is concerning.”

Ironically, Vassar resigned her position earlier this month after an investigation found she “violated board bylaws and code of ethics” by, among other things, “using students to orchestrate ‘attacks’ on colleagues.”

In fact, Vassar and fellow trustee Dennis Dasso “were secretly recorded telling student groups how to ‘terrify,’ ‘publicly embarrass’ & ‘crucify’ the school’s interim president.” This means the Black Students’ Alliance wants MSU to sanction a professor who used the term “mob” quite correctly.

Also earlier this year, the MSU College of Law Student Bar Association supported the Black Law Students Association’s complaints regarding a white student’s use of the n-word in class.

While neither group explicitly called for the student to be sanctioned (which may be because he used the term in an educational context, which The College Fix had inquired about but received no response), they did say the MSU community should “be held to a higher standard” and lamented the lack of a “safe and welcoming environment.”

MORE: Message advocating boycott of MSU’s diversity training called ‘hate speech,’ ‘violence’

IMAGES: MSU Black Students’ Alliance/Instagram; Jack Lipton/X

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.

About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.