p2pnet news view Freedom | P2P:- Michigan State University plant biology teacher Katherine Gross (right) complained to university administrators, who summoned student leader Kara Spencer to a mandatory meeting and told her she’d be facing disciplinary charges.
For, “discussing the shortened fall 2009 schedule with a small group of faculty members and administrators,” said CNet News at the time, going on:
“She followed up by contacting 391 faculty members by e-mail, saying that professors should be aware of the ‘burden for class schedules and syllabi’ the change would involve.”
And that, figured Gross, was spamming, a definite no-no under MU regulations which said political statements couldn’t be sent to more than 20-30 people without prior approval.
FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, asked the EFF to step in, and it did, arguing the school’s email policy was an unconstitutional restriction on the university commuity’s free speech rights and had begun preparing a lawsuit on Kara’s behalf.
Now, “We’re pleased that MSU has reversed course and will not only drop the charge against Ms. Spencer, but will reconsider its flawed policies,” says EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation ) legal director Cindy Cohn.
“When a school’s anti-spam policy requires students to get approval before they discuss school policy with school officials, it has plainly left the realm of protecting against spam and has violated the Constitution.”
MSU will also work with Kara as a member of the University Committee for Student Affairs to change the email policy so it will respect students’ free speech rights, says the EFF.
CNet News – Michigan State to student: Political e-mail is spam, December 5, 2008
disciplinary charges – MU student vs prof in email `spam` complaint, December 8, 2008
EFF – College Student Vindicated After Political Email Sparks Disciplinary Action, January 28, 2009
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