Want to email professors asking them to take a stance on a particular college-related issue? Not a safe idea if you attend Michigan State University. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (“FIRE”) reported last week that a member of the student government at M.S.U. was found guilty of violating the university’s “spam” policy, which prohibits the sending of an unsolicited email to more than 20-30 recipients over two days.
The student emailed a hand-picked group of 391 faculty members (roughly eight percent of the total at M.S.U.), asking them to speak up about a proposal by the school administration to change the calendar. What is truly mind-boggling about the decision to discipline that student is that the administration had itself solicited comments on the change from the faculty; the email was designed to encourage the faculty to take advantage of that offer.