Whose responsibility is it to determine what is and is not academic free speech on any campus? … the administrators or the faculty?

Michigan State University: Student  Threatened with Suspension for E-mailing Faculty about University Scheduling

This is the story of a student, the Association Director of the student government  at Michigan State University.  The Provost revealed plans to shorten the school’s academic calendar.  Members of the University Committee on Student Affairs (UCSA), which included faculty, students, and administrators, meet and exchanged emails in order to construct a response. The student, as a membe rf this committee,  decided to communicate with 391 individual faculty.  The admin. claimed the student had violated the code, leading to a reprimand and a law suit.

Her email (excerpted from original)

>In discussions with members of the university community, we have discovered
that many are unaware of the impending changes, or the likely repercussions,
which will greatly affect both faculty and students alike.
>The shortening of Fall Welcome may impact the organized activities of colleges
and impede the acclimation of freshmen, international, and out-of-state students
to the University.

>The loss of instructional time due to shortening of the semester will create a
burden for class schedules and syllabi that are already compressed and thereby
compromise academic quality.

>The proposed change of shortening finals week to Wednesday-Saturday evening
raises a number of concerns: the implications of overlapping instructional days
with finals week, the impact on those within the community who observe Saturday
as a religious day, and the fact that even with the current schedule many
students encounter multiple exams on a single day and narrowing the time frame
will only increase this likelihood.
>Delaying the start of classes until mid-week (Wednesday has been proposed) will
not deter non-academic activities of students or provide a solution to the
health and safety concerns cited by the Provost’s office as the chief reason for
the changes. Instead, it will extend the non-academic/welcome period for
students living off-campus whose move-in will still occur a week prior to

>>The inability of students to have adequate time to settle in prior to the startof classes will likely drive more students to opt for living off-campus, underminingone of the main objectives of the University…increasing retention of
students in on-campus housing.

>We believe that an inclusive dialogue among members of the University community
and a comprehensive evaluation of all available information are imperative
before any proposal can be adopted. Such a review would require that the
Provost’s proposal not be implemented for the 2009-2010 academic year.
>Given the immediacy of the situation, we request that any faculty wishing to be
heard on this issue contact their
Council representative or the Provost’s office.
>Thank you for your time and consideration.

Within two days, the  MSU Administration charged the student with  violation of  as many as five MSU policies by “spamming” the faculty members.

This episode strikes home.  Could UW admin take a similar action against THE-Ave.US?   Whose responsibility is it to determine what is and is not academic free speech on any campus?  … the administrators or the faculty?

Ultimately, as a result of external pressure, MSU rescinded its charges.  However, the policy and the authoritarian structure of MSU were left unchanged.   The lesson here, for a faculty facing the issues raised by Aprikyan, should be obvious to anyone who still believes in “shared governance.”