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Michigan State’s Independent Voice


“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” CAM P US



News you missed over break

During a year unlike any, equipment managers make the most of the season

How the BLM movement compares to the MLK Jr. era civil rights movement



A break from classes doesn’t mean a break from news. Here’s what you may have missed. PAGE 4-5

FRI DAY, JA N UARY 15, 2021




Sophomore guard Alyza Winston pulls up to shoot during the Spartans’ 68-64 loss to Nebraska on Jan. 10, 2021. Devin Anderson-Torrez The State News Sophomore forward Jagger Joshua (23) advances the puck up the rink during the game against Michigan on January 9, 2021 at the Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines, 3-2. Lauren Snyder The State News



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Vol. 111 | No. 10


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NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED OVER WINTER BREAK By Wendy Guzman wendy.guzman@statenews.com Though classes officially ended for fall semester on Dec. 18, 2020, news continued throughout the holiday break and into the new year. Here are a few headlines you might have missed during the break.


University administration pushed back spring classes at Michigan State to Jan. 19 at the end of December, following state government orders about the start of in-person instruction. According to the order, universities and colleges are allowed to resume in-person instruction but were required to not start classes until Jan. 18. MSU’s 400 in-person spring classes will begin online and transition to in-person Jan. 25. For financial aid purposes, the semester still began on Jan. 11 with a “Reading, Reviewing and Reflection” period for any online or in-person class, allowing students to review and plan their syllabi and course schedules. The rest of the spring semester remains the same, with wellness days on March 2-3 and April 22-23 where there will be no classes to provide students with a break from their studies.


A panel from the Michigan Court of Appeals denied convicted sex offender and ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar will of a new sentencing hearing in Ingham County. Nassar argued in his plea that he should be sentenced under a different judge because Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina was biased while sentencing him. In January 2018, Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing hundreds of women and girls over several decades.


COVID-19 vaccines began to roll out to priority groups throughout the country, including those in Ingham County. Ingham County was hoping to triple the number of COVID-19 vaccinations given to those in the open priority groups, Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said in a media briefing Jan. 5. Vail said they were hoping to provide 3,000 vaccines in a three-day span. The country was provided with 1,950 of the first dose plus an additional 975 second doses for those who were vaccinated three weeks prior. In previous weeks, the department had received 975 doses a week.


Local health departments began vaccinating Michigan residents 65 and older on Jan. 11, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 update Wednesday. According to Whitmer, 90% of vaccines are expected to be used within seven days of receiving them. Michigan has recorded over 570,150 COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 12. At this time, more than 14,200 Michiganders have died from COVID-19 complications.


The House of Representatives and Senate met on Jan. 6 in a joint session to certify the results of the Electoral College ballots for president and vice president in the 2020 election but were met with several hundreds of protesters supporting President Donald Trump who swarmed the U.S. Capitol building, putting those inside in danger. According to an NPR report, there will be no Capitol access for the public Jan. 20 for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. urges students, faculty and staff to sign up for a COVID-19 early detection program called Spartan Spit. Elements of the Spartan Spit kit photographed above on Sept. 14, 2020. Alyte Katilius The State News

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Registrar Protesters gather at a “Stop the Steal” rally at the Michigan State Capitol on Nov. 7, 2020, following the release of the presidential election results. Alyte Katilius The State News



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CA MPU S Following the insurrection, Twitter and other social media sites said Trump’s account was “risk of further incitement of violence” and permanently suspended him from the platform. On Jan. 11, a state panel banned the open carry of guns in Michigan’s Capitol, following the U.S. Capital riots and incidents from last year, including when protesters against Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions entered the Michigan Capitol with weapons demanding to be allowed onto the floor of a legislative chamber, and a plot to kidnap the governor. House Democrats revealed an article of impeachment against Trump on Jan. 11.


Michigan State will hold their 41st week-long celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. beginning on Jan. 17, featuring a number of virtual events. MSU Jazz Orchestras will feature memorable Motown tunes by Detroit’s very own Aretha Franklin in the Jazz, Spirituals, Prayer and Protest Concert held at 3 p.m. on Jan. 17. The event will include remarks by Deborah Johnson of MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. The fourth annual Diversity Research Showcase will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Jan. 22 and will feature oral and poster presentations from undergraduate students presenting their work on issues of diversity that advance inclusion. “Anti-bias Training: Moving Dr. King’s message forward in a 2021 platform” will be held at noon on Jan. 21. The training is designed to explore differences and work to be more inclusive in local associations, worksites and with students and colleagues. Those interested can attend the training online.

Nassar survivor Emma Ann Miller speaks to the Board of Trustees during the public comment of the meeting Dec. 14, 2018 at the Hannah Administration Building. Matt Schmucker The State News

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SPARTANS WILL. Offering BASW, MSW & PhD Programs Applications are being accepted now for the BASW and MSW programs. The MSW application deadline is extended to February 8, 2021






During a year unlike any, equipment managers make the most of a fragile season By Joe Dandron jdandron@statenews.com

Ryan Daugherty stormed out of the tunnel into Spartan Stadium’s Kentucky bluegrass field like he had so many times before. The rumble of footsteps so familiar to him, his blood was pumping. It was game day. In a year where he thought it might not happen, Daugherty, a student equipment manager with MSU football, was back in the place he had come to love. Then he looked around, at everything. Except for a smattering of family members sitting in the stands, it was empty. His beloved palace of college football, the gargantuan house of steel and concrete whose painted sideline is decorated by the equipment he and so many other students work every home game to set up. Empty.

“We’re a part of history right now... I can’t wait until I can tell my kids that I went through a football season where we had a pandemic going on...” Ryan Daugherty Advertising Management Senior

Michael Grodi carries cones, agility ladders and other practice equipment during an early fall practice. Grodi said, “I was jockstraps” jokingly while describing his role with the program. Photo courtesy of MSU Football Creative Department 6


His heart sunk. His whole life had gotten to see some of the best environments in college football: Kirk Cousins at Penn State when MSU won the Big Ten title, one of the many. This time, he didn’t get to share his passion for the game that was taken away from him as a player and young man when he hurt his back. This time, he was one of a few that got to witness the game face to face that so many laugh, cry and scream over every Saturday in the fall. This time, he stared at the metal seats and emptiness stared back. Fake crowd noise replicating 75,000 people that no longer roared like the crashing of ocean waves onto a beach, empty bleachers with cardboard cutouts silently cutting through the wind, no chants to rile up the warriors in the arena. Empty. This isn’t how things are supposed to be. As the advertising management senior recalled, the last time things were like this was 1918. “Spanish Flu,” Daugherty said into the phone, shocked at the revelation that 102 years later life can still bend at the unrelenting will of a pandemic. Daugherty has been around MSU football since a young age. It wasn’t fair. He knew he was lucky; He had COVID-19, and the season and sport he loved working around were nearly ripped away again. He had been worried for the season until the Big Ten found a way to safely put the puzzle pieces together. “We’re a part of history right now,” Daugherty said, thinking about the season. “... I can’t wait until I can tell my kids that I went through a football season where we had a pandemic going on, worked a football season with no fans, strict rules, guidelines we had to follow, being tested.” Daugherty and the rest of the student equipment staff found a way to help make an improbable season possible. While it might seem like a minor part of a major college football program, their thankless tasks help everything run smoothly during a football season that hung by a thread. A spotlight shining on helmets the managers screw together only meters away is one that the 10 students who work in equipment often don’t get to have on them. They just do their job. Even when short-handed, even when they got COVID-19, even when they prepared for games against Maryland that were erased as soon as they were etched into a schedule with pencil, not pen. They just do their job. And some of those 10 shared with The State News what their experience was in possibly the strangest season in modern college football history.

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Markael Butler hands a football off to a player during an early-season practice. Butler graduated during the fall semester and plans to pursue a law degree. Photo courtesy of MSU Football Creative Department


“Hey man, want to do laundry?” More or less, that’s how the conversation went between accounting senior Michael Grodi and supply chain management junior Nick Franz, who met and became close friends in Greece while studying abroad. Neither played much football growing up, Grodi said. He liked hoops more anyway. Next, they hopped on board with MSU football during one of the largest transitions in program history. Both were on equipment staff for the final act of Mark Dantonio’s all-time winning tenure in East Lansing. “I wash jockstraps,” Grodi said. It was a rite of passage for the pair before coming on to work practices, help run drills and move sleds, cones and other equipment necessary for running a football practice session. “My freshman year I went to the Michigan game,” Franz said. “It was at home, and I went super early. I got to like the second row and I saw these dudes playing catch on the field before the game and I thought it was pretty cool. I said, ‘Yeah, I’m going to do that.’” He missed the tryouts, but that wasn’t stopping him. Luckily, one spot was open. That’s how Franz got to see Kinnick Stadium at Iowa for the first time in person. Those types of experiences are

what fuel the love they all have for the football program they screw helmets, wash uniforms and wake up at 6 a.m. on noon kickoff days — not to drink Miller Lite — to set up benches on a sideline and locker rooms. On average, Markael Butler, a senior student equipment manager, said the students on staff put in about five hours a day during the week on top of their lives as college students. “It’s definitely not the most glamorous of jobs,” Grodi said.


The responsibility that college athletes hold in their hands during their seasons is not something carried alone. Students, coaches and even day-today workers around the programs hold the same responsibility of not letting the bubble burst. In a time where more than 22.6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States according to John Hopkins University, there’s a shared responsibility. The roles of the student managers and work didn’t change much. However, Butler said the group shrunk from 14 managers to 10, increasing the workloads. This made things difficult at times as different members of the staff tested positive for COVID-19 though they faced no severe repercussions. “Our biggest responsibility (most of


“It was definitely kind of hard but at the end of the day ... you think, ‘I’m a part of something; I’m dedicating this much time to it; I want to make sure I can do my job as best as possible.” Nick Franz

Supply chain management junior the time) was, ‘Hey, don’t get sick,’” Casey Edwards, an MSU junior and student equipment manager, said. “... Most of my week, the only time I got outside was to go to practice and any other time I was inside my apartment hanging out. If I saw people during the week it was the equipment or football guys, it was nobody on the outside.” According to MSU’s 2019 Equity in Sports report, football and men’s basketball brought in nearly $100 million in revenue. The next biggest revenue stream comes from ice hockey at $2.7 million. That number is lower now with no fans allowed in any arena on campus at MSU, but it represents the financial gravity of major Division I athletics. “It was definitely kind of hard but at the end of the day ... you think, ‘I’m a part of something; I’m dedicating this much time to it; I want to make sure I can do my job as best as possible’,” Franz said. “... How many times nowadays do people get to interact with 200+ people in a close environment every day? So, it was kind of like, I don’t want to say a fantasy land for us, but that really just goes down to Markael’s (Butler’s) leadership and Andrew Kolpacki and Dan Kalchik, who are our bosses (to make it possible).” Franz said perseverance was an ideology he pulls from what he called a lifelong experience. It’s what held the group together as friends burned couches in streets after MSU overcame being a double-digit underdog in Ann Arbor. When they all had to stay home for Thanksgiving, the 10 played the video and recruitment staff in a game of flag football, dubbed: The Turkey Bowl. Which, of course, they will make sure you know, the equipment managers won, 60-44. It was their reprieve from a day spent normally with family. They joined together after major wins over AP-ranked Northwestern and Michigan. When they couldn’t leave a hotel anymore to keep everything they worked to help make happen together, they gathered and watched “The Mandalorian” together. “I consider (them) my brothers,” Edwards said. “It’s a close-knit group.”

Michigan State’s student equipment managers pose at the Skandalaris Football Center on the indoor practice field. Pictured, back row (from left to right): Andrew Campbell, Michael Grodi, Dan Kalchik, Liam Ryan, Ben Connelly, Ryan Campbell, Nick Franz and Markael Butler. Front row (from left to right): Ryan Daugherty, Mason Ruddy and Casey Edwards. Photo courtesy of Ryan Daugherty


Edwards thought it couldn’t be. As he sat at a road stop outside of Cleveland, Ohio, snacking and waiting for the confirmation, he already knew what was going to happen that Friday. Michigan State football’s season was going to be over. The Spartans (2-5) inevitably did not accept a postseason bowl game bid. He was a part of the first leg of a caravan that was the team equipment and media staff on its way to Maryland for the Spartans’ matchup set to take place during the weekend of the Big Ten Championship as a part of Big Ten Champions Week. “We are halfway to Cleveland and we are thinking, ‘Well, there might not even be a game, so why are we still driving?’ you know?” Edwards said, almost questioning the unrealistic nature of the moment. “In all honesty, we were like the first people to know.”


Butler always gets to the facility early. There is always something to get done whether its striping the Gruff Sparty across the sides of helmets or chatting with other managers before their workday begins, he said. This time Butler’s Spartan-logo mask absorbs the light shining off the steel doors of the MSU’s practice facility. It’s hot, with temperatures in the high 70s. It’s a late summer day. The thing he thought wouldn’t happen was back. The senior’s path

Ben Connelly drags tackling dummies onto the MSU football practice outdoor practice field during an early season practice. Connelly is a member of the student manager crew that helped make the MSU football season possible. Photo courtesy of MSU Football Creative Department

all began when he went to an MSU athletics career fair on campus as a freshman. “Basically from there, went and tried out,” he said. “The rest was history after that.” He is soft-spoken, a student lead on the equipment staff. Not even he thought he’d see empty stadiums on a game day. “You know running out of the tunnel, to no fans or having big plays you don’t really have a crowd going,” Butler said. “Getting that energy in sports that’s a helpful advantage (and) you can really feel it there, especially Big Ten stadiums.” Butler has seen nearly every stadium in the Big Ten. The graduating senior understands how important homefield advantage is in college football. He was even at the famous

“trouble with the snap” game against Michigan. He compared that game to the Spartans’ 27-24 win in Ann Arbor this season. “From our view on the sideline, man, they just, at that moment, you didn’t feel like there were no fans there,” Butler said, laughing. “You just have your own little party. We’re in our own little world. It was just one of those games. … We wish there would’ve been fans there. It would’ve made it 10 times better just to rub it in their faces.” “It was surreal,” Grodi said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hopefully, something that’ll never happen again. ... I felt lucky and unlucky to be a part of it. ... It’s something you couldn’t even imagine.” FR I DAY, JA N UA RY 1 5, 202 1

Butler didn’t expect his time as a staple of the MSU football sidelines to come to have its curtain call this way. He’s at peace with the final stanza of the poem that has been his time with the program closing the door behind him as he walks in cap and gown. It’s poetic almost, that Butler’s final season with the program came in Tucker’s first. “It’s been awesome honestly, being up close and personal,” Butler said. “Being able to go to practice every day. Really watch football every day, especially if you love it. ... Over the years for me, personally, one of the best things I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’d ever do anything differently with that. I enjoyed every moment of it.”




Local musicians reflect on 2020 hardships, revel in pandemic success By Jack Falinski jack.falinski@statenews.com Three different musicians. One common pandemic. COVID-19 introduced a new way of living life through computer screens and, along with it, an unusual amount of downtime. But for musicians Jonathan Townley, Brandon Rose and Zach Perpich, it’s given them more time to kick back, play their instruments and enjoy the music they love. “It was sort of as a way to deal with those emotions, to deal with the grief and the anxiety,” Townley said. Townley, an East Lansing native and a junior at Kalamazoo College, has been around music for

most of his life. In high school, Townley learned how to play the upright bass in his school’s orchestra. He now sings in both the choir and an a cappella group at Kalamazoo College. Yet, he said his desire to perform individually grew at home. “I guess the first time I really started doing stuff individually, I decided to try to pick up the guitar,” Townley said. “We had this old one laying around the house my dad had got at a pawn shop back when he was in college thinking he was going to learn to play but never had. So, I started trying to watch YouTube videos and try to teach myself how, and that’s how I did it really.” Watching YouTube videos quickly turned into writing songs, and those songs — which he


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Zach Perpich, a country singer/songwriter based in East Lansing, Michigan, on Nov. 20, 2020. Lauren Snyder The State News

categorized as alternative folk, similar to those of Bob Dylan or Jack Johnson — would later turn into an album titled “It Was a Privilege to Know You When You Were Shorter.” By a push from his family, Townley released his nine-song album Oct. 23, 2020. With inspiration driven from thoughts about life and death, thoughts about his own humanity while living with asthma during a time when a serious respiratory virus has swept the nation, Townley described his music on this album as, “healing, joyful, as well as grieving.” One of the songs on the album, “Silent Spring,” focuses on the death of his grandfather, a Methodist minister, who died during the beginning of the pandemic. For Townley, music has not just been something to do in his free time. It’s been a way to cope. “Especially (in) the early pandemic when everything was so uncertain, everything was so stressful, there was so much grief everywhere,” Townley said. “It was sort of as a way to deal with those emotions, to deal with the grief and the anxiety.” “It just shows that even through challenging times where it looks like there’s not a lot of opportunity out there, you can start making opportunities for yourself,” Rose said. If you ask any jazz musician, jazz has a deep intrinsic value to it that many artists hold dear. For Rose, a recent MSU graduate, the significance of jazz is ever-changing. “I’d say right now I’m still in the discovery phase of really figuring out what jazz means to me,” Rose said. “I know that I appreciate jazz, and I appreciate the history, just looking at all of the stories linked to jazz and just how it’s Black music..” Rose came to MSU as a jazz studies major, using his more than 10 years of experience with the electric bass to learn the upright bass. “It was kicking my butt, and I really wanted to quit,” Rose said. “I saw a lot of my friends who had been playing upright bass for some years now, and they were making just these amazing moves up into their career and everything. And I’m just over here kind of struggling.” During that experimental time, Rose discovered a passion for songwriting and beat production, fueling a desire to create his own brand, music he now describes as a fusion between jazz and R&B. Rose’s personal revelation to produce his own sound carried him the rest of the way through his undergraduate degree, where he graduated in 2020. Little did he know he’d be graduating into a global pandemic. Yet, that hasn’t stopped him from chasing his dream. He released his album “Transition” on June 19, 2020. He started with seven song titles and cranked out lyrics to them in 14 days, contributing to the 10-track collection. COVID-19 hasn’t impacted the gigs Rose has been able to book; they look different these days. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Rose has live streamed concerts, taught music lessons and written songs for others. He was even featured in MSU’s Impact 89FM “Comma Concert” series, where he performed a set in a barbershop while

a customer was getting a haircut. “Who would think to have a concert in a barbershop while people are getting their haircut? Like, that’s just really different,” Rose said. “It just shows that even through challenging times where it looks like there’s not a lot of opportunity out there, you can start making opportunities for yourself.” “It’s given me a chance to learn more, get better,” Perpich said. COVID-19 has been a way for many to capitalize on newfound leisure time. When it comes to music, marketing senior Perpich already knows how to take advantage of that kind of time. It started years ago. “It’s kind of funny,” Perpich said. “So, I babysat these kids in the summer during high school, and they would not wake up till like 10 or 11 (a.m.) every day. And, I was just kind of sitting in their living room, and they had a guitar there, and I was like, ‘You know, I love music. Why not try to figure it out?’” A fondness for listening to music, specifically country artists like the Zac Brown Band and Eric Church, grew into an aspiration to play. Perpich carried a self-driven motivation to perform that he said those artists inspired. With support from family and friends, Perpich decided to share his music — on Twitter, Instagram and even live at Dublin Square in East Lansing during the fall 2020 semester. Playing at Dublin Square was a great experience as is, he said, noting that he’d like to repeat that in the future. For now, though, Perpich said he’s just using music to pass the time. “I think it’s just been something I’ve really done a lot more of because of COVID,” he said. “It can get boring when you’re not allowed to do anything. So, I think music, especially being able to play music, has been something to keep me very occupied during this time. It’s given me a chance to learn more, get better.”

Jonathan Townley courtesy photo by Neil Harvey


How the BLM movement compares to the MLK Jr. era civil rights movement By Verena Daniel verena.daniel@statenews.com The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not mark the end of the fight for racial equality in America. In fact, professional and public writing junior Charlotte Bachelor said that the fight is still alive and well. “I think that a lot of people think that once the Civil Rights era ended, that was just the end of the Civil Rights Movement,� Bachelor said. “I think that’s where a lot of people get it misconstrued because there were still a lot of political and social forces against Black people and ... keeping them away from being able to reach their full potential.� Bachelor said she fully expected to see a revamped civil rights movement that reached the magnitude seen after the death of George Floyd. She grew up hearing stories from her grandparents and great-grandparents about their experience living through the Martin Luther King Jr. era.. The first major event in the Black Lives Matter movement Bachelor remembers is Trayvon Martin’s murder Feb. 26, 2012. However, she said she didn’t fully grasp the issue of police brutality until the summer of 2020. “I believe I was only 13 or 14, so I did not fully grasp the weight, the severity of that situation. But this summer, obviously I was 20,� Bachelor said. “... I don’t want to say it was a wake-up call, but it definitely feels a lot more severe and a lot more heavy when you’re old enough to fully grasp.� Social media also plays a role in the revival of the movement as a resource that activists can use to circulate petitions, donation sites and information about organized protests and protesting safely. It’s also a place where people are facilitating conversations in a new way. Bachelor said that since she isn’t able to be physically present at protests due to health issues, she uses social media to raise awareness and help other people get involved. “I think definitely now there are a lot more instant reactions, or instant responses to violence,� Bachelor said. “So like, when George Floyd was murdered this summer like that same weekend you see protests everywhere. ... It makes it easier to rally people together and get resources and disperse information on a minute-

by-minute basis. ... At times people were sharing ‘O.K., the police are here, ... if you need to leave get out now’ or ‘Hey, they’re dispersing tear gas.’� King is one of the most visible leaders of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Today, this moment is headed by Black youth. The face of the current movement is millions of different faces. But, Bachelor said she believes Black women have emerged as the figurehead of the racial justice fight. “Now with Black Lives Matter, we’re seeing a push of Black women to the forefront,� Bachelor said. “When Malcolm X said the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman, and then there was Breonna Taylor (her death) ... I don’t think he (King) would be the face of the movement anymore, I think it would be someone much younger.� Jennifer Cobbina, an associate professor in the school of criminal justice, said that a notable difference in the two movements is that while the civil rights movement was built on the shoulders of a few, primarily male activists, the Black Lives Matter movement diversified in gender and overall is more inclusive.

“The cause has also drawn more diverse crowds than previous movements. Specifically, BLM’s mission is focused on diversity, inclusion, and empowerment in a way that the hierarchical, male-dominated movements of earlier eras did not.� Jennifer Cobbina

Associate professor of criminal justice

Cobbina said the Black Lives Matter protests are also not as centralized as their MLK-era predecessors, largely because of the presence of technology and social media. There are smaller chapters across the country rather than a traveling body of leaders, which makes these quick responses to incidents of police brutality much easier to achieve.

“(BLM) is a “leaderfull� movement that prizes collaboration over having one central figure deciding for everyone else what tactics to prioritize over others,� Cobbina said in the email. “Instead of a pyramid of different departments topped by a leader, there is coordination and a set of shared values spread across a decentralized structure that prizes local connections and fast mobilization in response to police violence.� Although there are several differences in the civil rights and BLM movements, their common motive and methods show a clear continuation in the push for equality from the MLK days to now. While much of the 1960 civil rights movement was about equal rights and protections under federal law, Bachelor said the movement is now also about making structural changes in local communities and working closely with leaders at the city and state level. “I think it definitely shows the importance of voting because I remember when I worked the 2016 election I had people asking me if they had to vote for president or not,� Bachelor said. “I think it shows the importance ... that if we want the change we want to see in the presidency, it doesn’t start in the White House, it starts in local communities. It starts with working with our city council and our mayor and our governor.� Bachelor also said a critical step in moving forward and listening to the call for racial justice and equality in America is for non-Black Americans and allies of the Black Lives Matter movement to take the initiative in educating themselves rather than relying on their Black friends and acquaintances to do it for them. “I think there needs to be a time of reflection and actually practicing what we preach,� Bachelor said. “So, ‘O.K., we’re going to be anti-racist.’ ... I think definitely making Black history more known ... treating it just like we would American history and starting with antibias training.� Bachelor emphasized that making a strong effort to create equal and inclusive environments for people of color in America is what communities need. “’Diversity,’ I think, isn’t a cute tagline to make your university seem more diverse,� Bachelor said. “It should be something that you believe in and that you’re working toward.�

“7 Miles for 7 Shots March participants holding “Justice for Breonna� signs at the Michigan State Capital on Friday, October 16, 2020.� Photo by Di’Amond Moore


56960-Sterling Institute for Jewish Studies

           The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel

FR IDAY, JA N UA RY 15, 202 1




Students share their experience with getting COVID-19 By Dina Kaur dkaur@statenews.com Human biology sophomore Kelsey Robinson got COVID-19 the third week she got to campus from a friend. Psychology sophomore Lauren Gudeman got it from her roommate’s boyfriend’s roommate. Political science sophomore Ryland Bennett got COVID-19 from his roommate’s girlfriend. Through different forms of transmission, these students all got sick and had varying experiences with the infectious virus, from mild flu symptoms to losing their sense of smell or taste. Robinson said she had been really safe before getting the disease, keeping hand sanitizer in her bag all the time, wearing an N-95 mask, and social distancing.

Robinson also said she made sure her friend got a negative test result before coming over. However, later that week, they both tested positive, along with all of her roommates. Her symptoms were particularly bad. She said she had a 103-degree fever that lasted for four days, sore muscles, back pain and a loss of appetite. “The fever was the worst part because it made me feel so unwell,” she said. “I remember where I couldn’t move my eyes side-to-side. I had to turn my whole head because it would give me shooting pains in my head.” Once the fever lessened, Robinson said she felt a little better. She ended up losing her sense of smell and taste, only to fully recover two weeks later. Even though she ended up alright in the

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end, she was still fearful to get the disease. “I was scared to get COVID,” she said. “I knew that it wouldn’t be that bad for our age group but I didn’t want to get it especially since we don’t know the repercussions of COVID right now and what it could really do.” After she recovered, Robinson said she started seeing more friends since she had the antibodies in her system. According to the National Institute of Health, two studies showed that COVID-19 antibodies persist for at least three to four months after first infection. Even though Robinson is a little more lenient on going out right now, she understands the risks involved with COVID-19. She even took a microbiology class in which she learned how the disease spreads, how it manipulates our DNA and our mRNA. “I got to learn exactly how the vaccine works, so I know that if I get the opportunity to take the vaccine, immediately I’ll take it because it’s not going to damage me, Robinson said. “It’s only beneficial at this point.” Gudeman was sick with COVID-19 for 10 days, during which she lost her sense of smell and taste. For three of these days, she felt like she had the flu and had a sore throat. Because she has asthma and is at higher risk for complications, Gudeman said she would only hang out with people she knew, would always wear her mask and would gather with less than 10 people. Her time having the disease also took a mental toll on her. “Just feeling that sick and not knowing, having it be a new illness that affects everyone totally differently, I was really anxious because I was scared if I went to bed feeling sick, how much sicker I would get,” she said. The isolation part was also difficult for her. Since she’s a huge people person, she started to feel lonely. Director of Health and Services for MSU Student Health Keith Nelson said in an email that students that test positive should self isolate and avoid close contact with others. However, Nelson said it’s difficult to stay isolated. “It can be very trying to have to be isolated for a period of time,” Nelson said. “Any forms of communication with friends and loved ones can be very helpful, whether that be via phone calls, Zoom calls, or social media. This also allows the student to communicate changing or worsening symptoms, and get further help if necessary.” Bennett said he and his roommates were doing everything they could to make sure they didn’t get the disease: They wore their masks, checked their temperature, used hand sanitizer and did their best to social distance and not introduce new bodies into their social circle. One slip occurred when he didn’t know his roommate’s girlfriend had COVID when she visited. A few days later, Bennett and his roommate decided to get tested, which led to them being positive. During his first few days with the disease,

Image provided by the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC

COVID-19 RESOURCES • MSU Together We Will msu.edu/together-we-will • CDC Help and Resources cdc.gov/coronavirus • Local Testing Resources carbonhealth.com/ coronavirus/covid-19testing-centers/Michigan/ Lansing

Bennett said he had a lot of sinus pressure, body aches and a headache. Later, he also lost his sense of smell. Bennett said that seeing the death totals was scary while he was sick. However, since he is 20 years old, young and relatively healthy, he knew he was pretty safe from severe symptoms. After getting COVID-19, he ended up becoming more careful and responsible with pandemic restrictions. “Of my roommates, two of us got it and two of us didn’t, so I think my mindset shifted more while me and one of my roommates had antibodies for a certain amount of months,” Bennett said. “I did get a little more cautious because I wanted to make sure my other few roommates didn’t get it. I made sure I was a little more aware of my surroundings trying to make sure while I had gotten it we didn’t keep spreading it.” Nelson said that college students who test positive for COVID-19 tend to have mild to moderate symptoms. If a student tests positive during the semester, they should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and visit the MSU Together We Will website for accommodations and resources.


PANDEMIC’D: FRESHMAN MOCK-UP COMEDY WEB SERIES By Morgan Womack mwomack@statenews.com Instead of feeling at home onstage, freshmen theater students must bring the stage to their own homes through their computer screens. The MSU Department of Theatre’s freshman showcase takes a new form this year as a mockumentary web series called “PANDEMIC’D.” Academic Specialist in acting and improv Sarah Hendrickson and Assistant Professor of media acting Ryan Welsh came together with their different areas of expertise to direct this production. Hendrickson and Welsh originally aimed for 15 minutes of quality footage to edit and put together into a mini documentary. However, they were surprised with the students’ enthusiasm and ended up with a lot more content than expected. That’s when they decided to turn it into a web series with separate episodes. “We want to bring some lightness and a little bit of levity to what is happening,” Hendrickson said. “There’s no disrespect here to the pandemic or anything that’s happening, it’s just like, how can we as a community embrace what’s going on, acknowledge what’s going on, but then also look to the future for hope and have some fun along the way.” The show follows 16 freshmen as a remote, improvised mockumentary. They act as students in a fictional acting school who encounter comedic, relatable situations. Part of their roles involve attending Zoom rehearsals and tapings twice a week from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well as filming their own b-roll to accompany their characters’ storylines. “That comes with some benefits because sometimes they shoot something in a way that I wasn’t imagining but it’s totally true to the story that they’re telling and it ends up being really fun,” Welsh said. Giving students this flexibility in creativity is important for them to feel a sense of ownership over the project too. “Ryan and I are still very much directing and guiding them and giving them suggestions for what to do, but they’re doing their b-roll on their own,” Hendrickson said. “They’re using their phones, and they’re using whatever means that they have, so they’re being really adaptable to what is happening right now in the world to still continue to do their art.” Communications and theater freshman Jewell Redman said even with this added responsibility, her schedule is still flexible.

“We want to bring some lightness and a little bit of levity to what is happening.” Sarah Hendrickson Academic specialist in acting and improv

“Sarah and Ryan are really good about giving us our b-roll,” Redman said. “They’re never really strict. They want us to get it done when we can because everyone has different circumstances. Personally, I work and I have credits to do, and I’m sure other people do too.” The freshmen also had to develop their own characters for the improv. Most of their characters are based on expanded traits from their real personalities. Bachelor’s in fine arts (BFA) actor and game design freshman Ben Barber explained the process of choosing character traits. “We wrote down a list of things we were excited about,” Barber said. “Then we took one of those ideas. I wrote down ‘I’m excited to go make a snowman; I’ve never seen that much snow’ or ‘I’m excited to find a girlfriend.’ Then we took one of those aspects and we’re going to play that up to the max.” Barber chose to play a romantic. “He really wants to find the one true love in college, so that’s kind of what’s been going on,” Barber said. “I’ve been looking for that and who knows? Maybe I found it.” Hendrickson and Welsh hoped the students would develop their characters throughout the series. Redman said her and her classmates’ characters experience growth over time. “Basically, we’re all sort of more eccentric versions of our characters,” Redman said. “We’re a bit more dramatic. My character, she isn’t too upset about staying home for this first year to just take a little bit of the stress off.” BFA stage management freshman Cora Large is also involved in the series. Because she can’t work behind the scenes in this production, her stage management role is channeled into her acting. “My role is kind of like acting like a hermit,” Large said. “I don’t see anybody or do anything here. I have plants. I’m like a grandma. That’s kind

The cast of “PANDEMIC’D,” a rockumentary web series featuring theater freshmen, poses for a screenshot during their rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Ryan Welsh

of my character, and it’s really fun. It’s just like an extension of me.” Creating chemistry between their characters can be challenging, but the freshmen said they have built connections virtually. “It’s really funny all the time interacting with them because we’re all so comfortable with each other, even though we have that aspect of over the screen,” Redman said. “It’s so crazy to see how connected we are with (the directors) and how we’re always ready to share ideas or give feedback or advice.” At the beginning of the show, the students didn’t know each other. But in an attempt to form friendships, they said they’ve made group chats and scheduled video calls to bond outside of rehearsal. “We’ve had a presentation night where everyone makes presentations and shows up or plays Among Us for a few hours and just on our own time have created space to meet everybody,” Large said. Barber said these moments were also memorable for him. “We’ve just had those little connections over time and then as time went on, we went through our classes together,”

Headshot of Cora Large. Photo courtesy of Cora Large

Barber said. “We would have Zoom meetings like at midnight on Fridays and we’d just talk until 2 a.m., just to get to know each other a little bit more.” Building these friendships through the screen have influenced the culture of the production as well. “I think it makes it a lot better because we have become so much more comfortable with each other and able to voice

Headshot of Jewell Redman. Photo Courtesy of Madison Jennett

our opinions and our ideas and just go with it,” Large said. “So, I think the comfort just kind of creates a better dynamic within the group.” Redman said being a part of this group changed her outlook on college as a whole. Before she joined the cast, she was unsure how to find a community like this. “Now that I’m here, I really can’t imagine myself doing

Headshot of Ben Barber. Photo courtesy of Ben Barber

anything else,” Redman said. “I was really scared to come to college and find a place that I fit because I’ve kind of struggled with fitting in places sometimes. But finding these people and this experience has changed me for the better.” The theatre department is planning to publish the first episode on Feb. 1. More information can be found on the MSU Department of Theatre’s website.

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