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Souichi Terada City editor

‘Midwestern Democrat’ Elissa Slotkin running for U.S. House of Representatives in 8th District After working for the CIA and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon, Elissa Slotkin is tackling a new challenge — Congress. Slotkin is running for the Eighth District, which includes Lansing, East Lansing and Rochester Hills. She is looking to unseat the Republican incumbent Mike Bishop. In May 2017, Slotkin watched the Republicans from the U.S. House of Representatives hold a celebratory ceremony at the White House following their vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, without a replacement. “Something just broke in me and I said, ‘No, you do not get to do this,’” Slotkin said. The attempted repeal cemented her desire to run for Congress, Slotkin said. “For me, healthcare is really personal,” Slotkin said. “My mom died in 2011 of ovarian cancer, and when she was diagnosed she had let her healthcare lapse.” Slotkin said she and her brother were prepared to file bankruptcy for her mother, but a loophole meant they were able to have the health insurance reinstated. The attempt at repealing ACA was the final push Slotkin said she needed to run, and she said she has other credentials that make her qualified. She spent 14 years at the CIA working as a Middle East analyst and served three tours in Iraq alongside the military. Then, she worked at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. “I’m tested, tested in a crisis, in a combat zone, in a male-dominated environment and I know at the end of the day, I know how to get things done,” Slotkin said. “Knowing how to kick ass in the job is important.” While Slotkin’s website features red and blue colors, she said she is running as a Democrat. “I am a midwestern Democrat, which I believe means practical, reasonable, willing to work across the aisle and focused on the economy and the middle class, saving the middle class,” Slotkin said. She has a bipartisan background from her time working in national security. “I worked for Republican administrations and Democratic administrations,” Slotkin said. “I worked for President Bush and President Obama. I had Democratic bosses and Republican bosses. I believe in order to actually get things done, we do need to buckle down and often reach across the aisle. That doesn’t mean I won’t call a spade a spade when there’s something that’s just fundamentally counter to our American values.” International relations and experience architecture senior Nina Capuzzi knew Slotkin before she decided to run for Congress. While

Capuzzi said she doesn’t usually get involved in campaigns, she wanted to support Slotkin. “Elissa cares about students and cares about issues that matter to us,” Capuzzi. “I think that she will be a leader for the campus, and for representation for us in Congress especially.” The values Slotkin holds represent what Capuzzi said she wants for a person in office. Slotkin bills herself as socially progressive and fiscally conservative. She said she wants to protect the rights of people while lowering the national debt. “I am extremely clear on where I stand on the issue of gay rights and a woman’s right to choose, and I will go to the grave on those issues,” Slotkin said. “I believe in treating our federal budget like we treat our home budget. We don’t spend out of control and rack up huge debt and pass it onto our kids without understanding how we’re going to pay for it, and I expect the same of the federal government.” While growing up, Slotkin said her family owned guns, and in Iraq she carried a Glock and an M4, so she believes in the Second Amendment — with caveats. “We are believers in the Second Amendment. That said, I believe that it is clear we need additional comprehensive background checks,” Slotkin said. “Closing all the loopholes so you can’t avoid a background check … and making sure we are laser focused so that domestic abusers, terrorists on the terrorist watch list and mentally ill people cannot get them.” Increasing state and federal assistance for college students is also important, Slotkin said. Pell Grants and state funding to public universities need to increase, to make it easier for students to pay for college, she said. Slotkin wants interest rates for student loans need to be capped at a low number to make it easier to pay off loans. “The industry of student loans should not be treated like any other loan later in your life,” Slotkin said. “Education is fundamental to getting ahead in our society.” As MSU moves forward amid the fallout from ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, Slotkin said former President Lou Anna K. Simon made the correct decision in her resignation. “I grew up in an environment surrounded by the military, and in the military a strong leader needs to understand when their leadership is distracting from the mission of the organization,” Slotkin said. “For instance, Lou Anna Simon. I met with her, but at the end of the day, her leadership was distracting the institution that she loved from moving forward, so I think it was the right thing for her to resign. Personally, I think the same thing of the Board (of Trustees). The university and the community here needs to start looking forward and starting the healing


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U.S. House of Representatives candidate Elissa Slotkin poses for a photo. Slotkin is looking to upset Republican incumbent Mike Bishop. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELISSA SLOTKIN FOR CONGRESS

FAST FACTS Hometown: Holly, Michigan College: Cornell University (B.A.), Columbia University (M.A.) Political career: Recruited by CIA, deployed to Baghdad and served three tours in Iraq alongside United States military Worked for former President George W. Bush as part of national security staff Stayed on staff during Barack Obama’s presidency, took on various roles in Department of Defense Was acting Assistant Secretary of Defense, overseeing policy at the Pentagon on Russia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa until January 2017 Information:


“I worked for President Bush and President Obama. I had Democratic bosses and Republican bosses. I believe in order to actually get things done, we need to buckle down and often reach across the aisle.” Elissa Slotkin Candidate for Congress, Michigan’s 8th District



April 13-22 Pasant Theatre

Music by Green Day Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong Book by Billie Joe Armstrong & Michael Mayer Directed & Choreographed by Brad Willcuts Musical Direction by Dave Wendelberger “American Idiot” is presented through special arrangement Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.


McKenna Ross Managing editor


MFA students showcase work at art museum

Grayson Miller transitioning to new position

East Lansing’s budget is ‘not sustainable’

One student recreated her childhood home on a large scale, so people can walk through it.

Senior Grayson Miller is moving from safety to linebacker for his final football season at MSU.

Revenues for 2019 are expected to be less than 2007’s revenues, and cuts are looming.

Senate wants leaders to read Title IX reports BY KARA KEATING

“For the kids to get the hands on interaction and be with the players and meet the players — and coach Dantonio speaks. We just love it.” Mary Sucura Former MSU football offensive guard Dave Sucura’s wife on the Football Youth Clinic See page 10



Police reports obtained by The State News involving alleged liquor law violations See pages 4-5

Go green and recycle this newspaper please! Thanks a bunch!


T he Senate Appropr iations Higher Education Subcommittee reported a budget recommendation for a requirement for university presidents and boards to receive all Title IX complaints of sexual misconduct, and also provide additional funding for campus safety and sexual assault prevention programs, according to Gongwer News Service. The budget details a 1 percent increase in funding while adding identical boilerplate language as the subcommittee requires additional transparency and website access to information on campus resources for safety. Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, offered the amendment that was adopted in the higher education budget that required all Title IX complaints to be provided to university presidents and board members, Gongwer reports. The subcommittee members called for the changes in their budget “necessary in showing the state takes the issue of campus sexual assault seriously,” according to Gongwer.

The budget puts an emphasis on campus sexual assault in response to ex-MSU and USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The budget recommended a total of $1.68 billion by the subcommittee along with $1.175 billion in General Fund and $385.6 from the School Aid Fund. This was $21.2 million more than Gov. Rick Snyder’s recommendation of $1.658 billion. The subcommittee added $14.3 million specifically for campus safety programs, sexual assault prevention programs and student mental health programs, 1 percent to the funding. As for community colleges’ budget, the subcommittee’s recommended $408.2 million, which is $3.2 million above Snyder’s proposal all coming from the School Aid Fund. This also includes a 1 percent increase in community college spending. Snyder proposed a total of $23.9 million in personal property tax excess payments would be spread between 24 of the 28 state’s community colleges instead of a base funding increase. On Apr il 5 , t he Mic higan House of Representatives found MSU’s policies were “ripe for abuse.”



Morgan McCaul poses for a portrait on April 10 at the Union. McCaul was a main speaker for the Take Back the Night event to bring awareness to sexual assault and all types of violence. PHOTO: SYLVIA JARRUS

VOL . 108 | NO. 27 CONTACT THE STATE NEWS (517) 295-1680

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Rachel Fradette



GENERAL MANAGER Marty Sturgeon ADVERTISING M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ADVERTISING MANAGERS Mia Wallace, Raquel Mishaan COLOPHON The State News design features Acta, a newspaper type system created by DSType Foundry. This week’s cover was designed by Daena Faustino.

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RELIGIOUS ‘Officers have DIRECTORY discretion on Stay up to date at:

All Saints Episcopal Church 800 Abbot Rd. (517) 351-7160 Sun. Worship: 8am, 10am, & 5am Sunday School: 10am Chabad House of MSU 540 Elizabeth St. (517) 214-0525 Prayer Services: Friday night services followed by traditional Shabbat dinner @ Chabad. Eastminster Presbyterian Church 1315 Abbot Rd. (517) 337-0893 Classes for All Ages: 9:30am Sun. Worship: 10:30am www.eastminster Greater Lansing Church of Christ 310 N. Hagadorn Rd. (Meet @ University Christian Church) (517) 898-3600 Sun: 8:45am Worship, 10am Bible Class Wed: 1pm, Small group bible study www.greaterlansing

The Islamic Society of Greater Lansing 920 S. Harrison Rd. (517) 351-4309 Friday Services: 12:15-12:45 & 1:45-2:15 For prayer times visit Martin Luther Chapel 444 Abbot Rd. (517) 332-0778 Sun: 9:30am & 7pm Wed: 9pm Mini-bus pick-up on campus (Fall/Spring) www.martinluther The People’s Church, multidenominational 200 W Grand River Ave. (517) 332-6074 Sunday Service: 10:30am with free lunch for students following worship. ThePeoples Riverview ChurchMSU Venue MSU Union Ballroom, 2nd Floor 49 Abbot Rd. (517) 694-3400 Sun. Worship: 6:30pm

St. John Catholic Church and Student Center 327 M.A.C Ave. (517) 337-9778 Sun: 8am, 10am, Noon, 5pm, 7pm M,W,F: 12:15pm T & Th: 9:15pm WELS Lutheran Campus Ministry 704 Abbot Rd. (517) 580-3744 Sat: 6:30pm Pentecostals of East Lansing 16262 Chandler Road (517) 337-7635 Service Times: Sundays: Prayer 10:30am, Service 11am Wednesdays: Prayer 6:30pm, Bible Study 7pm Denomination: Pentecostal

Hillel Jewish Student Center 360 Charles St. (517) 332-1916 Services: Friday night 6pm, dinner @ 7, September–April

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how they take enforcement’ of MIPs, fake ID laws, ELPD says

In addition to expecting regular police checkups in East Lansing’s liquor establishments, ELPD increases its public presence on days with East Lansing Police Department has no set pro- increased alcohol consumption, such as holidays tocol for how and when liquor laws are enforced and home football games. When police enter a liquor establishment for — instead it is up to the officer. Any patron at an East Lansing liquor establishment can expect random liquor enforcement, any patron inside random police checks to ensure public safety. the bar could be asked to present a valid ID. “I just kind of chill with my friends that are This includes the possibility of a police officer asking any bar patron to provide identification obviously over 21 so that hopefully they wouldn’t in an attempt to deter under age drinkers from come near me,” M., a sophomore at MSU whose frequenting liquor establishments, according initial has been given for privacy reasons, said. M. said she frequently attends bars and has to ELPD. The State News, through a Freedom of Infor- been in the presence of a police walkthrough. M., even as a 20-year-old, has never been mation Act request, acquired 13 police reports, all of which are from investigations regarding stopped when attempting to enter an East Lansing liquor establishment. She is almost a year liquor infractions at East Lansing bars. The State News requested all records and away from her 21st birthday. “I think I go to the bars because it’s the cool reports regarding bar walkthroughs/raids for all East Lansing bars frequented by MSU stu- thing to do. All my older friends go. If I wanted to hang out with any of my friends that are olddents since Jan. 1, 2016. Of the 10 bars in East Lansing for which The er I have to go to the bars, that’s the only thing State News requested information, six were the older kids do. It makes you seem cool if an included in the report. The Landshark had six underage can go,” M. said. M. said she uses a real ID, given to her by an reports filed for liquor infraction, all in 2016. The Riv and FieldHouse had two infractions filed of-age friend. Using real IDs which look like the over the two-year period. Harper’s Restaurant underage student is a common tactic to “trick” a bouncer into thinking they are in fact of age. “There is a misnomer out there that being Other false IDs can be drunk and disorderly is against the law. ordered off the interTo meet that disorderly threshold, you’ve net and alter the indigot a very vast array of disorderly conduct vidual’s birthday to violations.” make them appear of legal age. Steve Gonzalez This practice is conELPD Deputy Chief firmed from a police report on Feb. 23, in and Brew Pub, Lou and Harry’s Bar/Grill and reference to an alleged liquor law violation by FieldHouse on 213 Ann St. The Tin Can each had one infraction. The report details a proactive check by forInfractions against the liquor establishments include allegedly over-serving a patron, allow- mer liquor liaison officer Tim Smith, who had ing minors into the bar with a fake ID, serving anonymous complaints of minors being served. alcohol after 2:30 a.m. and allowing patrons During the check, the first two patrons questioned were found to be under-age. inside the bar with an under-21 ID. FieldHouse General Manager Mike Weinrich said his staff supports the Responsible HospiLIQUOR LAWS “The reasons we would patrol through a bar tality Council, or RHC. The council is a group are very wide,” Lt. Chad Connelly of ELPD said. of local restaurant owners that promotes “ “I️t can be everything from making sure liquor the responsible promotion and service of alcoestablishments are in compliance with some of hol to the East Lansing community,” according the laws and rules that regulate what their oper- to its website. Weinrich also acknowledged that bar searches ating. Other parts of it would be to make sure that there are not patrons being over-served, were for public safety. The liquor liaison position is rotational, with under-aged drinkers, fights, any type of thing that could be a safety concern for those peo- officers being assigned to the post for three to ple who are frequenting those establishments. five years. The current liquor liaison is officer There’s really no set protocol for when we do Jeffery Spitz. “As law enforcement officers, we have the right it or how we do it. We’ll walk through bars on a Monday night just like we will on a Friday or to make sure the people that are frequenting liquor establishments are of age,” Connelly said. a Saturday night.” BY PETER ATKINS




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McKenna Ross Managing editor

Two men sit in Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub on Feb. 6 at 131 Albert Ave, East Lansing. A bouncer at Harper’s reportedly intended to let in an individual with an under-21 ID in 2017, according to documents obtained by The State News through a Freedom of Information Act request. Management from Harper’s and Lou and Harry’s did not respond to request for comment by the time of publication. PHOTO: SYLVIA JARRUS

“So if you do see someone who appears to be underage, you do have the right to ask them for ID, which hopefully they produce.”


A number of things can happen once a police officer determines an MIP at a liquor establishment. It could result in anything from a warning to an arrest — officers hold discretion in their policing, Connelly said. “If they are deemed to be underage, then you have a couple different issues. One, you have a minor in possession issue, two, you could have a minor in a liquor establishment issue,” he said. “Now officers have discretion on how they take enforcement. Now that could be a verbal warning, I️t could be a citation, all the way up to arrest depending on what the infraction is.” A police report from Sept. 15, 2016, details an alleged liquor infraction against The Riv for over-serving a patron during a Thursday Burgerama, or Rama. The man had a blood alcohol content of o.229 and was found during the random check holding onto a pillar, then falling down to the ground. When asked by police how much he had consumed a drink, the man stated he had been served two pitchers of beer, according to the report. The report states the man repeatedly told the police he was not drunk. When asked to recite the alphabet, the report said “his performance was dreadful.” “His recital bore no resemblance to the actual alphabet, and it was impossible to keep track of the errors he made. Officer Horst noted this error-laden attempt to state the alphabet, and (name redacted) went on a minutes long effort to have Officer Horst recite the alphabet, claiming Horst did not know how to do this,” the report stated. The individual, with effort from bar staff and police, was sent home in a taxi. The bar manager paid the fare, according to the report. Brian Leyrer, the general manager at The Riv, said management had the liquor liaison speak to his staff. “Jeff (Spitz) came in to meet with our door guys, I asked him in,” Leyrer said. The individual was not cited for drunk and disorderly conduct violations. The bar, however, was in the report for allegedly over-serving a patron and for allowing a visibly intoxicated person in the bar, ELPD Deputy Chief Steve

Gonzalez said. “Simply being intoxicated at a 0.229 like this individual was is not against the law. There is a misnomer out there that being drunk and disorderly is against the law. To meet that disorderly threshold, we’ve got a very vast array of disorderly conduct violations,” Gonzalez said. Leyrer said The Riv, as part of RHC in East Lansing, passed its most recent sting on March 24. “Some bars are notoriously known for letting in minors, we’re hopefully not one of those bars anymore,” Leyrer said. Presenting false ID to either a liquor establishment employee or a police officer is considered disorderly conduct in East Lansing and could result in the immediate arrest of the individual, Connelly said. A police report from Feb. 10, 2017, details an alleged incident at FieldHouse with multiple minors in possession at the bar from several trips. The first occurred on Feb. 2, and a woman was arrested immediately after presenting a false Illinois ID at the door. On Feb. 10, sensing a trend, four police officers went back for more random checks, according to the report. A 20-year-old woman was questioned and it was determined she had used a fake New York ID to enter the bar. After an initial denial, she was deemed cooperative, received a citation and was driven home by a police officer. The third incident from the report occurred after officers confronted the bar management and were escorted to the door. While at the door, two MIPs, one with a fake Ohio ID and the other with a fake Michigan ID, allegedly attempted to enter the bar. The man with the Ohio ID fled on foot, while the man with the fake Michigan ID was apprehended and arrested for MIP with a blood-alcohol level of 0.12. In a police report from Dec. 10, 2016, The Tin Can was subject to a random liquor enforcement sting. A 20-year-old police cadet was successful in using her under-21 ID to enter the bar. The report said she was served a beer, and immediately told her superior, the Liquor Liaison Officer. The bartender was given a citation for providing alcohol to a minor — not the bouncer who let the cadet inside. When the officers followed up with the establishment, ownership informed police the bouncer had let the undercover cadet inside was fired, according to the report.

Number of reports per bar The Tin Can


Lou and Harry's Bar/Grill

1 1

Harper's Restraunt and Brew Pub




The Riv

2 Tin Can Manager Dave Sell said it had a good relationship with ELPD and is part of RHC. Sell wants to prevent problems with underage drinking. “We don’t play any cat and mouse games. The underage person uses their true age ID,” Gonzalez said of undercover operations. “If the person is turned away at the door or not sold any alcohol, good, they leave.” Landshark Bar and Grill at 101 E. Grand River Avenue had the most infractions during the two-year span, with six police reports citing the liquor establishment as a suspect between Jan. 31, 2016 to Aug. 2, 2016. No other liquor citations for the bar are reported after this period in 2016. Management at Landshark did not respond to a request to comment by the time of publication. According to the report a police report from Jan. 31, 2016, around 3:30 a.m. an officer observed seven to 10 individuals walking into Landshark, many of whom appeared to work at the establishment. When the officer entered the establishment, he observed a bartender providing glasses of beer to two persons sitting at the bar with no monetary transaction. The officer did not observe any employees cleaning the bar, which they had claimed to do after the officer made initial contact, the report said. Landshark was reported because it had allegedly broken Michigan Liquor Control Commission T H U RS DAY, AP RI L 1 2, 2 01 8


rules, including furnishing and consuming alcohol between 2:30 and 7 a.m., selling liquor for less than wholesale cost and occupying the bar between 2:30 and 7 a.m. The report was turned over to the MLCC for issuance of charges for illegal bar activities, according to the report. Other reports from Landshark allege individuals were let in with false IDs. Two of the reports, on Feb. 25, 2016 and Feb. 27, 2016, have exactly the same officer observations word for word. Each walkthrough had three officers and the amount of arrests and citations were redacted. “A very simple data pull can tell you whether a liquor establishment is adding a bunch of problems... We can pull data out of our record management system and say, ‘Hey, is this establishment having a problem?’” Gonzalez said. “We pull all the reports for the citations that have been taken out of our management system and say, ‘Oh no, there’s no problem here’ or, ‘Oh yeah, absolutely, look at all these things.” Under-aged drinking at liquor establishments has been a problem since the implementation of Michigan’s 21 drinking age in 1978, and East Lansing liquor establishments will be tackling this issue for years to come. “We have rules set for reasons, the state legislature sets those rules law enforcement doesn’t,” Connelly said. “Our job is to make sure they are executed and that it’s done probably. I️t really boils down to a safety issue.” STATE N E WS .CO M



Souichi Terada City editor

East Lansing Buzz helps residents navigate downtown development BY MAXWELL EVANS MEVANS@STATENEWS.COM

Construction workers supervise the demolition of the blighted building on Oct. 7, 2017, at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road. STATE NEWS FILES PHOTO

A recent rash of redevelopments might frustrate East Lansing residents for the foreseeable future, but the city is aiming to make things a little easier by rolling out a resource to limit the confusion. East Lansing Buzz is a website and informational program meant to guide residents through a busy redevelopment period. The program revolves around three main projects: Park District, The Hub and Center City. It isn’t as if the city’s growth will come easily — all three of the projects straddle Grand River Avenue, East Lansing’s main drag. While the projects will continue to complicate the downtown area until they are completed, the city has brought some fun to the ordeal with Find the Bee activities. There are two separate bees to find. The first is a photo of the bee mascot which is hung up weekly in a local restaurant — or three, as was the case last week. The location is revealed every Monday on the Downtown East Lansing Facebook page, and residents can post a picture with the bee on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #BeeDowntownEL to be entered into a drawing. The winner will get a $100 gift card to the restaurant where they took the picture. “If this is a successful campaign, we are looking to consider extending it through the summer months,” Community Development and Engagement Manager Amy Schusler-Schmitt said. “We have a lot of support from the downtown restaurants for this.” The second bee to find is on a special parking meter bag. The city will put the bag on various meters on a random day every week, and any meter with the bag on it means free parking from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. for anyone who claims it. The East Lansing Buzz program also provides information for businesses most likely to be impacted by the construction. A construction guide for businesses offers tips on how to avoid any potential loss of customers as a result of the redevelopment and stay updated on construction efforts. The city is also offering a discount on parking validation to downtown businesses. The city will hand out up to $100 per month in parking validation vouchers for each business adjacent to construction efforts, Schusler-Schmitt said.

The program, which has seen approximately $33,000 spent on marketing and parking initiatives so far, has satisfied city officials in terms of resident participation. There have been nearly 400,000 impressions on the city social media accounts about East Lansing Buzz, SchuslerSchmitt said. Yet the city still would be happy to see even more, Community and Economic Development Administrator Thomas Fehrenbach said. “It would always be better to have more, because it really is a regular channel of information that we’re sending out,” Fehrenbach said. Councilmember Shanna Draheim lauded the collaboration of city officials, developers and residents on the website and informational programs. “This is a great project — downtown is great, and we really want it to be successful and celebrate those successes that get us through the tough construction period,” Draheim said. “I think it’s fantastic.” Work has begun on the second story of the Center City project, and concrete is expected to poured into place as soon as weather allows, according to East Lansing Buzz. Eastbound Albert Avenue has been closed to all traffic. Construction on Center City is scheduled to finish up early next year, with the whole project expected to wrap up in August 2019. Construction of the Hub will affect traffic around Cedar Village for quite a while. Excavation at the Hub project site has already begun. As a result, Cedar Street has been closed at Grand River Avenue, as well as the easternmost lane of northbound Bogue at Grand River. These closures are scheduled to be in place until June 2019. The Park District plan is current and former owners did not reach an agreement about a Michigan Business Tax credit which had been previously awarded to the owner of the old buildings on the property. Those buildings have since been demolished. This lack of agreement forced the previously approved development plan to undergo revisions; revised plans have yet to be unveiled. “We’re still waiting for (the developers) to provide a formal submission to us,” East Lansing Director of Planning, Building and Development Tim Dempsey said. “We know that they’ve been working on some concepts, but we haven’t had any formal application yet.”

A rendering of the proposed apartment building at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Bogue Street. COURTESY OF THE CITY OF EAST LANSING 6


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Madison O’Connor Campus editor

Professional leadership at The State News to change in upcoming months BY CLAIRE MOORE CMOORE@STATENEWS.COM

Two leadership roles at The State News will change in 2018, and both positions are open to applications from the public. The student-led newspaper will see the departure of newsroom adviser Omar Sofradzija at the end of the spring semester. Later, in December 2018, general manager Martha Sturgeon will retire. Sofradzija, who is also a professor within the School of Journalism at MSU, reflected on his experiences with The State News. As an editorial adviser to The State News, Sofradzija said he’s there to offer professional advice to students. “Essentially, I’m a professional residence at The State News,” Sofradzija said. “What I mean by that is, I don’t tell people what to do and I don’t make decisions on what should get done. I’m here as a reference, I’m here as a sounding board, I’m here to offer advice, I’m here to critique their work. I’m here to help them determine their goals, and then help them reach their goals.” Part of the process also allows students to make decisions regarding what news products they publish, Sofradzija said. “It’s their newspaper and their news product and the agenda that they set,” Sofradzija said.

State News Editorial Adviser Omar Sofradzija works in his office on April 11. Sofradzija will leave his position at the end of the semester. PHOTO: NIC ANTAYA

“I’m just here to help them make it happen.” Sofradzija was once a journalism student who worked at his own college newspaper in Illinois. He said working with students, like he once was,

is a gratifying process. “It’s rewarding to see them facing the same sort of challenges I had back then and seeing them overcome those challenges in unique and

important ways that are really going to help them be the sort of people they want to be going forward,” Sofradzija said. Sofradzija said his admiration for journalism was not the only reason why working at The State News was rewarding for him. “As much as I love and appreciate journalism, it’s less about the content and more about the people here and our staff using this opportunity to figure out who they are and where they belong and how to tap into their purpose in life,” Sofradzija said. “Whether they’ve gone on to journalism or not, I’m always glad to see people discovering who they are and then finding where they belong in the greater world, and to me that’s the biggest reward of The State News.” Sofradzija said seeing the process of students trying to obtain what they want in a future career makes him appreciate the time he’s had with The State News even more. “My departure here is bittersweet in that regard,” Sofradzija said. “I’m excited about what comes next, but I’m always going to appreciate and value and even miss this place.” Staff members at The State News said Sofradzija is a reliable adviser. “Omar will be sincerely missed by the staff here,” Staff Representative Marie Weidmayer said. “He was always a great person to bounce ideas off and get life advice from.”

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Madison O’Connor Campus editor

Reclaim MSU aims to work with board in search of new president BY RILEY MURDOCK RMURDOCK@STATENEWS.COM

Student group Reclaim MSU’s quest for community involvement in selecting MSU’s next president faces several hurdles — but the group is diligently taking steps forward. The university’s bylaws do not extensively detail the selection process for MSU’s president, but do leave the choice in the hands of the Board of Trustees. On paper, there is plenty of room for flexibility as to how the process is run. But as the bylaws are written, the decision itself is made by the board and no one else. Reclaim MSU is a group of students, staff, faculty and alumni “working for broad institutional & cultural change at MSU,” according to the group’s website. Former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon resigned in January after facing mounting backlash in response to the university’s handling of ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse. Interim President John Engler was officially appointed and saw his first day on the job Feb. 1, a decision which led MSU faculty to vote no confidence in the Board of Trustees, claiming their suggestions were disregarded by the board. “Engler was appointed by the board kind of autonomously and actively despite wishes of the Faculty Senate,” comparative culture and politics senior and Reclaim MSU coordinator Samuel Klahn said. “President Simon actually was just appointed by the board, they didn’t go through a firm or through a large vetting process that was public.” Reclaim MSU’s goals are to tweak this process to create more accountability. The plan has two steps: first, to amend the university’s bylaws to add four positions to the Board of Trustees — one undergraduate student, one graduate student and two faculty members — and to later do the same with the Michigan Constitution. Klahn said Reclaim MSU has asked the board to consider the proposal for changes to the bylaws at its April 13 meeting. Klahn said the board responded to Reclaim MSU’s request by sending an agenda for the Board of Trustees meeting. ASMSU has proposed a similar plan to amend the Michigan Constitution to reserve one voting position on the Board of Trustees for a student.

Klahn said a major hurdle is that the board is dictated by the Michigan Constitution, and changes to the bylaws might not be seen as germane until the constitution is also amended, which would be a much longer process. He said individuals on the board have told him the constitution should be amended first, since the structure of the board is dictated by it. It’s also somewhat unconventional to directly ask to bring changes in front of the board, Klahn said. It’s still possible, if the board chooses to consider the changes, that action could be taken at the same meeting, he said. “I still remain quite hopeful ... that they’ll see the importance of a kind of going away from the status quo, and not using convention in the playbook when we’re kind such turbulent times and we really need to galvanize,” Klahn said. Following a meeting with ASMSU, Engler told The State News there’s no timeline currently set for the presidential search. “The trustees, that’s their process,” Engler said. “My job is to get as many problems fixed as I can so this campus is in perfect shape for the next president.” While he will not play an active role in the process, Engler said the board has asked him to identify past successful presidential searches. “The eight elected trustees are the ones who will take the lead, and constitutionally it’s their duty to do so,” Engler said. “What I can do is encourage them to be open, to be transparent, to be inclusive in that process. And they’re responding to that. I mean, they recognize that it’s a challenging time right now and they’re part of, sort of, the debate, we’ll call it, on campus.” On April 2, the Board of Trustees announced it would hire an adviser as a guide for the presidential search. “Our goal in selecting an adviser is to identify someone with deep experience and stature in public higher education leadership who can ensure student, faculty, staff and stakeholder input are a key part of the search effort,” according to a statement from the board. Engler said recently retired or retiring university presidents are being considered as potential candidates for an adviser to the board during the process. “So I think their thinking is that, in order to run a transparent, inclusive process, they want to

Protesters from Reclaim MSU hold signs during the Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 16 at the Hannah Administration Building. PHOTO: NIC ANTAYA

get a seasoned education leader that’s respected and have that person here helping them on campus, and that person will be interfacing with a lot of the different campus constituencies,” Engler said. “That’s how they’re thinking about going about this. And they’ll make an announcement when they’re ready to do so.” Klahn said he and others believe outside help will restore trust in the search process. Going the “safe route” won’t be enough, he said — the administration needs to trust students and faculty with a voice in the process before the community can trust them. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to really matter what they would do, just because that trust is gone,” Klahn said. “Even if they move forward well, or if they move forward perfectly, I think the solution to reclaim trust is to give trust.” To further their goal of amending the constitution, Reclaim MSU is working on drafting policy

that could end up in the legislature, Klahn said. “We do have some language that’s been suggested by more than capable and more than competent policy writers on our team, and we understand that it might be easier to approach without specific wordage and more as a lobbyist, to be able to allow the state officials that be to fill in the language in a way that makes them more comfortable,” Klahn said. Though institutional change is its endgame, Reclaim MSU’s immediate goal is to get language on the board’s agenda, Klahn said. MSU Communications and Brand Strategy, or CABS, replied to a request for comment by sending the recent statement about the board’s desire for a search adviser. “The presidential search is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees,” according to an email from MSU CABS. “More information will be shared as these decisions are made.”

Michigan State University Chapter of congratulates the 2018 initiates, who will be inducted into the Society at a ceremony being held in their honor on Saturday, April 14th.

Undergraduate Initiates Luke Beauchamp Kelly Bonekamp Lauren Clarke Colin Corcoran Austin Fillmore Danielle Fortin Lindsay Guare Jared Heinze Sarah Horton Ryan Matusik Timothy Ohtake Lillian Rawlings Sierra Richards Anton Schlegel Marlee Talbot Sydney Taylor Madelyn Wheelock

Christopher Yatooma Anna Backman Victoria Gan Alexander Johnson Declan McClintock Hannatu Sadiq Emma Treiber Jingyi Yao Graduate Initiates Georgios Arseniou Scott Askew Sherry Boroto Heather Bose Matthew Brown Jeremy Burke Kaleigh Cammenga Mark Dixon Kelly Fitzpatrick

Molly Friederichs Emily Gardner Katherine Habrel Stephanie Halbert Brandon Hughes Edward Jacobs Kylie Lannen Daniel Lipian Joshua McCune Anna Miller Terry Morrow Kaitlin Nye Jeffrey Olenick Krystopher Perry Ryan Ploch Jeanette Ricci Heather Ruttkofsky Olivia Schmidt Samantha Shebib

Mandy Sly Jessica Sprick Allan Taylor Ryan Timpany Kayleigh Ward Earl Whittemore Faculty, Administration, Professional Staff, Alumni Initiates Karl Gude Deborah Johnson Rubén Martinez Robin Miller

Founded in 1897, the primary objective of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the recognition and encouragement of superior scholarship in all academic disciplines. The Society believes that by recognizing and honoring those persons of good character, who have excelled in scholarship, that others will be stimulated to similar goals of excellence.



THURSDAY, APRI L 1 2 , 2 01 8

Comparative cultures and politics senior Dan Martel holds a sign at the Reclaim MSU Rally at the Hannah Administration Building on March 23. PHOTO: ANNIE BARKER


Madison O’Connor Campus editor

Title IX lawsuit alleges officials discouraged reporting rape case October 2015 Alleged victim is admitted to the Sparrow Hospital outpatient psychiatric day-program for intensive psychiatric treatment

April 12, 2015 Alleged incident takes place

April 20, 2015 Alleged victim goes to MSU Counseling Center BY STAFF REPORTS FEEDBACK@STATENEWS.COM

Editor’s Note: This article contains graphic content. Three former men’s basketball players allegedly raped a woman after the team’s Final Four run in 2015, according to a federal lawsuit filed April 9. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan Southern Division, alleges three unnamed players — named John Doe 1, John Doe 2 and John Doe 3 in the lawsuit — took an 18-year-old female journalism freshman home from Harper’s between the evening of April 11, 2015, and the morning of April 12 and raped her. The alleged victim and her roommate — Jane Roe 1 — went to Harper’s on the evening of April 11. Shortly after midnight on April 12, members of the men’s basketball team arrived at Harper’s, including JD1, JD2 and JD3. The team returned back to East Lansing earlier in the week after losing to Duke in the 2015 Final Four. At Harper’s, JD1 offered the alleged victim a drink, which she accepted, and then offered the alleged victim to meet the “other guys” on the team, which she also accepted. One of the players on the team then offered the alleged victim to come to the player’s party, and allegedly lied and said JR1 was already on the way to the party. According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim was having a hard time holding her drink even though she did not have much to drink at that point in time. The alleged victim accepted a ride from JD1 and JD2 back to JD2’s off-campus apartment, and when they arrived, realized there was no party as few people were present. The alleged victim at this point was extremely hungry and thirsty, and realized JR1 was not in the apartment as she was told by members of the team. She also at this time was “discombobulated” and “tried to send a phone text, but she could not control her thumbs to formulate a text.” JD1 then took the alleged victim into a bedroom and told her “you are mine for the night.” This made the alleged victim uncomfortable as she had no romantic or physical interest in any of the people present at the apartment. The alleged victim was able to make her way back to the living room, where she tried to load a song onto a laptop that was playing music, but could not because she could not use her hands properly. She then realized something was wrong and she might have been drugged. JD2 then asked the alleged victim if she would like to see some of his basketball memorabilia. The alleged victim agreed and asked for water, as she was incredibly thirsty. The alleged victim was given water as JD2 took her into his bedroom to see his basketball memorabilia. While the alleged victim was drinking the water, the lights were turned off and she was thrown face down on the bed and held so she could not move, while JD2 raped her. The alleged victim was crying, could not

Fall 2015 Alleged victim withdraws from school in fall semester

move or speak and did not consent to the sexual activity. As soon as JD2 was done, JD1 and JD3 came in and held the alleged victim down, taking turns raping her, according to the lawsuit. The alleged victim does not remember anything else until a few hours later when she woke up on the couch of JD2’s apartment. She then called for a taxi and went back to her dorm room at Brody Hall. When the alleged victim saw JR1, she found out JR1 did not know about the party and that JR1 was searching for her but could not find her. At this point in time, the alleged victim was distraught, traumatized and crying. She then called another friend who lived in Brody, named Jane Roe 2 in the lawsuit. On April 20, 2015, JR2 took the alleged victim to MSU’s Counseling Center, or MSUCC, where the alleged victim reported the rape to a counselor and completed an initial intake and assessment. However, after the alleged victim disclosed the three alleged rapists were from the men’s basketball team, the counselor announced she needed another person in the room. Allegedly, the counselor’s demeanor completely changed. Another MSUCC staff member was brought into the room and the alleged victim was not made aware why the staff member was brought in. The MSUCC staff told the alleged victim her only options were to file a police report or deal with the aftermath on her own. The staff then made it clear to the alleged victim if she chose to notify the police, she would be facing a battle that would “create anxiety and unwanted media attention and publicity as had happened in the past with other female students who were sexually assaulted by wellknown athletes,” according to the lawsuit. This caused the alleged victim to be so frightened, she decided not to report the rapes. The MSUCC staff allegedly did not advise the alleged victim to seek STD or pregnancy testing, physical exam or medical treatment. The staff also did not notify the alleged victim her option to report the rapes to the Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE, nor did they notify her of her Title IX rights, protections and accommodations. The MSUCC staff, however, referred the alleged victim to the MSU Sexual Assault Program, or SAP. Because of the discouragement by the staff, the alleged victim did not seek SAP assistance until 10 months later. Although the former men’s basketball players who allegedly committed the rape did not live in Brody, the alleged victim would often see one or all of them at the Brody Dining Hall, which would cause panic and flashbacks to that night, along with fear every day she would see the three players. The alleged victim was also not made aware of her right to have a no-contact order put in place, which would have kept the three players out of her residence hall. In October 2015, the alleged victim was admitted to the Sparrow Hospital outpatient psychiatric day-program for intensive psychiatric treat-

January 2016 Alleged victim returns for spring semester, changes majors

February 2016 Alleged victim begins treatment with private psychiatric clinic after stopping treatment at SAP

ment after becoming traumatized, depressed and withdrawn. She eventually was forced to withdraw for the rest of the fall 2015 semester because of her mental condition. She returned to classes for the spring 2016 semester in January 2016. She also changed her major. The alleged victim received a refund of her tuition money after she explained the situation to university officials. According to the lawsuit, this traumatized the alleged victim again. SAP also failed to notify Plaintiff about the OIE or the alleged victim’s Title IX rights, protections and accommodations, even though it’s part of their protocol. The alleged victim began treatment sessions

T H U RS DAY, AP RI L 1 2 , 2 01 8

at SAP in February 2016, but did not feel comfortable about the limited session or therapist. She then began treatment with a private psychiatric clinic. Since the alleged rapes, the alleged victim has been prescribed multiple medications to help with her depression, anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia. The lawsuit was filed by Jane Doe and lists defendants MSU and “Unidentified Roes,” who are described as employees or counselors of the MSU Counseling Center and “acting as agents of the Defendant.” MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant declined to comment on the lawsuit.

@ T H E S N E WS




Jonathan LeBlanc Sports editor

Annual football youth clinic brings players, fans together


1 Cushions for gymnasts 5 Guard’s shout 9 Rectangular Apple 13 Tons 14 Student’s repetitive cry with a raised hand 15 Sports page news 16 Gift-wrapping need 18 Country singer Steve 19 Rowdy crowds 20 “Mr. November,” for Derek Jeter, e.g. 22 Put pen to paper 24 Rep.’s campaign rival 25 Title for a knight 26 Home for a pride 28 Genesis paradise 30 Exile island for Napoleon 31 Dance for which “it takes two” 33 JPEG relative 36 Quotable boxer 37 Hipster 39 Duffer’s dream 40 Air circulator 41 Capital of Yemen 42 Large First Nations tribe 43 “__ does it!” 45 Meddling type of “driver” who’s not actually driving

48 “Never heard of them” 49 Golf great Ernie 51 “Don’t sweat it!” 52 “Is that really your opinion?” 54 Not wavering in the least 55 TV host Lake 56 Garment fittingly represented by this puzzle’s circles 61 Signed in pen 62 Leisurely gait 63 Doing nothing 64 Bird’s snack 65 Drinks slowly 66 Dragged to court


1 Apple computer 2 Every bit 3 Little piggy 4 Staying power 5 Place of rapid growth 6 Light-bulb moments 7 Prune, as a branch 8 Unifying idea 9 Aggressive poker table words 10 Outdoor lot for cars 11 “Inferiority complex” coiner Alfred 12 Doe or stag 15 Half a score

17 Goes bad 21 Last Greek letter 22 “O Pioneers!” author Cather 23 “Blurred Lines” singer 24 Paternity test sites 26 One of many that fall in the fall 27 School near Windsor 29 Tiny speck 32 Final Four org. 34 Mountaineer’s tool 35 Thirds of a yard 37 Civil War side: Abbr. 38 Hall’s pop music partner 42 Narnia creator 44 Tooted one’s horn 46 Salad oil bottles 47 Deborah of “The King and I” 48 Complain with self-pity 50 Ransacks 52 “Divergent” films heroine 53 Baby goat 54 “Enough!” 57 School in the smallest U.S. state 58 End of a school address 59 Malt beverage 60 Color of most pomegranate seeds

3.89" x 1.1" Level: 1




Complete the grid so each row, column and 3-by-3 box (in bold borders) contains every digit, 1 to 9. For strategies on how to solve Sudoku, visit www. SOLUTION TO MONDAY’S PUZZLE

Get the solutions at statenews. com/ puzzles


© 2017 The Mepham Group. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. All rights reserved.

Grand Ledge resident Ashton Delaney, 9, watches senior running back LJ Scott (3) sign his football during the youth clinic on April 7 at Duffy Daugherty Football Building. PHOTO: SYLVIA JARRUS BY KARA KEATING KKEATING@STATENEWS.COM

Players were scattered throughout the Duffy Daugherty Building before their annual Green-White spring game on April 7 to help demonstrate different football drills at the annual football youth clinic. Approximately 700 kids interacted with their favorite players at each station with a designated time of 12 minutes and a chance to get pictures with the team after. Junior safety David Dowell supports the event every year, which brings back old memories of doing similar events in his hometown of North Ridgeville, Ohio. “It’s always fun and rewarding giving back to the community, giving back to kids,” Dowell said. “When I was this young, I would look up to guys like me and stuff like that. It’s definitely rewarding and gratifying to be able to do this every year. Every year it gets more special.” MSU alumnus Terry Allen made his first-ever trip to the youth clinic with his two children to give them an experience he never had. It was also a chance to come back to campus and see all the changes that have been made to the university since he graduated and to go onto the practice field, which he has never been on before. For him, this new experience brings a different type of emotion. “I’m kind of jealous of the kids getting to play,” Allen, a graduate of the class of 2000, said. “Coming here is kind of neat, to be back on campus and see how it’s changed. I think it’s cool to take my kids here and do things with them I never got to do.” Ypsilanti native Nathan Bentley even received a highfive from head coach Mark Dantonio in the middle of one of the sessions. “It was really nice,” Bentley said. “He’s my favorite out of all of them.” Not only did Bentley meet his favorite Spartan football player, junior quarterback Brian Lewerke, the 11-yearold picked his favorite drill to do throughout the clinic. “Probably the defensive part,” Bentley said. “We were tackling them and doing skills.” Senior tight end Matt Sokol experienced his fifth youth clinic of his Spartan career. He said he never gets tired of seeing the kids doing different types of dances to celebrate their touchdowns and watching the young players try to tackle his fellow teammate, senior running back LJ Scott. 10


“It’s just an honor,” Sokol said. “It’s honor to be in that position and it’s a privilege. It just makes you appreciate it, when you were younger and looking up to college football players.” To keep it safe and spread out, the kids were split up by their age groups, ranging from ages eight to 12 years old. Eight-year-old Myra VanWashenova said she enjoyed her day running around the practice field and learning new things from a favorite Spartan of hers. VanWashenova spent the day with her cousin, redshirt freshman linebacker Brent Mossburg, which was her favorite part of the day. “(The best part was) playing with my cousin,” VanWashenova said. “Doing all the drills, to run backwards and sideways and to catch the ball.” Collin Francis, a 12-year-old native from Davison, said Lewerke is his favorite Spartan. He idolizes him as a quarterback since he plays the same position as well. “My favorite part was probably the interception drill, where you caught the interception and ran for the touchdown,” Francis said. Francis brought his friend and fellow Spartan fan, 12-year-old Kai Lyle, along to the camp. Lyle said he enjoyed the running back drill since that is the position he plays along with his fellow teammate. “We basically had to jump and do two spin moves and run through,” Lyle said. Lyle said his number one dream is to hopefully come to MSU and be able to play in Spartan Stadium, where he can wear the green and white jersey on the field to represent the team he loves. “Because they’re the best team,” Lyle said. “They’re amazing. They have the best players. They know the best drills.” Emily Sucura came to the youth clinic after living in East Lansing for a few years with her husband and former Spartan offensive guard Dave Sucura. She said she loves bringing her children to the event and started bringing them when they were as young as two or three years old. From there, she has seen an increase in the program. “It’s one of my favorite events ever. I like this more than the games,” Sucura said. “For the kids to get the hands on interaction and be with the players and meet the players — and coach Dantonio speaks. We just love it.” Sports editor Jonathan LeBlanc contributed reporting to this article.

T H U RS DAY, A PR IL 1 2 , 2 01 8


Jonathan LeBlanc Sports editor

Senior Lea Foerster’s humility, faith guides her in successful MSU career

Senior outfielder Lea Foerster (1) high fives teammates before the home opener game against Western on March 28, 2018 at Secchia Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Broncos, 6-1. PHOTO: SYLVIA JARRUS BY CHASE MICHAELSON CMICHAELSON@STATENEWS.COM

Senior center fielder Lea Foerster said she knew from the time she was little she wanted to don the green and white. She didn’t always dream of playing her trade at Secchia Softball Stadium, however. The floors at Jenison Field House and the Breslin Center at points seemed more likely destinations for the Portage, Michigan native. “I was a gymnast when I was younger, and I wanted to be a Spartan gymnast,” she said. “Then I loved basketball, I thought I was going to come here and play basketball, then softball was a game I really fell in love with.” When coach Jacquie Joseph offered her a scholarship to come play at MSU, Foerster said she was overjoyed. “There was no other school I wanted to come to,” she said. “Coach J could’ve offered me a Coke and I would have come here. I’m being serious. I just wanted her to say yes, you can come. I just needed permission.” With the help of Joseph and the staff, Foerster has flourished. She is one of the most accomplished Spartan softball players in program history. She has the most doubles and runs in school history, is second all-time in batting average and has earned multiple All-American and Academic All-American honors. Joseph said she is happy she offered more than the requisite Coca Cola to secure Foerster’s services. “There are no accolades that I could give to do her justice, that’s how great of a player she is. And that’s what a great person she is,” she said. “That kid has done absolutely everything for four years, on and off the field. She’s a great, great Spartan. I’m just blessed to be able to coach her. I’d take 10 more just like her.” But when Foerster came to MSU in fall 2014, she discovered something else. During October of her freshman season, she became a Christian, and she said it drives her in everything she does both on and off the softball field. “Softball was a great opportunity to come to college and begin a relationship with Christ, and help my teammates do the same thing,” she said. “We’re more than a stat, we’re more than a win-loss record. It’s more about how can

you help other people and influence people that are around you.” As part of her senior celebrations, Foerster was asked to write a letter to her younger self. She closed the letter with a verse from Ephesians. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Senior pitcher Bridgette Rainey, who Foerster calls one of her best friends on the team, cited her humility as her greatest quality. “What makes Lea so special is that she is a humble servant. Her humility is top-of-the-line,” she said. “You would have no idea that she was an All-American last year, you would have no idea that she’s our biggest leader on the field. You would just have no idea if you were just talking to her. I think that’s what makes her so special. As awesome as a softball player she is, she works hard to serve everyone else around her, and make them better, too.” Foerster is hitting .358 with 14 runs batted in, to accompany her sterling .970 fielding percentage. She hit her sixth home run of the season April 8 against Minnesota, taking a fastball and sending it over the right field fence. Joseph attributes Foerster’s play to one thing: work ethic. “She puts in more extra work than any player I’ve ever had,” Joseph said. “Not practice, extra work. You want to be a great player, she’s got the template for being good.” Sophomore first baseman Kelcey Carrasco talked about Foerster’s softer side, and said they have to hug each other every day. “That’s our little thing. She knows that we can’t go down to the locker room without hugging each other,” Carrasco said. Foerster said she doesn’t think of herself as an All-American, or even anything more than just the Spartan center fielder. “I don’t view myself any higher than anyone else. I come to practice every day to figure out the best way to accomplish the mission,” she said. “I love my teammates, I’m going to do whatever it takes to help serve them and meet whatever needs they have. We have one goal and that’s to win softball games, so I’m going to do what I can to help us accomplish that and have a lot of fun in the process.”

Then-junior outfielder Lea Foerster (1) slides onto second base during a game against Western Michigan University on March 29, 2017 at Secchia Stadium. STATE NEWS FILE PHOTO

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Sasha Zidar Features editor

Firewater Apparel Co. to hold event in coordination with #MeTooMSU BY PETER ATKINS PATKINS@STATENEWS.COM

Firewater Apparel Co., founded by MSU alumnus Austin Pabian, is hosting an event in coordination with #MeTooMSU to support survivors of abuse from ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The event will be held at The Rock off of Farm Lane from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 27. Firewater will be selling its own “No More #MeToo” T-shirts for $20, with all of the proceeds going to #MeTooMSU. Pabian graduated with a degree in creative advertising in August 2016. “After the Nassar case was exposed, we were both kind of shocked. It hit home for her and she was distraught by it. I felt a sense of helplessness to an extent because I really didn’t know too much about it and I wasn’t involved,” Pabian said. “I wanted to find a way to help, so I decided to try and use my platform as an apparel company to fundraise and potentially benefit the survivors of the Nassar case.” Pabian runs his company with help from his girlfriend, Robyn Lowes. Lowes felt the heavy effects of the abuse cases, and the two decided they wanted to help. “I was a gymnast for about 14 years. Growing up, everyone who were my idols, a lot were affected by Larry Nassar,” Lowes said. “The No More shirt kind of started when I was really upset, and I was really hurt that my personal friends were going to be in court.” The event will be run in coordination with #MeTooMSU. The MSU campus Insomnia Cookies representative and the campus Monster Energy representative will be in attendance. “I am a survivor of Larry Nassar. Way back when negotiations happened with the civil lawsuit, my attorney got a group of seven together, and walking in you’re not sure what to expect,” #MeToo MSU founder Jessica Smith said. “Meeting that group of women was really incredible for my healing process from all of this. I realized how important it is for people to feel a part of something, to feel like they’re not alone.” Smith, a native of Laingsburg Michigan, is an elementary education junior at Ferris State University. “That gave me the idea to start #MeTooMSU and I started the Facebook page and it really

started as a way to get information out and to inspire people, start conversations, reach out to their loved ones,” Smith said. If there’s one thing that I’ve realized, so many people, so many people, are affected by sexual assault.” Pabian reached out to Smith and told her about his T-shirts, and the two agreed to work together to benefit the community through an inclusive event. “Austin had reached out to me a while back. He wanted some way to give back,” Smith said. “It’s important to bring people together. Social media is great for conversation, it’s great for starting conversations, but nothing really beats in-person connections, contact and support.” Pabian started his T-shirt venture as a junior at MSU. He took a year and a half hiatus running his brand, but gave it a rebirth in the fall of 2017. “When I came to MSU, exposing myself to the party scene and all that, obviously it was a blast, but at the same time, with MSU being so environmentally conscious, that I noticed that parties and tailgates alike just left behind this rain of plastic cups and smashed beer cans,” Pabian said. “It was just such a mess. Especially in those areas that don’t have clean up crews, it turns into litter,” Pabian said. “I founded Firewater as a way to target the market for the people that cause the problem, and incentivize partying.” Firewater Apparel Co.’s flagship product, and most recognizable, is their reversible “East Lansing Drinking Team” tanks. Five percent of the proceeds for these products go toward the local Sierra Club, which has several environmental preservation projects throughout Michigan. “The flagship product started just before my 21st birthday, it’s the reversible drinking team tank that you can find on our website,” Pabian said. “The tags, the printing, the packaging and the shipping material, everything we use is either 100 percent recyclable or post consumer and I push that in many regards.” Lowes stressed it’s more than selling some T-shirts and then moving on. She believes there is a lot to be done to make positive changes for the survivors and community as a whole. “I know personal girls that every day are like, ‘I’m still fighting this, this is affecting my personal life, this is affecting my relationships and I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same.’ That’s

East Lansing resident and MSU alumnus Austin Pabian sits at his desk where he designs his shirts for his company, Firewater Apparel Co., on April 10. PHOTO: C.J. WEISS

something that a lot of people are like, ‘Let the healing begin,’” Lowes said. “As I spoke with a survivor, she said she was more empowered talking about it … That’s why we really want to push this event and do something like this.” Smith said she believes the Spartan community is more than Nassar and the officials who turned a blind eye. “I get a lot of people message me on the page

and they ask if I hate MSU … I love MSU. I have been a Michigan State University fan since I was practically born, my whole family is. To me, what Michigan State University is the students, it’s the staff, it’s all the people who care about the community,” Smith said. “I think that it’s really important to bring the people together who believe in the university and believe in the good that is there.”


Maze Runner Death Cure Thurs Wilson Aud 8:30 PM 115 B Wells Hall 8:45 PM Fri,Sat & Sun 115 B Wells Hall 8:00 PM

Disaster Artist Thurs 119 B Wells Hall 9:00 PM Fri,Sat & Sun 119 B Wells Hall 7:10 & 9:10 PM Sun Wilson Aud 8:30 PM

East Lansing resident and MSU alumnus Austin Pabian sits at his desk where he designs his shirts for his company, Firewater Apparel Co., on April 10. PHOTO: C.J. WEISS 12


THURSDAY, APRIL 1 2 , 2 01 8


Thursday 04/12/18  

The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University on Thursdays during fall, spring and select days during summer seme...

Thursday 04/12/18  

The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University on Thursdays during fall, spring and select days during summer seme...