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O PI N I O N
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CAM P US
‘Not alone anymore’: A farewell letter to my family at The State News
The State News spring 2021 diversity report
Graduating seniors reflect on struggle to find jobs during the pandemic
“Graduating in a few more weeks is surreal enough, but what hits me harder is leaving you all — and with you, a part of me — behind.”
The State News’ second diversity report explores the spring 2021 semester’s sources, coverage and hiring data.
Graduating students share their experience of struggling to find a job amid a global pandemic and the stress that comes with it.
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Vol. 111 | No. 17
TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2021 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Evan Jones MANAGING EDITOR SaMya Overall COPY CHIEF Mark Ostermeyer CAMPUS EDITOR Karly Graham
AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITOR Julian Stainback ART DIRECTOR Maddie Monroe DESIGN Hope Ann Flores Emily Maze
CITY EDITOR Sophia Kalakailo SPORTS EDITOR Joe Dandron CULTURE EDITOR Kaishi Chhabra PHOTO EDITOR Alyte Katilius MULTIMEDIA MANAGER Tessa Osborne
Junior catcher Kendall Kates (18) puts her catching mitt out as a Michigan player strikes out in the bottom of the first. The Wolverines crushed the Spartans in a 6-1 win back on their home turf on April 14. Photo by Lauren DeMay
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COLUMN: With just a few weeks left, I reflect on 4 years
By Joe Dandron Joe.Dandron@statenews.com
I came back to where all of this began when I decided I could finally collect my thoughts I sat at Akers Hall, the place where I ate my first meal on campus, next door to the dorm (yep, Hubbard Hall) that I met my eventual roommate, college best friends and direction in not just this ever-so-massive place but also my life. It was there, at the spot I sat — with rain clouds rolling in over East Neighborhood — alone. Armchairs and lofted stools surround pool tables with no one around them, a
cafeteria is sparse when it was once full of vibrant noise, workers and students, and a courtyard remains empty. No one walked by as I sat because things are different now — things are changing, the flowers are blooming once again … And I’m graduating. Graduating college. How do you collect your thoughts about four years in just one column? The thought of that bounces around in my aching, hungover head as I try to gather up what’s left of my college experience and feel like I’m trying to do everything I can to say goodbye, hello and thank you to my friends, professors and the buildings that raised me. I get a pit in my stomach sometimes when I think about graduating because the thing that has remained so constant in my life — Through my parents’ divorce, through jobs and internships and classes I nearly failed — is this place, community and university. When I came to MSU I thought that I would just do my time, graduate and find a job as maybe a teacher or work in communications. I always wanted to be a sports writer, author of a book and maybe work in radio or television. Never did I think that my time in college would go quite like this. When I came from my tiny hometown of Montague, Michigan, let’s just say I didn’t quite think I would be flying to New York
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Senior student, Joe Dandron, in his graduation gown on MSU’s campus on April 12. Photo by Lauren Snyder
City during my spring break and working alongside the people that inspired me to chase my dream of being a reporter. I got to see social justice protests up close and personal led by people my age doing something I couldn’t even fathom for a cause I backed with my journalistic heart and soul as not only a reporter but a person. I was in the front seat for some crazy moments in my university’s history and even got to see a football season in a stadium that was completely empty. I’m getting nostalgic, talking about my job and being cliche. I know. Why do you think I chose to become a writer? But as a I turn through the pages of my four years here, I remember each moment so vividly. My first college party, moving into my first apartment, my first time being away from my family for more than a few weeks and then subsequently supporting myself over the last three years. When my parents pulled away in their black Chrysler Town & Country minivan, it felt like just yesterday I turned around to see an empty space occupied where they sat and my mother cried about me going away to school. It’s surreal, to think that in a blink of an eye that all the steps across campus, all the time spent at The Riv, Dublin Square and FieldHouse watching basketball, all the time spent going to sporting events and working nights for student media and balancing two jobs ... is all coming to an end. With every sip of a beer and cup of coffee I scramble to pack up this life I’ve made here. That’s scary, but it’s also OK. I walk on campus and stroll by the Rock on Farm Lane often nowadays and hope that another 18-year-old kid, like me, is figuring it out just as fast as we all have to — even if we don’t have it all figured out yet. That’s part of life and leaving for college: Figuring things out at our own pace. When I left I had one goal — just make sure you finish what you started. Now I’m here, I’m scared and I’m excited about the future and life beyond this little square of land that has a lot of green. I’m at the finish line with thousands of other seniors whose time is coming to an end. I don’t speak for all of us, but I know I tried to make the most of all this time and all the opportunities I’ve had in college, that college has given to me. That’s all we can do.
“I’m at the finish line with thousands of other seniors whose time is coming to an end. I don’t speak for all of us, but I know I tried to make the most of all this time and all the opportunities I’ve had in college, that college has given to me. That’s all we can do.” I’m thankful for my professors, co-workers, colleagues, alumni and the East Lansing community. People always told me that life and work is about the people you go through it with. They are right. It’s time to move forward. The class of 2020 didn’t get a fraction of what we have lucked out with during a pandemic. I remember my friends who graduated last fall and how life shifted so dramatically that it fractured what we see as normal. They were forced far away from each other to wait for a vaccine and regulations that could allow a sliver of standard life back into the picture. Now, it’s the class of 2021’s turn. We are entering a more stable job market in a slightly more stable world. Isn’t that something we should consider ourselves lucky for? It’s not perfect, but that’s just fine. I struggled with that for a time but now I’ve forced myself to see how lucky I was to become a graduate of this school. I’m one of two or three kids from my hometown here. No one else in my family ever came here.
Thanks, Michigan State University, for everything these last four years.
OPI N I ON
‘Not alone anymore’: A farewell letter to my family at The State News By Kaishi Chhabra email@example.com
Dear State News family,
It’s hard to believe my journey with you is soon coming to an end when it feels like it barely just started. Graduating in a few more weeks is surreal enough, but what hits me harder is leaving you all — and with you, a part of me — behind. Looking back at January 2020, when I stepped into the newsroom for the first time as a reporter at orientation, I remember being a walking, trembling ball of nerves who was scared that she would never belong here. Everyone seemed to know each other, and even the new staff members had that one person who they’d known before coming in. For the first time since my freshman year, I felt timid and scared. Suddenly all I could see myself as was an international student with an accent and weird speech slang. Someone who’d never fit here. “It’s okay, we’ve been here before,” I thought to myself. “Just focus on your job, keep to yourself. You don’t need friends — not really.” Little did I know that just over the span of a handful of weeks, I would be finding myself an array of precious gems. A new roommate, a best friend, a Taylor-Swift-stan soulmate, a caring leader who’d help guide me at my life’s toughest times and so, so many lifelong friends who would not only accept me for who I am but support me and fight for me. A family. That’s what I found at The State News without realizing it. I would say you guys have been my home away from home but that’d be a lie because in the short 16 months since I’ve known you all, at times you’ve felt more like a family to me than the one back home. And I don’t say that lightly. In fact, I have big, fat tears rolling down my face with a peaceful smile on my lips as I write to you. The feeling I’m trying to describe here is hard to put into words. Ever since I joined The State News, my neck tilts up more often. My shoulders feel looser. I don’t have to fight alone anymore, be scared alone anymore or feel sad about things happening in the world
alone anymore. I definitely don’t have to live alone or hide aspects of my personality — such as my music taste — anymore. My skin color, my background, sexual orientation or noncitizen status, you accepted each and every part of me with open arms and celebrated me. I’ve never felt more cherished, be it in a professional or an informal environment. You taught me that I’m not alone anymore. I’m the kind of person who takes pride in being a strong, independent woman. From an early age, I learned that vulnerability is something I can’t afford to show as I strive to prove those wrong who think women can’t handle field jobs or be effective leaders. Being a part of your community showed me that my vulnerability is my strength. The moment something has fallen apart or gone wrong for me — and there have been many moments like that — you all have cared and acted in your own ways to help me. From writing articles about those affected like me, personally keeping a mental health check on me, to crying my tears with me. Believe me when I say there have been so many times when I’ve wondered to myself, “What would I have done had I not had State News at my back?” Every time one of you has said, called or texted me “We’ve got your back,” it has been an epiphanic moment for me. Working at The State News has been a life-changing experience and it goes beyond perfecting the skills of reporting or learning to lead teams as a desk editor. Each and every flaw or insecurity I was aware of before coming in was turned into a merit to my confidence. The opportunities to grow into not just a better reporter but a better person have been boundless. That accent I was so conscious of coming in? Recording podcasts for The State News was the best cure possible! My awareness of being the only international student in the newsroom? It was commemorated by my coworkers who respected my worldly knowledge. Now as I walk closer to graduating and sadly leaving a different home behind once again, I reflect
on all the happy, sad and crazy moments we all shared these past 16 months. Friday pizza-days that turned to virtual Wellness Wednesdays. Covering fun bar nights or protests at the Capitol to a hectic election season that left us all drained for days. Random off-topic and trivia Slack chat rooms. City and culture desk meetings. Spring 2020’s intern potluck party and cold tater tots. Debates of desert vs. breakfast crepes. I see all of these memories in an unforgettable cloud of nostalgic serenity. Just floating over my head, reminding me of happy times to keep myself going in the future. Picture Olaf with his own personal flurry at the end of “Frozen.” That is me, forever offering warm hugs that State News gifted me with. So thank you, State News. For accepting me with all my
queerness. Thank you for having my back and helping me when I was so close to giving up. Thank you for providing me with so many amazing career-building opportunities and giving me a
chance to build lifelong bonds. Thank you for believing in me when I wasn’t even sure of myself and
lastly, thank you for being my family. To each and every one of you: the editors and reporters I may have not interacted with as much, the professional staffers whose faces I haven’t seen since the newsroom went virtual and to the State News Board whose members’ names I may have merely heard of and never talked to. All of you, whether you realize it or not, had an impact in making my life better this year. For that, I’m forever grateful. Moving forward, I may never find a family so phenomenal as yours (I really hope I do) but even if I don’t, that’s OK. The love and peace I received here will stay with me forever as I strive to continue making an impact in the world as a reporter and try my best to pay forward the kindness The State News showed me. Thank you for making me who I am as I graduate and enter the real world.
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SPRING 2021: SEM By Emily Bevard Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org As Michigan State University continued to navigate remote learning for a third semester, the cycle of news did not slow. Here’s a recap of the semester’s biggest stories.
MORE STUDENTS RETURN TO CAMPUS
While just under 2,000 students chose to live on campus in the fall semester, about 3,800 students returned to their home on the banks of the Red Cedar River for the spring. The university offered in-person instruction for 400 classes, up from 40 in the fall. To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, all on-campus students were required to participate in the COVID-19 Early Detection Program as a part of the MSU Community Compact. To discourage traveling during early spring, Michigan State University cancelled spring break and instead offered four wellness days: March 2-3 and April 22-23. Following the first two wellness days, students agreed that they were ineffective and would have preferred a spring break.
THE FIGHT FOR SWIM AND DIVE CONTINUES
On Jan. 15, 11 members of the women’s swimming and diving team filed a Title IX lawsuit against the university on behalf of the program, hoping to reverse the decision to cut it following the 2020-21 season. The final ruling of the lawsuit came against the injunction to reinstate the program immediately but will remain in consideration as the fight continues. The team’s final season began later that month with a 146-107 loss against the University of Michigan. In February, MSU said the decision to cut the program would be final, though the team has continued the battle to save it.
11 MSU EMPLOYEES STILL AFFILIATED WITH THE UNIVERSITY FOUND IN VIOLATION OF OFFICE OF INSTITUTIONAL EQUITY POLICY
An 18-month Lansing State Journal investigation found that 11 of the 49 MSU faculty and staff in violation of the university sexual misconduct policy since 2015 are still affiliated with the university. At least 14 people were accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault by multiple people and five remained employed: marketing Professor Tomas Hult, criminal justice Professor David Foran, anatomic pathology Professor Matti Kiupel, communications Professor William Donohue and physiology Professor Robert Wiseman. The investigation reported that two retired professors had lost their emeritus title, two were under review and four others had been allowed to keep them. Former College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel and political science Professor William Jacoby had been allowed to retire prior to the completion of the investigation or before any punishment, allowing them to maintain retirement benefits such as health and life insurance. In a 166-page Title IX lawsuit filed March 24, recent MSU OIE
Incoming freshman Josh Broaden moving into Wilson Hall with the help of family on Monday, September 1. Photo by Di’Amond Moore
Director Melody Werner is listed as a defendant in a case alleging Eastern Michigan University covered up several instances of sexual assault and rape. Werner hasn’t served as OIE director since October 2020 and is currently working on assignment in support of strategic operation initiatives in the Office for Civil Rights until June.
MSU ISSUES PERIOD OF ENHANCED SOCIAL DISTANCING
Following an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate as students returned to campus, MSU ordered an “enhanced physical distancing” directive Jan. 30, barring students from gathering with others on or off campus. The university met failures to comply with the order with the threat of removal from housing without refund, and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. While the directive was originally set to end on Feb. 13, it was lifted in phases and came to an end Feb. 28.
MSU POLICE DEPARTMENT APPOINTS NEW POLICE CHIEF AND VICE PRESIDENT FOR PUBLIC SAFETY
On Feb. 2, MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. appointed Marlon C. Lynch as the sixth chief of the MSUPD and vice president for public safety. He began his role on April 1, following approval by the Board of Trustees.
B.1.1.7. VARIANT OF COVID-19 RUINS MICHIGAN’S PANDEMIC PROGRESS
The first case of the B.1.1.7. variant of COVID-19 was found in Eaton County Feb. 8, just west of Ingham County. Early findings show the variant is approximately 50% more transmissible than others and could be associated with a higher risk of death. This came following the first case of the variant identified in Michigan in January. Michigan’s COVID-19 cases have been leading the nation since early March with about 469 cases per 100,000 residents in early April. Additionally, there has been 3,688 hospitalizations, making this surge the highest Michigan has experienced since the pandemic began last year. However, despite the rising cases, Gov. Gretchen Whiter hasn’t implemented any new statewide restrictions. Ingham County recently implemented guidelines to slow community spread.
TWISTARS OWNER, NASSAR ENABLER JOHN GEDDERT CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, DIES BY SUICIDE THE SAME DAY Amanda Ling, an MSU diver, photographed before a practice at IM West on March 10. Photo by Lauren Snyder
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Ex-MSU doctor and convicted sexual predator Larry Nassar had treated young gymnasts at Twistars for years. Former owner of the club, John Geddert, turned over ownership to his
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Michigan State student Maddie Monroe gets the COVID-19 vaccine from her car at Sparrow Laboratories’ Sears vaccine location on March 29. Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez
wife Kathryn Geddert in 2018 as he faced sanctions from USA Gymnastics for the gym’s response and handling of the Nassar scandal. The club announced that they had been sold Feb. 4, beginning training sessions as Capital City Flips. Multiple Nassar survivors spoke out against Geddert in the past, stating he fostered an environment that encouraged abuse and accusing him of allowing Nassar one-on-one access to gymnasts in the back room of Twistars. On Feb. 25, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged Geddert with 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, racketeering and lying to a police officer. This came following a three-year investigation, beginning immediately following Nassar’s sentencing hearings. Geddert’s body was found at a rest stop at 3:24 p.m., where he died by suicide Feb. 25, the day he was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:15 p.m.
S POT L I G H T
MESTER IN REVIEW COMMUNITY UNREST AFTER ANTI-ASIAN VIOLENCE
On March 16, eight individuals — Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan and Daoyou Feng — six of which were Asian American women, were murdered in Atlanta. This sparked nationwide and university-wide conversations addressing racism against Asian-Americans. MSU students cited racist comments from MSU alum Larry Gaynor, whose name is tied to The Larry and Teresa Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab in the Eli Broad College of Business. Many student organizations including the MSU Asian Pacific American Student Organization, the Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American/Asian Faculty and Staff Association and the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions demanded action from the university to support its APIDA student population.
MSU announced they will hold more than 50 limited-attendance outdoor graduation ceremonies for the spring 2021 semester, though a university-wide convocation will not be held. Due to COVID-19 concerns, summer graduates will instead be invited to participate in the fall 2021 commencement ceremonies, sparking criticism from students who anticipated walking the stage this semester.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES WITHHOLDS 6,000 NASSAR DOCUMENTS
MSU junior David Tran poses for a portrait outside of Wells Hall on March 20. David is Vietnamese and wears a shirt with the word “REFUGENE” written on the front. According to the Refugene website, “‘REFUGENE’ is the extraordinary resilience in refugees— the trait we hope to pass from generation to generation. It is in our DNA, either dominant or recessive, and therein lies our mission: Find it in yourself, look for it in others, and live by it for life.” Photo by Alyte Katilius
STUDENTS PETITION COLLEGE OF REGARDING PROBLEMS WITH THE TEACHING INTERNSHIP
A petition asking the College of Education to acknowledge the negative impact of the internship program on students’ mental health and financial situation gained attention around campus, gaining over 670 signatures since Feb. 12. The fifth-year internship is a part of a three-year program allowing students to complete their teaching certification in five years. The year-long unpaid internship comes in the final year, allowing students to gain in-classroom experience. At the same time, students must complete 24-credit hours of classes in the final year. As the petition gained an increasing amount of attention, Associated Students for Michigan State University unanimously passed a bill in support of its demands, calling on MSU administration to examine the current state of the program and make the changes to better support their education students.
As the Attorney General Office’s investigation into Nassar remained inconclusive with the MSU Board of Trustees withholding about 6,000 documents, AG Nessel sent a letter to the BOT urging them to be released. The investigation, requested by the Trustees, began in 2016 and would be forced to close without the release of the documents. The attorney general’s office had explored every legal avenue to obtain the documents but was unable to access them without the permission of the board. In accordance with the attorney general’s letter, the East Lansing City Council passed a resolution March 23 honoring “Sister Survivors” of sexual abuse and calling for the immediate release of the 6,000 documents. On March 26, the Trustees responded to Nessel’s letter, stating they would be maintaining their privilege and not releasing the documents, resulting in the investigation coming to a close. The decision saw immediate community reactions, asking MSU to reconsider its decision not to waive its privilege.
MSU MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM FALLS OUT OF NCAA TOURNAMENT AFTER SEASON WITH HIGHS AND LOWS
In the First Four of the NCAA Tournament, MSU fell 86-80 in overtime against UCLA. This marked the end of the team’s run at a 15-13 record overall but maintained Coach Tom Izzo’s NCAA Tournament appearance streak. Tom Izzo and multiple players contracted COVID-19, causing
MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo leaves the court for halftime in the Big Ten basketball tournament during the game against Maryland on March 11, 2020. Photo by Alyte Katilius
the team to miss multiple games during the season. Tournament hopes were dwindling but the Spartans were able to beat three top-5 teams to maintain an NCAA appearance streak. After two seasons with the team, sophomore guard Rocket Watts entered the NCAA transfer portal, citing his change from point guard to shooting guard and struggles to adjust due to the shortened off-season. Assistant Coach Dan Fife will also be transferring, heading back to his home of Indiana to join their staff as an assistant coach for the 2021-22 season.
SPARTAN TEAMS FALL IN BIG TEN TOURNAMENTS
The MSU hockey team faced defeat in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. On April 10, the men’s soccer season ended with a 1-0 loss to the University of Michigan in the quarterfinals. The women’s team faced similar luck, ending on a 1-0 loss to Rutgers. The baseball and softball seasons are currently ongoing. Spring football has begun and the spring game will be held on April 24.
EXPANDING VACCINE AVAILABILITY
MSU was approved to administer COVID-19 vaccines beginning April 9. This comes as state-vaccination regulations expanded allowing all residents aged 16 and above to receive their vaccination. The vaccine clinic at the university will be open to students only and appointments are on a first-come-first-serve basis. Originally, MSU planned to offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to students for free but following an Food and Drug Administration recommendation to pause the vaccine due to rare blood clots, students will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
OUTDOOR GATHERINGS LIMITED IN EAST LANSING FOLLOWING COVID-19 CASE SPIKE
An emergency order by Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail on March 4 restricted outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 15 people in parts of East Lansing. Those found in violation of the order could receive a misdemeanor, resulting in up to six months imprisonment and/or a $200 fine. A municipal civil infraction ticket, punishable by a $500 fine, was also implemented under a City of East Lansing ordinance.
MSU ANNOUNCES 75% OF CLASSES WILL BE HELD IN PERSON FOR UPCOMING FALL SEMESTER
On March 5, the university announced 75% of undergraduate classes would be offered in-person for fall 2021. According to the email that was sent out, classes will be held in hybrid, in-person and online formats, especially those typically held in large lecture halls. Residence halls will be open to first-year students and as many other students as possible. Spectators will once again be welcomed at sporting events to the extent allotted by state restrictions and guidelines in place. Classes for the summer semester will still be largely online, though some labs may be held in-person.
Senior defender Tommy Miller (12) skates up the ice with the puck during the Spartans matchup with the Badgers on Mar. 6, 2021. After starting out with a 1-0 lead, the Spartans fell 2-1. Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez T U ES DAY, A PR I L 20, 202 1
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The State News spring 2021 diversity report
WHITE - 58%
BLACK - 20% LATINX - 6%
ASIAN - 11% BIRACIAL - 3% OTHER - 2%
By Evan Jones, SaMya Overall and Inna Mirzoyan email@example.com
RACIAL & ETHNIC BACKGROUND OF SOURCES
Reflecting a wide range of lived experiences is essential for media organizations in staff hiring and news coverage. This report offers an internal review and guidance for future State News editors to improve our adherence to these values. With our remote newsroom, cognizant of a continued racial awakening and calls for an equitable future, The State News published its first diversity report last fall. Newsroom diversity is a continuous challenge because of implicit and explicit biases journalists hold that limit opportunities for minority groups. We aim to report stories that accurately reflect the community and provide an understanding of the backgrounds of students who bring you daily news coverage. This diversity report is not the solution to this problem, but rather one step to ensure The State News represents the Michigan State student voice, even those that are typically underrepresented.
SPRING 2021(%) 5% 3%
STUDENT YEAR STATUS OF SOURCES
FRESHMAN SOPHOMORE JUNIOR
HOW WE MADE THIS REPORT
The State News diversity and inclusion team is made up of the editor-in-chief, managing editor and a hired diversity and inclusion coordinator. After reviewing the recommendations from the previous diversity and inclusion team, our goals for this semester were:
Diversity and inclusion are all-encompassing — one way to reflect on our coverage is to pull the tags logged in Parse.ly, our analytics tracker, for the articles published throughout the semester. The State News published 688 stories from Jan. 1 to April 16. This doesn’t include our special long-form stories about the coronavirus, essential workers, resident assistants and MSU Swim and Dive. The charts show which of the 513 tags were used at least five times. While the majority of tags (395) were only used once or twice, this process provides insight into the trends and patterns of our coverage, so that they can guide better editorial decisions in the future. This method has limitations: tags are case sensitive, used haphazardly and can be forgotten in the editing process.
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According to MSU’s 2018-2019 Annual Report on Diversity and Inclusion, Black students made up about 8% of the total student population. That percentage was about 7% for Asian students (including Indian students), 0.3% for Native American students, and about 6% for Hispanic or Latinx.
COLLEGE OF SOURCES SPRING 2021
CO M AR MUNI T & CA SCI TION EN CES JAM ES MA D CO ISON LL E GE AR TS &L ETT ER NA S TU RA LS CIE NC ES
• 7 as Black (14%), the same as last semester. • 4 as Hispanic or Latinx (8%), up 1% from last semester. • 4 as Asian or Asian American (8%), up 1% from last semester. • 1 as Indian or Indian American (2%), down 0.3% from last semester. • 1 as Armenian (2%), up 2% from last semester. • 1 as Native American (2%), up 2% from last semester. • 1 as Egyptian or North African (2%), up 2% from last semester.
Middle Eastern and North African students were listed as white in MSU’s report. The State News has 36 female identifying staff compared to 14 identifying as male. Last semester, 27 students identified as female, 15 identified as male and one student identified as transgender or nonbinary. In terms of sexuality, 36 staffers identified as heterosexual while 11 identified as bisexual, homosexual or asexual. One staff member identified as queer and two did not disclose their sexuality. In fall 2020, 8 staff members identified as bisexual, homosexual or asexual. Two did not report their sexuality and the rest identified as heterosexual. Only one staff member reported being an international student. Out of the domestic students, 8 students were out-of-state students and the remaining 41 were in-state, similar to the fall semester. Also, 28.6% of the staff, or 14 students, reported being firstgeneration students, down from 33% of staff last semester. Finally, 62% of the State News staff are sophomores (30%) and juniors (32%). Seniors account for 22% of the staff while freshmen account for 14%. There was only one staff member that was a fifth-year or more student.
SCI EN CE
The State News newsroom staff consisted of 51 MSU students, up from 47 students last fall. During the spring 2021 semester, 70% of the staff, or 35 students, identified as self-identified as white, down from 79.1% of staff members last fall. The remaining 16 staff members self-identified as follows:
SO CIA L
Our staff will continue to work towards these goals and our progress is outlined below.
Similar to fall 2020, there is still heavy attention to the coronavirus and local vaccination efforts, albeit less so than the fall. Further, our coverage includes a greater frequency of sports stories than news stories. The frequency of sports reporting is a testament to the productivity of our sports section more so than an indicator of editorial preference. Sporting events and government meetings have set schedules that make our patterns of coverage clearer. The majority of unique tags could be an indicator that our reporters write about a wide variety of topics. However, progress is needed in curating a diversity of consistently covered topics.
• Construct an assessment of newsroom performance reflected in this report. • Create a demographic breakdown of who was hired compared to the overall student population. • Identify new content areas to explore while guiding story development in these areas. • Collect demographic data on sources throughout the semester to reflect in this report.
SENIOR FIFTH OR MORE GRADUATE
DI V E R S I T Y R E PORT
SEXUAL ORIENTATION OF SOURCES SPRING 2021(%)
AGE OF SOURCES SPRING 2021 (%)
GAY - 2% LESBIAN - 2% 6.98%
The Michigan State School of Journalism’s award-winning Fair Chance Sourcing provides an effective model to understand if the people we interview match the makeup of the community. The State News decided to test it out this semester with our Source Engagement Project. After reporters interviewed a source, they were instructed to ask a set of demographic questions about age, race, gender, sexuality and student status — and input the answers on a Google form throughout the semester. In total, we logged interviews with 189 people. This means that while not every interview made it into the chart, this project is a formidable first attempt in analyzing the sources we use in day-to-day reporting. About 40% of the interviewees were college-aged, which is about 15% lower than the proportion of 18-24 year olds in East Lansing. The majority of interviewees identified as white, but at 58%, this is about 13% lower than East Lansing’s 71% white residents. Other prominent race identifiers from our sources include Black or African American (21%), Asian or Asian American (13%) and Hispanic or Latinx (6%). We also talked to more women (60%) than men (40%) which could be implicit bias from a majority female staff. About 44% of sources were MSU students, compared to 56% non-students. As a student-run newspaper with a focus on student life, The State News must increase the number of student sources we interview in day-to-day coverage. From here, there should be appointed staff members that work with our newly hired Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator to make our Source Engagement Project more successful. Additionally, future staff members should actively work to increase the number of sources represented in the project. The State News is dedicated to antidiscrimination, authenticity and real change with open ears. Progress is only possible with room for hard discussions about privilege, biases and equity. We are working to acknowledge the trends and gaps in our efforts. As the semesters continue, we are dedicated to continuing these reports and addressing issues as they arise.
The State News Diversity and Inclusion team consists of Editor-in-Chief Evan Jones, Managing Editor SaMya Overall and Diversity and Inclusion Rep. Inna Mirzoyan.
OTHER - 5%
STUDENT STATUS OF SOURCES 55.87%
SPRING 2021 (%) 44.13%
NOT A STUDENT
BISEXUAL - 11%
STRAIGHT - 84%
GENDER OF 60.11% SOURCES SPRING 2021 (%)
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‘This is really happening’: last minute graduation plans take place as reality sets in By Lucy Vanregenmorter firstname.lastname@example.org After a senior year that didn’t go as planned, the class of 2021 has the opportunity for a small taste of normalcy. In March, it was confirmed that all graduating seniors would have the opportunity to walk in a smaller ceremony organized by colleges and majors. While this is great news for many, the unexpected in-person event has left many scrambling. “Beginning of March I think is when the first rumor came about that they’re trying to be in the works of planning something so that we can walk,” hospitality business senior Taylor Benoit said. “End of March is when it was confirmed, and we got the RSVP, and it was like, ‘Wow this is really happening.” With last summer’s cancellation of in-person classes, students thought it may be too good to be true, leading to preparations put off. “Honestly it was really hard to find just a cute simple white dress,” supply chain senior Andrea Vortriede said. “I do think maybe stuff has been selling out because it’s just right now that everyone’s like, ‘Oh shoot this is really happening, they’re not gonna cancel it.’” As classes are online, Vortriede has found it harder to collaborate with her classmates to gather details about the ceremony. “It’s weird because you don’t get to
talk to people like you would in your college classes,” Vortriede said. “For example, I didn’t even know if I was supposed to wear a shawl. I had to text several people who also didn’t know, and we were trying to figure out who would know.” In the end, Vortriede and friends took to the internet to find pictures from previous ceremonies. “We just had to go look at photos, but that’s something you would’ve figured out if you were in a class full of people, immediately people would’ve known,” Vortriede said. Supply chain management senior Ryan Schiffman experienced his own graduation preparation struggles — the other way around. Schiffman, a summer graduate, was told along with other summer graduates that he could walk in the spring. In early March, during graduation planning, Schiffman got the news he would not be able to. “I’m still a summer grad, but I’m not allowed to walk until the fall, but I’m not doing that,” Schiffman said. “I’m going to be in law school in Virginia. We all have jobs and move on.” Schiffman was prepared to graduate and start the next chapter of his life. “I planned on family coming ... from Maryland,” Schiffman said. “I had bought a class ring. I was going to buy one anyway, but I bought it earlier in order to get it in time.” For Schiffman, graduation ceremonies are common in his family. However, he recognizes how heartbreaking this could be for many
other students. “It’s worse for other people,” Schiffman said. “I was pretty upset — if I was a first-gen student, I would be destroyed.” Benoit is happy to be walking at all, even though her graduation plans were tweaked. “It definitely was kind of sprung on us, but I personally wanted to walk, so I was very excited for that,” Benoit said. “I’m just excited that we were at least given the opportunity, even though it’s not the usual. ... We’re still being acknowledged in even a small way.” However, Benoit said without some of the traditional pre-graduation events happening, it has been difficult for reality to set in. “I still do plan on taking pictures around campus, which might not be the same feel as a normal year of walking around and seeing so many people out and about, and then getting excited in that way, where it also doesn’t quite feel like it’s setting in yet,” Benoit said. Since Benoit’s entire family is not allowed at the ceremony, she plans on celebrating with them once she gets home. “I do also plan on after graduation, going back home and celebrating with all my family, like my siblings and their significant others,” Benoit said. “Just immediate family after the ceremony, but it will still be nice to at least feel like something is a little bit normal, even though everything else is still in shambles.”
A graduation cap and gown photographed on April 22, 2020. Photo by Alyte Katilius
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Graduating seniors reflect on struggle to find jobs during the pandemic By Anna Mizerowski email@example.com Michigan State’s graduating seniors are beginning to enter the workforce as their college years come to a close. However, finding jobs post graduation has not been easy for some seniors due to COVID-19. Creative advertising senior Teddy Wujeck has struggled finding a job in his particular career field and plans to work as a bartender after he graduates. “Last summer, I reached out to the first person about potentially having an internship,” he said. “I reached out to a couple people but I got nothing back.” Wujeck wants to go into the marketing side of creative advertising and said that this field in general has limited jobs already, and the pandemic isn’t helping. “There’s been a pushback from people that are already in the field,” Wujeck said. “I once told an art teacher of mine that I wanted to be a graphic designer and he said ‘No you don’t; everybody is getting a job instantly but not moving anywhere in the business.’” Although Wujeck has not had much success with finding a job after he graduates, he said he has “all of his eggs in one basket” and is continuing his job search. “Get on LinkedIn and start doing that early,” Wujeck said. “I think everybody would have the same answer to that, just contact as many people as you can early.” Food science senior Adhisha Chandra has also faced difficulty finding a job after graduation during the pandemic. “In one of the career fairs I was talking to the representative and they mentioned they are not hiring right now in the current situation because of the pandemic, so they will probably be hiring next year,” Chandra said. Chandra also faces the challenge of finding a job because she is an international student from India. Chandra said that international students are allowed to work in the United States for one year after they graduate. If they want to continue working in the United States, they are asked if they require a sponsorship from the company they are applying for. “When you come across that question in the application process I have started doing ‘no’ instead of ‘yes,’” she said. “If I do ‘yes’ they just get separated out before going further so if I do ‘no,’ there’s a possibility of going further.” Looking for a job as a food science major during a pandemic has been even more difficult for Chandra because many restaurant businesses are not hiring many new employees due to losses from the pandemic. “I know the food industry wants to keep
hiring, but there are limited positions,” Chandra said. “I think they are looking for more domestic options to maintain the whole employment cost and with the pandemic that has also limited it.” Chandra interned at Campbell’s Soup Company for six months that gave her good experience in her field but has not made it any easier for her to find a job after graduation. “I did contact my previous manager at Campbell’s,” Chandra said. “She said that I might want to keep looking at the career page website which usually has job updates, so I keep looking there every single day.” The Career Services Network at MSU allows students access to different job posting systems and allows students to meet with a career adviser regarding job search strategies as well as the opportunity for students to attend summer workshops. Career Services Network Executive Director Jeffrey Beavers said in an email that building a resume that describes work experiences as well as responsibilities and accomplishments is key. “After a strong resume, it is then about having a plan and strategy that is realistic and that includes leveraging our strong alumni network and vast employer partnerships,” Beavers said. Beavers said that students who have been successful in finding jobs spend time preparing for the recruiting process. As far as students who have had challenges finding jobs this year, Beavers said that it is not about the lack of opportunity but rather the lack of experience and confidence in conducting a fully virtual job search. “For some students, it is less fun, more work, and can even seem overwhelming compared to being able to participate in oncampus recruiting activities like information sessions, job fairs, and networking events,” Beavers said. “However, students who have participated in virtual events over the past year reported it was comfortable to be able to participate in their own space and meet with employers for pre-arranged sessions.” Initially, students who were in the hospitality management and transportation field were having the most difficulty finding jobs because of the pandemic, according to Beaver. He said that those fields are doing more just-in-time hiring rather than planned hiring that they have done in the past. “The students having the most difficulty are likely those who are feeling lost or overwhelmed and who need support and an updated strategy,” Beavers said. “We have tripled our available advising appointments and are ready to work with anyone who needs a better plan or is struggling.”
A graduation cap and gown photographed next to a laptop on April 22, 2020. Photo by Alyte Katilius
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The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University every other Tuesday during fall, spring and select days during summ...