Page 1 | 9/9/13 | @thesnews

MSU faculty, students eye Syria as vote approaches By Nolly Dakroury THE STATE NEWS nn

Experts at MSU and students with ties to the Middle East are continuing to monitor the situation in Syria closely as the U.S. Senate prepares to open discussion Monday regarding a possible military intervention. President Barack Obama announced in a speech Aug. 31 that the U.S. is ready for military intervention in Syria in response to the reported use of chemical weapons against civilians Aug. 21 in the Ghouta area outside of Damascus. During the speech, Obama said the U.S. was ready to strike at any time, explaining intervention would be "limited in duration and scope." "Engaging in a military action in Syria is very risky," said Najib Hourani, an assistant professor of anthropology. "No military action is guaranteed. … No military action can take place without reaction — what that reaction might be is unpredictable." Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, nearly 100,000 people have been killed, according to the United Nations. The U.N. Refugee Agency, or UNHCR, announced in a statement Sept. 3 that the number of Syrian refugees has topped 2 million, adding there was "no sign of the outflow ending soon." Since the conflict started, a

See SYRIA on page 2 u

Lots of laughs

Campus police targeting string of recent moped thefts

Aziz Ansari thrills thousands with show at Wharton Center

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Michigan State University’s independent voice


On lock down

campus +city, Page 3 features, Page 5

Students, performers rock out at Broad benefit statenews .com Andy Milad, Arts and Humanities junior and lead singer/ guitarist of Wayne Szanlinski. MARGAUX FORSTER/THE STATE NEWS

Going behind the camera Student who shot footage of professor’s rant speaks out, shares tale behind film By Geoff Preston The State News nn

The first day of a college class usually entails a brief overview of the syllabus before the professor sends students on their way. For political science sophomore Evan Schrage, the first day of his IAH 207 class with English professor William Penn was anything but usual. Penn went on what some are calling an anti-Republican rant during the class that moved Schrage to take out his phone and capture Penn's comments. "He started getting off topic," Schrage said."Then he started attacking certain groups." Schrage captured about 9 minutes of video where Penn said that Republicans "raped the country." Penn also talked about 2012 pres-

Political science sophomore Evan Schrage poses for a portrait Sunday at Holden Hall. Pictured on his cell phone is the video he shot of English professor William Penn’s in-class rant about the Republican party.

idential candidate Mitt Romney and voter ID laws. "This country is full of closeted racists," Penn said in the video. "What do you think is going in North Carolina and South Carolina? Voter suppression. It's about getting black people not to vote."

To read a column by Evan Schrage on the incident, see pg. 4 On Sept. 5, Penn was removed from his teaching responsibilities. He remains a full-time employee of the university. Schrage said although he is happy the university did something about the incident, he believes

Julia Nagy/ The State News

See VIDEO on page 2 u

MSU faculty continued to advocate for Penn after incident; tenure played role Now that English professor William Penn has been relieved of his teaching responsibilities for the rest of the semester, the question arises: What's next? Penn was relieved of his teaching duties last week after what some are calling an anti-Republican lecture Aug. 29 that drew national media attention and resulted in a widely circulated video on YouTube. MSU Board of Trustees member Mitch Lyons, who commented on the situation extensively via Twitter, said in a previous interview that the punishment for Penn might not be com-

plete. When reached by phone last week, Penn told The State News he had been instructed by the provost to “keep a lid on it” in regards to the incident and its aftermath. Penn has tenure and the support from the MSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, or AAUP, a nonprofit dedicated to support professors. AAUP is not a union, but a group of professors advocating publicly for their peers. The organization released a statement Sept. 6 in support of Penn. See TENURE on page 2 u

To view a video interview with Evan Schrage about the incident, visit

s pa r ta n s


Defensive effort leads MSU to win over S. Fla.

Report: costs of excessive Rumors of fireworks fly alcohol use top $8 billion as co-op fire investigated By Celeste Bott THE STATE NEWS nn

Sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun intercepts a pass from South Florida quarterback Bobby Eveld on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Bulls, 21-6. — Khoa Nguyen SN See FOOTBALL on page 6

Excessive alcohol use cost Michigan $8.2 billion in 2006, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. The study examined the economic costs of binge drinking, which the Michigan Department of Community Health defines as consuming five or more drinks on an occasion for men or four or more drinks on an occasion for women. The study based cost numbers on 26 different categories, including criminal justice, health care and medical bills, criminal justice fines, car accidents and property damage, said Angela Minicuci, MDCH public information officer. "It's a shocking number, but they cover a number of factors like workplace productivity, loss of job unemployment or even being unhappy at your job," Minicuci said. One area where the study came up short? The emotional effects of alcohol abuse, said Minicuci. "We actually think that number is an underestimation, because the study didn't look at costs associated with pain and suffering for the person drinking or for their families and loved ones," she said. "Researchers didn't examine therapy or counseling costs,


for example." St udents might be unaware of the often expensive health consequences of binge drinking. Some of those consequences include treatment for acute alcohol poisoning, alcohol-related car crashes and physical or sexual assaults, said MDCH Chief Medical Executive Matthew Davis in a statement. "It's all too common to s e e a lc ohol- a s s o c i ate d injuries in our emergency rooms," Davis said. MSU students, especially underage students, busted for alcohol-related crimes also could find themselves paying a hefty price. The CDC study estimated that approximately 10 percent of Michigan's total cost came from the financial ramifications associated with underage drinking. According to the East Lansing District Court, a first-offense Minor in Possession charge brings a $100 fine, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated or being caught with an open alcohol container can cost up to $500 in fines. But Student Health Advisory Council, or SHAC, President Marisa Martini said resonating with students, not just scaring them, is key. "We try to provide them See DRINKING on page 2 u

By Katie Abdilla THE STATE NEWS nn

Many residents of the firedamaged Phoenix cooperative house have returned to their rooms, but officials said the cause of the Wednesday morning flames remains unclear. Of the 29 residents who were displaced by the fire, which began around 3 a.m. last Wednesday morning, 17 have moved back into the house, MSU Student Housing Cooperative public relations consultant Cambria Sobolewski said. T he ot her occupants of Phoenix, located at 239 Oakhill Ave., have been temporarily moved to other cooperatives or are staying with friends. The Student Housing Cooperative is a non-profit organization that provides housing and other services for MSU students and others across the East Lansing area. East Lansing Fire Department officials said Sunday that they still have not pinpointed the cause of the fire and confirmed the incident remains under investigation. A n earlier press release from the MSU Student Housing Cooperative confirmed the fire started on the roof and spread to the second floor. At least four of the rooms were destroyed, while many others were left with water damage. Sobolewski said rumors have been swirling around the fire's cause, including the possibili-

“They were launching fireworks earlier in the night, around midnight. Then we saw fire trucks...” Alex Stansberry, Finance senior

ty of errant fireworks. She said nothing has been ruled out. "I've heard things, but we're focusing on making sure our residents have places to stay rather than speculating upon rumors," Sobolewski said. Finance senior Alex Stansberr y, who lives across the street from Phoenix, said he noticed residents were using fireworks just a few hours before the fire started, but was unsure if the incidents are related. "They were launching fireworks earlier in the night, around midnight," Stansberry said. "Then we saw fire trucks around 3 (a.m.)." In spite of their displacement during what environmental studies and agriscience senior Spencer Hoffman called "a crazy experience," he said the fire has given residents a sense of community with one another. "The community has been very supportive, people have really stepped up to help us out," Hoffman said. "We are all staying really positive and bonding over this." Staff reporter Meg Dedyne contributed to this report.

2 | T he Stat e N e ws | monday, se p te mbe r 9, 2 01 3 | staten e State News Blog Roll Academics and Administration MSU constantly is changing its program offerings to align with students’ interests and job prospects — but the deletion of some programs can be a source of sadness for students.


Schrage feels punishment for professor needs to be more severe, stands by video recording from page one

One program that’s on its way out is kinesiology, but don’t get too upset, it’s just the teaching certificate option that will be gone after spring 2014. Music therapy also will say goodbye to MSU after spring 2014, along with special education with a deaf education emphasis.

more should be done. "I don't see how a slap on the wrist and a paid vacation is an appropriate punishment." Schrage said. "I think they need to take further action." Schrage said he didn't



Three-day forecast

No process for reviewing Penn’s case; staff member remains full-time MSU employee from page one

Monday Partly cloudy High: 84° Low: 57°

Tuesday Cloudy High: 93° Low: 66°

According to the statement, members believe it is vital to ensure the procedure to determine whether a professor might have acted outside the umbrella of protection for

VOL. 104 | NO. 108

Index Campus+city 3 Opinion 4 Sports 5 Features 6 Classified 5 nn

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Corrections The State News will correct all factual errors, including misspellings of proper nouns. Besides printing the correction in this space, the correction will be made in the online version of the story. If you notice an error, please contact Managing Editor Beau Hayhoe at (517) 432-3070 or by email at nn

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expect a lot of people to pay attention to his video, but he is happy it is getting attention. "I'm glad people are finally starting to take notice," he said. Schrage is a member of MSU College Republicans but said his decision to record and release the video was not politically motivated. The rant drew national reaction. "Whether it is on the far left or far right, the professor shouldn't use his pulpit to spew that kind of hate," he said. When Schrage asked if he still would have recorded the comments if they were about President Barack Obama, he said "of course."

Schrage is a general assembly representative for ASMSU and said he is considering bringing up the issue of the classroom environment to the organization. "I think the question that needs to be asked is whether or not MSU's classes are open, free, and fair of a discussion or dialogue," ASMSU President Evan Martinak said. Martinak said he doesn't necessarily think this video does enough to warrant an investigation, but said, "If there is enough interest on the part of the student body to explore these kind of issues, we will respond in the way they want us to."

the exercise of academic freedom be infused with the spirit of due process. "It's a massively punitive measure to take toward a faculty member," said Mae Kuykendall, an MSU law professor and president of the MSU chapter of AAUP.

The statement released Sept. 6 outlines that "the MSU faculty handbook details the procedures that must be followed in cases of disciplinary action against a professor." Penn’s removal had several different opinions from students. MSU spokesman Jason Cody said in an email that because Penn was not suspended or put on leave, there is not a process for reviewing his case. When asked about what comes next, Cody directed The State News to MSU spokesman Kent Cassella's Sept. 5 statement stating "Penn's teaching duties have been reassigned to others." Evan Schrage, a political science sophomore who released the video, said he received an email Sunday from professor Lance Norman, who will take over Penn's former position. There will be a Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, but Cody said Penn's actions are not one of the topics on the agenda.

Penn’s teaching duties have been reassigned to other instructors following rant, national media attention Kuykendall said there was a sense of "disrespect" for the professor, and if Penn were to file a lawsuit against the university stating his academic freedom was infringed upon, he might have success. "Undoubtedly, he's trying to think through what he could do," she said. "It's arguable about what success he could have, but it's not surprising he would stake a claim."


Peer pressure could lead to excessive alcohol consumption, separate MSU findings show from page one

realistic messages for staying safe, instead of just telling them 'drinking is bad, don't do it'," Martini said. Peer pressure might be a contributing factor to underage or binge drinking — according to the 2012 MSU Student Health

Assessment, students indicated believing that the “typical” student drank 5.3 drinks the last time the “typical” student “partied." But according to the same assessment, most MSU students don't drink to excess — 58 percent of MSU students reported consuming 0-4 drinks when they party and 92 percent of MSU students reported disapproval of drinking to the point of passing out. SHAC works to tackle substance abuse on campus, Martini said, including discussing alcohol awareness and planning events geared toward dis-

Continued syria

major concern has been who will take over if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad steps down. "For many in the U.S. and Israel, the question was, 'Do we preserve a devil we know, or do we allow a devil we don't know to come to power?'" Hourani said. The issue has drawn national and international attention and calls for action on the part of the U.S. For some time, there has been tension between two camps around the conflict, which started in March 2011. The U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are pitted against Assad's regime, Hourani said, and on the other hand, Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah — a Shiite Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon — are preparing for a possible standoff with the U.S. International relations senior Charbel Al-Haj, who originally is from Lebanon, said fellow Lebanese people are anxious for the Syrian conflict to end since Hezbollah, which dominates political life in Leba-

non, is involved in the conflict. "If the conflict blows up in Syria, if the U.S. gets further involved, that would really explode things," Hourani said, adding there are numerous experts warning of a regional war. "Showing (Syrians) not to fight war by bringing them war is not a solution," said Maggie Barnard, president of the MSU chapter of Amnesty International. Hourani said "it is a bit of a mystery," who executed the chemical weapons attack since the public hasn't seen the evidence proving the Assad regime was responsible. International relations senior Anas Attal, who is from Syria, echoed Hourani's comment, adding that unless the U.S. government is withholding information for a given reason, the public should be provided proof. Attal, who still has family living in Syria, said it was a good decision for the president to consult with Congress, but stressed the importance of respecting the vote even if they decide not to strike. "The people who live in Syria want a way out. They are in favor of the strike — the strike directed against Assad that is," Attal added. "I know there are a lot of debates on what should be done. And I don't have an answer. To strike Syria would deter Assad, but what is the aftermath? What becomes of this ultimate plan? We should find an alternative." Staff reporter Meg Dedyne contributed to this report.

tributing information, such as blood-alcohol-level charts, first aid kits and phone lists from Olin Health Center and Student Health Services. "We understand that students may choose to drink on a college

campus," Martini said. "Our goal is to make sure they are being safe when doing so and have access to resources, such as the Counseling Center, if alcohol consumption turns into alcohol abuse."

“Showing (Syrians) not to fight war by bringing them war is not a solution,” Amnesty International rep says from page one

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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

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1 The Crimson Tide’s school, for short 5 Delayed, as in traffic 10 Boast 14 Fe on the periodic table 15 Latin bears 16 Bridle strap 17 Ditty 18 Lament over a loss 19 Light brown 20 Gentle leader’s quality 23 Cry of surrender 24 Practice for the LSAT, e.g. 25 Crescent component 28 Lou Grant portrayer 31 Tar pits locale 33 Cowboys and Indians, e.g. 36 Lab gel made from seaweed 37 Devout petitions kept to oneself 43 Doughnut’s middle 44 Gets really wet 45 Voices one’s view 48 401(k) alternative named for a Delaware sen. 53 Like cool cats 54 1986 Peace Nobelist Wiesel 57 “The __ Sanction”: Eastwood thriller set in the Alps

58 Behind-the-scenes investor 62 NYC or London area 64 Bygone anesthetic 65 Bottom of a shoe 66 Be absolutely sure 67 April Fool’s antic 68 “Mila 18” author Leon 69 Jedi guru 70 ‘90s White House cat 71 Confined, with “up”


1 Shellfish soup 2 In the area 3 Tennis great Seles 4 Beings with halos 5 Kid’s math homework 6 Pace between a walk and a run 7 Seize, as power 8 Concerned person 9 Pet motel 10 One of TV’s Mavericks 11 Plug in, as a smartphone 12 What you breathe 13 African antelope 21 7:50, vis-à-vis 8:00 22 Dean’s list no. 26 Back 27 Valets park them 29 Comic strip shriek 30 Explorer John and comical Charlotte 32 Howl at the moon 34 Letters after L 35 Trade jabs 37 “Whoops”

38 “Nah!” 39 Haphazard, as workmanship 40 Pig holder 41 Former MGM rival 42 Daisylike fall bloomer 46 Long, thin fish 47 Rains ice pellets 49 Asks boldly, as for a loan 50 Turn one’s back on 51 Land with a rod 52 Slap the cuffs on 55 Emcee’s speech 56 Moral principle 59 Des Moines’s state 60 Quick kiss 61 Slow-moving vessels 62 Big __ Country 63 Sean’s mom Yoko

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Campus+city crime

campus Editor Robert Bondy, CITY EDITOR Lauren Gibbons, Phone (517) 432-3070 Fax (517) 432-3075


String of moped thefts puzzle MSU police By Katie Abdilla THE STATE NEWS nn

MSU police are investigating a string of on-campus moped thefts they believe were orchestrated by minors from Lansing. MSU police Detective Lorrie Bates said between 10 and 15 student-owned mopeds were stolen from campus during Welcome Week. The thefts initially began in April, when about 20 mopeds were stolen within the three-week period before the spring 2013 semester ended. "They found a way to disable the moped and kickstart it without a key," Bates said. Investigators suspect the mopeds mostly were taken by juveniles in Lansing, who they believe entered campus from Kalamazoo Street and made

off with the stolen goods. MSU student involvement is not suspected. Detectives pinpointed a location in Lansing where many of the mopeds were recovered, Bates said. She noted the mopeds' original registrations were missing and appeared to be under repair. Other mopeds were recovered in Lansing after police stopped several juveniles riding the stolen devices in the city. Police are returning the stolen mopeds to their original owners as they are recovered. MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said the main issue comes from students not locking up their mopeds properly or at all. "They’re all crimes of opportunity," McGlothian-Taylor said. She said the thefts went unno-

ticed because the perpetrators likely were young and blended in with students. Even when students do lock up, Bates said some have not been taking proper precautions, such as locking the front tire of the moped with a U-lock. "No one’s locking with a U-lock," she said. "You can’t just assume it’s safe by locking the handle bars, because … they’ve found a way to get around it." Supply chain management freshman Ben Grider said he also has trouble with mistreatment of his moped. "I don't worry too much about it being stolen," Grider said. “I'm more worried about people flipping it over. They tend to do that around here, breaking the mirrors and blinkers." The thefts remain under investigation.

Lansing resident and printmaking artist Kimberly Lavon adds to the community weaving piece Sunday at Grove Gallery & Studios, 325A Grove St. Margaux Forster/ The State News

Community art gallery celebrates five years of growth and change By Meg Dedyne THE STATE NEWS



E.L. Library welcomes international students By April Jones THE STATE NEWS nn

Libraries are known for the abundance of resources they provide to the community, whether it's in the form of books, computer access or expert advice. On Sunday, the East Lansing Public Library, hosted its fourth annual East Lansing Welcomes the World event, informing and feeding MSU international students as an act of welcoming them to their new community. Library Director Kristin Shelley said the event is a way for international students to get off campus and realize there's an entire city here at their fingertips. "It's a time for the community to get to know the international students and a time for the international students to get to know all the wonderful things that are in East Lansing," Shelley said. Midway through the event, a brief program featured welcoming remarks by MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, East Lansing Mayor Diane Goddeeris, a representative from the MSU Office of International Students and Scholars and an explanation of future events and programs that will take place this upcoming fall. "I learned from those speeches that there's a lot of conversation events every Wednesday," graduate student Hugo Huang said. "You can come by and have conversations with people to prac-


Khoa Nguyen/ The State News

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon addresses the crowd at the International Welcome event Sunday at the East Lansing Public Library.

tice talking in English. Practice makes perfect." Along with city officials, the East Lansing Police Department and Parking and Code Enforcement, or PACE, came to further explain driving violations, how to handle criminal issues and to inform students that they are always available to help out and answer any questions. Huang, who was concerned about his parking for the event, was able to confirm he was parking in a safe zone and avoided

getting a ticket with a PACE officer. East Lansing police Capt. Jeff Murphy said attending the event is a part of being open, and the police department understands that in different countries the police are sometimes viewed as adversaries. The ELPD wanted to show the new students that it's not that way in East Lansing. "This is a big step in opening up communication,” Murphy said. “It will help us help them make everything a little better.”

A homegrown art gallery nestled in downtown East Lansing celebrated five years of survival and growth Sunday with food, community art projects and camaraderie. Several community members came to join a Celebrating Survival event at Grove Galler y & Studios, 325A Grove St. The event included group participation in a weaving using mixed materials, seeing the upgraded space and enjoying a versatile mix of the 12 members’ latest works. Gretel Rutledge, one of the six founding members of the gallery, said the event was meant to showcase the growth of the group since its inception. “We are just professionalizing more and more. Each year we have grown, expanded and increased

our membership,” Rutledge said. “We are getting more well-known in the community and thriving, which is great, especially through these rough financial times.” People who visit the gallery can observe and purchase hand made soaps, paintings, jewelry, weaving and hand-painted fabric. Deb Cholewicki, the gallery's manager, said what makes the studio so interesting is that it’s one of the few galleries that allows people from the community to come in and see the different stages of their work. “We are not a typical, traditional gallery, and we love that," Cholewicki said. "It’s relaxed and comfy, and members of the community actually get to speak with the artists. We are very organic and there’s a great energy here. And people pick up on that.” T he business' new logo, designed by Stephen Kachmar, was showcased on its updated signage. The logo, along with their tagline “Art in Progress,"

speaks not just to the Grove Street location, but also to the working studios and the collaboration among the artists, who work cooperatively to meet gallery needs and continually inspire each other, members said. “I think artists are ver y adaptive creatures by nature because they are extremely self-driven and optimistic,” said Barbara Hranilovich, who has been a member of the gallery since January. “We want this place to work, so we make it work.” East Lansing Councilmember Kathleen Boyle attended the event and said her favorite piece was “Nightfall” by Boisali Biswas, a guest artist at the gallery. She said she was excited to support artwork created locally. "I'm an artist appreciator," Boyle said. "I really wanted to come to the celebration." The gallery's normal hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.



MSU Breathe Easy:

Tobacco & Nicotine Cessation Program Want to quit smoking? Register to attend a pre-enrollment Orientation:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:30-3:30 pm Olin Health Center, Room 247 Open to MSU faculty, academic/support staff and benefits-eligible dependents. Register by email or by calling 517-353-2596. Do something terrific for yourself, your family, your friends, and MSU – we can help! The MSU Breathe Easy: Tobacco & Nicotine Cessation Program is being offered through a partnership between Human Resources, Olin Health Center, and the Office of the University Physician-Health4U Program.

Explore all of the smoking cessation options at the MSU U Can Quit-We Can Help website: MSU Faculty, Staff, Graduate Student Employees, Retirees and their Spouses/OEIs are eligible to participate in Health4U Program classes and services.

Need More Information? call: 517-353-2596

email: | Michigan State University / University Physician’s Office / Health4U Program

4 | Th e Stat e N e ws | m o nday, S ep t em be r 9, 2 01 3 | state n e


Featured blog Rules of engagement “Being in a committed relationship is based on trust and openness, but does that translate to your social media accounts? When your boyfriend or girlfriend asks for your social media passwords, should you give it to him or her?”

OPinion Column

Classroom learning environment, not pulpit


— Derek Blalock, State News reporter, and Isabella Shaya, State News features editor

Read the rest online at who supports voter ID laws and had just been accused of closet racism feel that Penn was simply offering his opinions? In addition, asking a student to raise his or her hand in defiance of the professor’s obvious bias against the Romneys could not have been perceived as anything other than a bullying tactic. He had just asked students to remember if they I am for the eradication of indoctrination in wanted to be greedy bastards who were rich, the classroom across the political spectrum; such as Mitt Romney, they had to be Mitt Rom- I would have had no trouble filming a far-right ney; if that was not meant to discourage differ- professor acting in the same manner as Penn. ences of opinion, I do not know what it was for. Students invest large sums in their education; I am 100 percent in favor of Penn’s right to and in my opinion, we were not getting our think as he chooses and share his opinions with money’s worth. others in his private life. However, I do not It is time for students to stand up and say believe that the taxpayer-funded pulpit was enough is indeed enough. I believe we have the appropriate place for this tirade. Michigan a responsibility to hold our professors to is home to millions of people who hold count- higher academic standards, encouraging less political philosophies. I cannot see how this us to think for ourselves, and not as they see fit. detrimental and degrading rant could be relatEvan Schrage is a political science sophomore. ed to any topic relevant to the class. Reach him at

itting toward the back of the lecture and the Republican Party. It was around this hall in Wilson Hall that Thursday, I time that I decided to get out my phone and must admit I was a little excited to begin recording. I immediately felt that this begin the IAH 207 course. kind of talk had no business in the classroom. Literatures, Cultures, and Identities, to me, As the video shows, the professor’s monologue dissolved into an unnecessary would be an exploration of classic stories and poetry; however, that first Guest Columnist and uncalled for rant about the politics of the day. He threatened stulecture proved to be more than I bardents who did not share his beliefs, gained for. English professor William stating that he was coming after Penn began to condemn the use of them. Furthermore, he inappropricell phones, which he dubbed “litately referred to Republicans as dead tle toys,” as well as various social or dying white people who “raped media services such as Facebook this country,” then asked students and Twitter. He declared that we as to raise their hands if they wanted young people have forgotten how to to be Mitt Romney (and, by extenthink and that we have become so Evan sion, married to Ann Romney, whom entrenched in our technological lives Schrage he seemed to have a personal venwe have forgotten the true meaning detta against). of communication. I could not believe that such All of this was easily relatable to the course topic, and I found it rather enjoyable remarks were being uttered in the classroom. In to listen to until his remarks became increas- my opinion, it was impossible to say that Penn’s ingly irrelevant. Penn began to attack the tax monologue that day was formulated to promote code of this country and proceeded to mock 2012 open debate or the “free exchange of ideas” that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney the university encourages. How could a student

opinion column

editorial cartoonist

Penn’s style provocative, educational Indoctrinator. Persecutor. Hate- would vote for Mitt Romney. It felt monger. Racist. These titles now like an attack on them, yet I didn’t swirl around English professor raise my hand and tell him that, William Penn’s name, and there’s as he had told us to do whenever a chopped and edited video cir- something offended us. I ignored it. culating that falsely perpetuates I chose not to communicate. Penn often veered from course these claims. I first heard of Penn on an topic into politics and otherwise autumn night during my sopho- if he thought it necessary. He told more year. That night, at a poet- stories. He made jokes. He always ry session, I had asked one of the used language to challenge stufeatured poets a slew of questions dents to question him and dig about creative writing on campus, deeper. Sometimes that language the different groups involved in it was shocking. We studied meaning for much and the professors who taught it. “Take Penn,” the poet said. “He’s of that fiction writing class. Penn a hard-ass, but you’ll actually learn challenged us to look past ourselves and under the surface. He something.” I pressed him, and he cited sev- had a holistic approach to this, eral examples of Penn’s teaching connecting meaningful fiction with how we viewed the world. To style. “Do the work,” he said. “Penn this end, he encouraged students won’t hesitate on calling you to be involved in class as critical thinkers, not mutes or out for slacking, and Opinion dumb devotees of his often he will speak his editor views. mind and say things to He always respectengage students. If you ed student opinions disagree, think about and never singled it and speak up. He’ll them out for believing respect you for it, even opposite him. Arguif he disagrees.” ments between stuI spent the remaindent and teacher, and der of sophomore year student and student, tak ing introductor y Michael kransz courses and university always were grounded in objective critirequirements in lecture cism. If they evolved halls packed with 100 to 300 other students. For many, into personal attacks on students, our mentality going into these the arguments were stopped. The classes was, “I am stuck spend- fiction stories we wrote and dising money on a required class. cussed usually were the subjects How does this material apply to of debate. Before Penn would give his commy life?” If the answer was unclear, we ments on a fiction story, he would shrunk in our seats and doodled, open the discussion to the class. He did homework, texted or surfed was an upfront and honest person, the Internet for the class periods. and his comments displayed this. Most points were earned solely for Students were encouraged to chalshowing up. Most tests were mul- lenge his comments if they thought tiple choice, and the questions on differently and, in doing so, prothem were ripped and reworded ductive debate thrived. To receive from lecture slides that were post- negative feedback was disheartening, but Penn always was willing to ed online. At the start of every class, meet with students, go over cominstructors had a window of ments and discuss ways to improve. He shared insightful views on opportunity to grab their students’ attention before they competed fiction writing and humanity’s with laptops and smartphones. search for meaning, and students To combat this, some professors always were challenged to reach banned laptop and smartphone their own conclusions. Among usage, others engaged students many examples, he taught us that with discussion and humor, and people don’t want to read about some ignored the issue altogether. characters who envy someone’s car The next fall, I had the first because it was expensive or who of two courses with Penn. Class fall in love with someone because was loosely structured and con- they are “cool” or “hot.” These reaversational. It was driven by feed- sons, being cheap and cosmetic, back and questions from students, fade in the long term. He taught us which he encouraged. If students that lasting impressions are unique spoke, the discussions flourished. to each person, such as the way If students failed to speak, the dis- someone’s lip curls when they smile or the way they laugh at your jokes. cussions became Penn’s. A year after that first course, his “Be forewarned,” Penn said to another class during the vid- lessons still echo. Was his teaching ever “inapproeo in question. “I’m eccentric. I hate bureaucracy. I will say what priate, disrespectful and offenI think. I in no way mean to offend sive”? Yes. Did he ever disregard his stuyou. If I do, I’ve said it (before), come up and tell me and I will dents when they told him he was apologize, and I absolutely don’t “inappropriate, disrespectful and offensive”? No. mean to offend you.” And might it have “negative“To have what Mitt Romney has, you have to be Mitt Romney” was ly affected the learning environa general example of character ment”? That question was the stuhe gave to students in the vid- dents’ to ask. Michael Kransz is opinion editor eo, and previously to my fiction writing class. I didn’t follow. My at The State News. Reach him at parents were Republicans. They

Michael Holloway mholloway@

Friday’s poll results JUST SO YOU KNOW

Today’s state news poll

What activities in the Red Cedar River would you participate in? Swimming 9% One 23%

Surfing 8%

Was English professor William Penn’s punishment appropriate? To vote, visit statenews. com.

Fishing 21% Other 10% None, I wouldn’t go in there 52% 0






Total votes: 91 as of 5 p.m. Sunday

Comments from readers

To share your thoughts on this story or any other stories, visit


“Professor who went on anti-Republican rant relieved of teaching duties” “The Trustee’s job is not to stir up more of a reaction on Twitter, or to publicize his personal beliefs on a twitter account that links him to his professional role at MSU. That is part of the problem with Professor Penn’s remarks--not that he has an opinion (everyone is entitled to one), but stating his opinion in his role as a professor was an abuse of power, and inapprioriate in a professional setting. And Trustee Lyon’s complaining about an influx of phone calls and emails (when that is part of his job and what we pay him (a lot of) money to do, is also completely inappropriate and unprofessional.”

“University President Simon,

alexiscarole, Sept. 6

89’ Spartan, Sept. 6

MSU suddenly finds itself as a whipping post for the righteous and mouthy (on both sides). Tons of hateful opinions, good or bad. You have only one option. Actually two, depending on whether he tenders his resignation or refuses and you terminate him. Your kids will holler, but none of them will understand for another 20 years why your move was the correct one. Or you can wait to check and see how the Broads and other potential donors want to handle this.”

We want to hear your thoughts. The State News welcomes letters to the editor. All letters must include your year and major, email address and telephone number. Phone numbers will not be published. Letters should be fewer than 500 words and are subject to editing.

How to reach us Questions? Contact Opinion Editor Michael Kransz at (517) 432-3070. By email; By fax (517) 432-3075; By mail Letters to the Editor, The State News, 435 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing, MI 48823

5 | Th e Stat e N e ws | m on day, se p tem be r 9, 2 01 3

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Features editor Isabella Shaya, Phone (517) 432-3070 Fax (517) 432-3075


Sculpture commemorates former E.L. Leader By Christine LaRouere THE STATE NEWS nn

About 50 community members gathered Friday in front of East Lansing City Hall for the Raising Harmony sculpture dedication in honor of former City Councilmember Mary P. Sharp. Sharp was a council member from 1965 to 1977 and she believed in equality for all East Lansing residents. Sharp was one of the advocates for open housing laws, which she considered a civil right. Her fight for open housing resulted in a ban against discriminatory practices that kept racial minorities from buying a home in East Lansing. Sharp also helped write the original legislation commanding community involvement with suspected child abuse. Sharp, who passed away in February 2006, was the first

the East Lansing’s Art Commission and Mary P. Sharp’s family members. Koppisch said they sent out a call for artists across the U.S. and received more than 30 responses. Then the art selection panel, a group of professional artists in the area appointed by the city council, made recommendations of artists for the rest of the commission to choose. Chosen artist Richard Taylor from Milwaukee said the inspiration behind the sculpture was the diversity Mary P. Sharp strived to bring to the community. "She, of course, was a champion of racial integration, so I thought maybe the theme of diversity would be a good theme," Taylor said. "That is why there are the diverse shapes, and yet those diverse shapes are used in a single composition. There is a metaphor there — many people living together in harmony."

legal counsel on human rights to the MSU president. She served as a member of the Michigan Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, Greater Lansing Urban League and other community and state organizations. Mary Sharp, daughter of Mary P. Sharp, was the main family member involved in the sculpture project. "It was overwhelming when the family found out they wanted to create a statue in honor of our mother," she said. "The second (request for proposal) brought in this more exciting combination of things that had more personality and potential for nailing the essence of my mom." Among the people in attendance were Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Michael Harrison, who came up with the initial idea to have a dedication, East Lansing Mayor Diane Goddeeris, Michael Koppisch, representative of

Danyelle Morrow/The State News

Milwaukee resident and sculpture artist Richard Taylor hugs East Lansing resident Mary Sharp after a ribbon cutting ceremony of the Raising Harmony sculpture in honor of Sharp’s mother and former Councilmember Mary P. Sharp on Friday in front of City Hall.

After driving with his wife f rom Milwaukee w it h t he sculpture strapped on a trailer behind a pickup truck, Tay-

Comedian Aziz Ansari engages full audience THE STATE NEWS nn

Almost every seat was filled on Friday night when comedian and actor Aziz Ansari performed at the Wharton Center. The "Parks and Recreation" star was brought by the Residence Halls Association, or RHA. The show sold out the about 2,300 seats, with 2,000 of those seats filled by students, Russell James, director of special events for RHA, said. Tickets were available to students for $20 and $30 for the public. "I'm super appreciative when colleges bring me out," said Ansari during the show. Ansari’s set focused primarily on the quirks of relationships and the impact technology has on budding romances. Ansari implemented audience interaction into his set, calling upon several audience members. He took one audience member’s phone in a set about first texts and, with his permission, read all of his text messages out loud. At one point, the phone died and Ansari found a charger just to continue the gimmick. Audience members were wholeheartedly engaged and became invested in the show. Ansari also accepted requests from audience members where

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they would suggest a topic that he had not spoken on before and then would improvise on it. In this show, the topic was ex-girlfriends. Sonam Sethi, a history, philosophy and sociology of science junior, was chosen by Ansari to act out a hypothetical text conversation. “That made my heart beat so fast because I was thinking on the spot,” Sethi said afterward. Sethi said she also appreciated that he didn’t perform old material that she already saw on YouTube and incorporated improvisational work. Up-and-coming comedian Josh Rabinowitz opened for Ansari, using a self-deprecating style of humor. "Basically, I'm a collage of the least sexy moments in a man's life," Rabinowitz said during his stand-up. Alwin David, Lyman Briggs freshman, said his favorite aspect of the show was how Ansari made his act relatable to students. "It was really funny, he had everyone (laughing) in the crowd," David said. "Everything he talked about was different aspects of college life (and) everything he talked about was all the different things everyone has done." Ansari left the audience with a standing ovation.


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designed the base and then worked with landscape architects who designed the surroundings," Taylor said.


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lor said he was happy with how it was all set up. "A crane met us here and I worked with an engineer who

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Aries (March 21-April 19) Today is a 5 — Mercury enters Libra, and for almost a month, expert assistance provides ease. Build your partnerships. Set long-term goals, scheduling with discipline. Explore a long-distance opportunity. Payment is not always in cash. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Today is a 6 — Prepare to compromise and streamline your routine. Show that you know what you’re doing. You’re in line for a bonus, despite an awkward moment. Fall back on tradition. Gemini (May 21-June 20) Today is a 7 — Get practical work done. Your intelligence is attractive. You’re gaining valuable experience. Reducing power works better. Move carefully to avoid injury. Keep track of the money you’re considering spending. Cancer (June 21-July 22) Today is a 6 — Romance grows. It’s getting easier to communicate at home. Don’t ask for favors. Slow down to avoid accidents. If

controversy arises, get the family to help. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Today is a 6 — For about three weeks, you learn with ease. Review the basics. Choose what’s best for all. It’s not a good time to travel or make a big purchase. Plan a luxurious evening at home. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Today is a 5 — A solution to an old problem is becoming obvious. Creative work profits for the next month. Your team takes the prize. Keep your tone respectful. Mistakes may occur. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Today is a 7 — Figure out finances. This coming month, you’re extra-intellectual. Excite your partner with a challenge. Check the rules. Do the research. Cut entertainment spending, even as you win a new assignment. Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) Today is a 7 — You’re immensely confident, with the Moon in your sign. Organization gets easier, and

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Today is a 5 — Traveling isn’t as easy. Look at a breakdown as a challenge, and stick to your budget. For the next month, let the group decide. Relax. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Today is a 5 — Pass along what you’ve learned. For the next month, talk about what works (with Mercury in Libra). Do your part as well. It takes patience with breakdowns, especially today. Take it easy. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Today is a 5 — Assume more responsibility. For the next month, keep legal issues in mind. Distant goals are attainable. Fine-tune and edit your work. Provide facts.Take care. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) Today is a 6 — Venture farther. For the next month, develop logical plans for sharing resources. Consider traditions. Imagine perfection, and forgive mistakes. Be methodical in the face of frustration. A partner opts in.










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state n e | The State N ews | mon day, se ptemb er 9, 2013 |


Sports defensive dominance wins another



sports editor Matt Sheehan, Phone (517) 432-3070 Fax (517) 432-3075

spartan football

Stephen Brooks

Defense can’t be only point producers Max Bullough was refreshingly honest Saturday evening when asked if his defense could maintain its elite performance and surprising point production throughout the season. “No, I don’t think so,” he said with a laugh. The senior linebacker had just finished helping lead MSU to a 21-6 win against South Florida in which his defense scored two touchdowns for the second straight week. As a second-year captain, Bullough is an unofficial spokesperson for the Spartans’ program, and following another feeble showing from MSU’s offense, he could have said a variety of statements. He could have sugar-coated it and rambled on about how the Spartans will absolutely continue this pace of scoring twice a game on defense. He could have dodged it with a nondescript patting of the back. Instead, Bullough was just honest. And he is right, which means MSU’s offense has to start giving the defense a hand sooner rather than later. It’s not remotely realistic to expect the defense to save the day every game, nor is it fair. If not for dominating efforts and a pair of touchdowns in each of the first two weeks, there

would have been no guarantee that MSU would have won both games against overwhelming underdogs. As impressive as this Spartan defense has been so far, the other side of the ball has been equally lackluster. Responsible for just two of MSU’s six touchdowns this season, the offensive unit needs drastic improvement. MSU has held each of its first two opponents to less than 100 rushing yards, but that production is nearly negated when the Spartans have yet to throw for 100 yards in either game. “The offense is going to get better, and I think that we do need that,” Bullough said. “We need our offense to keep improving and keep getting better. I think they showed spurts of that today.” An extremely favorable schedule coupled with this defense could provide a recipe for MSU’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988 — that is, if the offense can form even a slight semblance of consistency and production. The most promising development from Saturday’s offensive showing was that we actually saw different people, regardless of how they performed. MSU essentially wasted a top-10 defense in 2012 by placing faith in the same group of unproductive players en route to a 7-6 season. For 14 straight games, head coach Mark Dantonio went with senior Andrew Maxwell as his starting quarterback. On Saturday, however, Dantonio opted to give sophomore Connor Cook the first start of his career, while also starting sophomore Macgarrett Kings Jr. over senior Bennie Fowler at wide receiver.

More online … To read more on MSU’s struggles on offense, visit

Passes defended by MSU’s defense this season, the most among FBS schools.

Calhoun, defense spark another fire in MSU’s 21-6 win over South Florida By Dillon Davis THE STATE NEWS nn

Fifty-six yards. That’s the amount of yards it took sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun upon picking off a third-quarter pass thrown by South Florida quarterback Bobby Eveld to find his way into the end zone for the second time that day. That’s the play that’s propelled Calhoun into the national discussion, earning him the distinction by defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi as MSU’s “running back on defense.” And most importantly for the Spartans, it’s the exact moment that ignited the football team, assuring a day of subpar offense would not end in anything less than a victory. Despite another day of flipflopping at the quarterback position leading to only 265 total yards of offense, the defense again carried the weight of the team’s scoring and led MSU to a 21-6 win against USF. After another day of relative offensive ineptitude, head coach Mark Dantonio said the team has been embracing a family mentality to overcome the shortcomings. “We don’t pit the offense against the defense and the quarterbacks against the quarterbacks,” Dantonio said. “People are pretty selfless in the way they approach things. Just like any family, when one part of that family is struggling, that other aspect of that family is going to come to their support.”

Georgina De Moya /The State News

Sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun, 89, junior defensive end Marcus Rush, 44 and senior linebacker Denicos Allen, 28, celebrate a touchdown during their 21-6 win over South Florida.

Calhoun now has scored three across the country. “He’s a fast, athletic guy touchdowns in the first two who deserves everygames — one more than the team’s thing he’s been giv“We don’t ent ire of fense en,” Allen said. pit the has scored. It “He’s been working hard and it’s craalso serves as a offense reminder of the zy to know that a against the strength of the defensive end has team’s defense, three touchdowns defense...” — it’s more than a which national–Football head coach, Mark lot of players on the ly ranks in team Dantonio team.” sacks (eight, fourth Sophomore quarterin the nation) and interceptions (four, tied for ninth in back Connor Cook was given the the nation). start on Saturday, ending weeks After the game, many of Cal- of speculation and snapping a houn’s teammates, including string of 14 consecutive starts by senior linebacker Denicos Allen, senior Andrew Maxwell. Cook said Calhoun’s speed separates split time in the first half with him from many defensive ends redshirt freshman Tyler O’Connor,


each struggling to strike a distinctive chord with the offense. Coming out of halftime, Maxwell returned to the starting position and navigated the offense through much of the third quarter before Cook took the reins for the remainder of the game. Finishing 6-for-11 passing for 32 yards, as none of the quarterbacks topped 100 yards in the game, Cook said the offense continues to make progress despite the poor result. “It is a work in progress and it is just the beginning for our offense,” Cook said. “We are getting better each and every week and as long as we get better I think we will be ready for Big Ten play.”



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