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Michigan State’s Independent Voice

WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE From pay discrepancies to sexual harassment, how women persevere through gender oppression in male-dominated careers PAGES 6-7




Fall 2020: Semester in review

MSU signs contract with NextEra Energy for 20 MW solar array

Trust, benevolence and the impacts of coaching

Fall 2020 was a semester that was different from any other. Read the recaps of the biggest stories

Michigan State’s next steps in sustainability

Walt Drenth’s 30+ years of coaching cross country has changed him and his athletes




T U ES DAY, D ECE M B E R 8 , 2020



APPLY TODAY! BE A STATE NEWS BOARD DIRECTOR 2020-2022 The Board establishes the policies and budget of The State News. Members attend monthly meetings during the academic year and serve two-year terms.

Professionals, MSU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to apply “I joined the board as a freshman at MSU. I am glad to be a part of an organization that touches the lives of all MSU students. Providing a unique voice and perspective is important to me.” Nama Naseem YOUR NEWS • YOUR VOICE • YOUR WAY


State News Board of Directors



Apply Today at Deadline for applying is Friday, December 11th, 2020 at 5:00 pm Interviews will be Friday, December 18th, 2020. 2



The State News

Vol. 111 | No. 9





ART DIRECTOR Genna Barner COPY CHIEF Mark Ostermyer AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITOR Sophia Kalakailo CITY EDITOR Kaishi Chhabra CULTURE EDITOR Devin Anderson-Torrez SPORTS EDITOR Jayna Bardahl PHOTO EDITOR Alyte Katilius MULTIMEDIA Tessa Osborne DESIGN Hope Ann Flores Emily Maze Maddie Monroe

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GENERAL MANAGER Christopher Richert ADVERTISING M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University every other Tuesday during the academic year. News is updated seven days a week at State News Inc. is a private, nonprofit corporation. Its current 990 tax form is available for review upon request at 435 E. Grand River Ave. during business hours. One copy of this newspaper is available free of charge to any member of the MSU community. Additional copies $0.75 at the business office only. Copyright © 2020 State News Inc., East Lansing, Michigan Cover illustrated by Emily Maze

ABOVE: Graduate student guard Joshua Langford (1) blocks a shot attempt from Western Michigan’s Rafael Cruz Jr. in the second half. The Spartans came back in the second half to end the game against the Broncos, 79-61, on Dec. 6. Photo by Lauren DeMay


RIGHT: Junior forward Gabe Brown (44) jumps to block a shot from Western Michigan’s B.Artis White (3) in the first half of the game on Dec. 6. Photo by Lauren DeMay

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T U ES DAY, DECE M B ER 8 , 2020




The State News fall 2020 diversity report Staff Racial/Ethnic Breakdown compared to MSU

•Issue recommendations for the spring 2021 semester and beyond •Our newsroom staff will continue to act on improving these metrics, and our efforts will be further outlined below


The State News newsroom staff consisted of 47 MSU students. Forty-three of these students responded to a staff demographic survey. During the fall 2020 semester, 79.1% of the staff, or 34 people, self-identified as white. The 12 other staff members self-identified as follows: •7% Black •7% Hispanic or Latinx •7% Asian or Asian American •2.3% Indian or Indian American •2.3% Middle Eastern •2.3% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Michigan State University reported that the student population was 74.4% white in fall 2019, which equals about 32,865 students. Students of color made up 24.2%. Of that, •7.9% were Black •5.7% were Hispanic or Latinx •6.8% were Asian or Asian American •0.1% were Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

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By The State News Diversity Team This year was rife with change, and The State News is changing with it. For the first time in our 111-year history, we are publishing a semesterly diversity report to assess how we represent our student audience. Newsroom diversity is an age-old problem that has been analyzed for generations but without much progress. It’s a difficult problem to tackle, partly because of implicit and explicit comfort zones people need to break, but also because the solution is never complete. There is always more and better work to do to provide representative storytelling. This report serves as a model for each semester that follows, where State News editors break down data points about our staff and our reporting to guide how we expand our student reach. Our guiding metric is to report stories that are relatable with a wide range of lived perspectives to steer both coverage and hiring decisions. This also provides the Michigan State community an understanding of the backgrounds of students who bring you daily news coverage. We believe it is imperative to recognize the biases in all aspects of the newsroom in order to continue to engage and represent the diverse community that relies on us for all things MSU.


The State News developed a diversity team this fall, comprised of our editor in chief, managing editor, culture editor and internally elected diversity and inclusion representative, created to set goals and act toward a set of goals including: •Constructing an assessment of newsroom performance reflected in this report •A demographic breakdown of who was hired compared to the overall student population •Identifying new content areas to explore while guiding story development in these areas

MSU didn’t indicate specific percentages for Indian, Indian American or Middle Eastern students. The State News staff is majorly femaleidentifying, with 27 female-identifying members compared to 15 male-identifying staff members. One staff member identified as transgender or non-binary. In terms of sexuality, 33 staff members identified as heterosexual, while 8 identified as bisexual, homosexual or asexual. Two staff members who responded to the survey did not report their sexuality. Only one respondent is an international student at MSU. Seven staff members are outof-state students, leaving the remaining 35 staff members as in-state students. Also, about 67% of staff members don’t identify as first generation students, while about 33% do. Among class status, The State News is fairly equally split between sophomores (30.2%), juniors (25.6%) and seniors (30.2%). Freshmen account for only 11.6% of the staff, and fifthyear or more students account for 2.3%.


It is recommended that The State News prioritizes hiring voices of color as it proceeds with future hiring. Meaning, there should be a strong focus on recruiting students that represent marginalized communities on campus. This includes but is not limited to African American students, International students, Latinx students and Asian students. It is also recommended that The State News hires students whose ideology might be different from the majority of the staff. Meaning, The State News should focus on hiring those who might identify as Republican or Independent. Along with the first two recommendations, The State News should also prioritize hiring students who identify with the LGBTQ community as well as a variety of religious groups to ensure that the paper reaches all audiences.


The State News published 611 new stories on between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1. This includes everything from our city, campus, culture and sports sections as well as opinion stories, guest columns and editorials. One of the ways we can analyze our coverage


Staff Year at MSU Breakdown Fifth year or more - 1

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This fall, we launched the Culture Desk in an effort to find unique angles typically undercovered in our city and campus sections. This spring, the Culture Desk will expand and include more specific roles, including a reporting position for minority affairs. For decades, our staff has internally elected a diversity and inclusion representative at the beginning of each semester. Also starting in spring 2021, this will be a paid position with a greater editorial responsibility than has previously existed. This individual, newly hired each semester, will coordinate with newsroom leadership to plan and initiate diversity goals within and throughout the newsroom. The individual in the position will continue to hold a spot on the State News editorial board. In addition to strengthening relationships with minority student organizations on MSU’s campus, this position will help guide our progress in achieving more representative coverage. In order to create representative coverage, we need to keep track of what we’re publishing and who we’re talking to. Upper level journalism classes already have a model for documenting the demographic information for sources interviewed. With a hired diversity and inclusion coordinator, we

believe we can follow our reporting patterns in real-time for the generations of State News staff members that succeed us. We recognize that as a student newspaper, we are too comfortable in our reporting. Our everyday coverage of breaking news, sports, university administration, student government, state government and more brings valuable information to our audience, mainly the students of Michigan State University. However, our coverage on the unique subcultures of the MSU student body is sporadic and short lived. It’s not good enough. Going forward, we will connect with members of marginalized groups on a more regular basis. We will put more effort to cover issues pertaining to these groups without the pretext of breaking news or protests. We recognize that inclusion and diversity in our coverage can only happen when we invite outside voices to weigh in on issues that matter to all students. This means we must be more persistent. Our goal for the next semester and beyond is to develop a more trusting relationship between our minority sources and The State News. We are dedicated to listening to a wider range of student concerns, perspectives and questions. We recognize that part of the battle lays in increasing the diversity of our newsroom staff. Having more voices contributing to the discussion of inclusion is the best way to ensure all voices are heard. Staff members will participate in an implicit bias and microaggression training at the start of each semester as part of our training process. This presentation, led by the diversity representative, will educate both new and veteran reporters on their different biases and how to avoid letting it affect the content they produce. The State News most importantly wants to continue to be and improve at being authentic. Change only comes from real conversations with open ears. Making room for discussions about diversity means acknowledging your blind spots and actively working to improve them. We are dedicated to improving these areas and more as they arise. The State News Diversity Team consists of Editor-in-Chief Evan Jones, Managing Editor SaMya Overall, Culture Desk Editor Devin Anderson-Torrez, and Diversity and Inclusion Rep. Di’Amond Moore.


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Bread Bites Mediterranean Cuisine & Bakery is to inspect the tags we use for each published article. This comes with limitations because each article has multiple tags. Nevertheless, mapping our most frequentlyused tags can paint a picture of the overall trends in our reporting, specifically, where our comfort zones lie. Out of tags that were used 10 times or more "coronavirus" and "football" were used most frequently. What’s clear is that we have a strong bias for government and sports reporting. (To see the chart, visit In a year of uncertainty, scheduled meetings and sporting events provide structure that is easier to follow. There is also more opinionated and analytical content attached to sports than other sections, hence why "football" has such a large share of tag usage. While these 22 tags have the highest frequency with 10 or more, out of 385 unique tags, 309 of them were used only once or twice. This spring, State News articles should have fewer and clearer tags to remove redundancy in tracking this data, as well as a real-time tracking system so that this system is clearer to the newsroom as the semester progresses.

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The woes of womanhood in the modern workplace Female-identifying students, staff recall the struggles they faced based on their gender identities By Dina Kaur


uman biology sophomore Emma Proctor has wanted to be a doctor for a long time, following in her father's footsteps. “I think it’s really interesting, and there’s so much to learn about it and that’s my main motivation,” Proctor said. “There’s always new things being discovered, and that really interests me.” Her pursuit of becoming a doctor comes with roadblocks, however. Proctor said she has already experienced small instances of gender inequality. When she’s in a lab group with men, for example, she’s noticed how they’ll try to take it over and not

acknowledge the women. Other times, Proctor said she’d ask a simple question and have a guy answer in more detail than necessary to show he knows a lot more Emma Proctor than he thinks she does. Though men dominate the field of medicine, Proctor isn’t afraid. “It’s definitely something to think about just in terms of opportunities," Proctor said. "It will be a little harder, but I’m not necessarily afraid of it. I know it will be a little more challenging." The U.S. Department of Labor 2019 data shows that women across the board, earn on average 85% of what men do. This gap is present also within specific fields, particularly STEM fields. According to a study by the Society of Women Engineers, women in engineering make around 85% of what men in engineering make. This is also an intersectional issue where further layers of identity that women possess lead to different outcomes. According to the same study, a Black woman earns 87% of a white woman’s salary and 62% of a white man’s salary in STEM fields. Hispanic women earn 85% of white women’s salaries and 61% of white men’s salaries in the same field. T h e s e discrepancies extend into nonSTEM fields as well. Current and former awardwinning female journalists filed a federal lawsuit against the Detroit Free Press in 2017 because they claimed the newspaper underpaid

Illustrations by Emily Maze 6



them for years. Mansplaining The lawsuit specified that male assistant is part of these editors had a median wage that was $7.62 per microaggressions. hour more than female median wage. Male Nawyn said that photographers made $4.04 more per hour because these than female photographers. Male reporters incidents are made a median wage of $2.03 more than consistent, over female reporters. Male web designers have a time it creates this median wage that is $2.85 per hour more than sense that they’re females' median wage. It also showed that not being taken female employees’ wages grew at a slower rate Stephanie Nawyn seriously, their over time compared to male employee wages. contributions are not Another study showed that The Washington valued and that their expertise is not respected. Post also paid women employees in its Nawyn said the COVID-19 pandemic has newsroom less than men. Disparities in median played a big role in women's lives, as they salaries are the greatest among employees are taking on the burden of this pandemic. under 40. Research has shown that since the pandemic MSU Professor Joanne Gerstner, who focuses started, women have been less productive in on sports journalism, said the public questions their careers than their male counterparts. her ability to do her job more than athletes and “... Men across the board, across different coaches. occupations, the majority of them report that “Because being a journalist means you're they like working at home,” Nawyn said. “It not just at work but you also have the public gives them more ability to get work done. A looking at your work, you've got a lot of minority of women say that.” different ways people can judge you,” Gerstner Currently, women are going from fullsaid. time workers to part-time Childcare is another obstacle or quitting entirely because for women in the workplace. they simply cannot manage Gerstner said that if she was the balance of caring for their a Michigan State football and young children or helping basketball beat writer for any kids through online schools of the major newspapers, and also doing their jobs. there is no place where she Nawyn said she believes can drop off her kids and do this pandemic will have a her job. long term effect on women’s One positive Gerstner sees careers. With many slowing about joining the world of down or pulling out of the sports journalism right now labor market altogether, is that the doors are wide women are going to lose open for women. To her, every opportunities for promotions generation of women that and raises resulting in more have come since the 1970s raises for men. has opened more doors for Sexual harassment is also others. an issue. Nawyn said she “The best employers, the Cristina DeJong experiences very overt sexual people you want to work harassment at MSU and in Associate professor in MSU’s other places. for, will make these changes School of Criminal Justice and make a better workplace Nawyn also said she because they want your believes it is hard for people talent,” Gerstner said. “And to stay ignorant on these women are talented, and issues, especially with social educated and going to college more than ever movements like #MeToo and #Sayhername, a so you know what, let’s go get it.” movement created to bring light to the police Intersections between race, gender violence against women of color, especially identity and sex play a factor in workplace African American women. discrimination for women. Patrick Arnold, an academic specialist and Stephanie Nawyn, an associate professor in adviser in the women and gender studies MSU’s Department of Sociology and co-director program, pursued workplace discrimination of academic programs at the Center for Gender toward women due to its prevalence in his in Global Context, said that by identifying as hometown. a woman, she experiences various kinds of Arnold said that living in a suburb of Detroit discrimination. However, by being a white showed him from a young age the amount woman, she experiences a lot fewer problems of racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ attitudes than her women colleagues of color. surrounding him. Getting to study women and Additionally, her transgender and non-binary gender was eye-opening for him. colleagues experience a great deal more According to Pew Research, about a third of discrimination and oppression than she does. women in STEM think that sexual harassment

“The most effective strategy I’ve seen to making equality in the workplace is for women to bring lawsuits against their employers and to some extent also blast it on social media.”

S POT L I G H T is a problem in their workplace. When they’re in male dominated workplaces, that number jumps to 50%. “One of the reasons why I say it’s such a privilege to work in this field is getting to learn from ... educators, feminist women in fields like academia who can be a voice for how to stop those practices,” Arnold said. Associate professor in MSU’s School of Criminal Justice Cristina DeJong said most of her work centers around criminal behavior and the justice system's response to people based on their gender. DeJong said it’s very unfortunate that a significant amount of Cristinia DeJong harassment happens on college campuses. Anybody can be a victim of harassment from professors all the way to students. Evidence of harassment is everywhere. From more widely-known cases of sexual assault like that of ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar, to smaller instances between professors and students, female-identifying students might feel pressured to go along because their grade, position on a team or title is at stake. DeJong said her passion for her work comes from her own experiences. As an undergraduate student, a professor sexually harassed her. As she learned more about criminal justice in graduate school, she read about how women are treated differently in the justice system. Unfortunately, DeJong said colleges and universities don’t seem willing to punish people for harassment. She said that taking action is effective in bringing workplace equality. “The most effective strategy I’ve seen to making equality in the workplace is for women to bring lawsuits against their employers and to some extent also blast it on social media,” she said. Another way to make meaningful change is to put women in positions of power in companies and at universities, DeJong said. Typically, harassment continues in the workplace because supervisors allow it to continue, and she said she thinks the more women are in higher positions, the less likely those things are to be ignored. “I think women can rise above by moving up in their companies, but they have to be companies that allow that," DeJong said. "Because of sexual discrimination there are still a lot of women who can’t get promoted who deserve it." She sees that we still have a lot of work to do and one of the problems that occur in the workplace is that women, when they complain about harassment, many times are punished for complaining. “And so there are probably women reading this article thinking, 'I have been harassed. I should report it, but I’m afraid I might lose my job' and unfortunately, the reality is that they might,” DeJong said. “So, I think that one of the best things that women can do if they’re in a workplace and they are harassed is to make sure they know their rights. They can contact organizations such as the EEOC, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” Arnold also said that one of the validating things that men can do in these situations is call the harassment out. For example, he said that if they see a female student or colleague

interrupted to speak up or refer back to them. "... Use your privilege of being a confident white male to validate the experience of others," Arnold said. Erin Graham, an assistant professor in the department of history, teaches women’s studies courses at MSU. She pursued this area of study to learn more about the challenges women face, and how they Erin Graham work collectively and individually to help create a better world. Graham said that the best way to incite real change is to not just be a bystander. MSU has groups like the Women’s Committee for Support Staff and Womyn’s Council to support female-identifying students with issues of harassment and discrimination through mentoring. “I think it's important that when we see acts of injustice, when we see something, when we see somebody doing somebody wrong, that we speak up,” Graham said. “Collectively, these acts — like being willing to not be a bystander, standing up, speaking out — can create cultural shifts that result in better policies and workplace conditions for all.”

DEFINING GENDER INEQUALITY GENDER PAY GAP: the difference between the amounts of money paid to women and men, often for doing the same work, according to Cambridge Dictionary. HARASSMENT: Unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, according to the EEOC. MANSPLAINING: What occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more than the person he’s talking to, according to Merriam-Webster. #METOO: A movement calling attention to the frequency with which primarily women and girls experience sexual assault and harassment, according to Merriam-Webster. SEXUAL HARASSMENT: According to the EEOC, sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This constitutes sexual harassment when it explicitly or implicitly affects and individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with and individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

T U ES DAY, DECE MBE R 8 , 2020





This semester at Michigan State University was different than any other. Despite only housing a fraction of its total student population, MSU was home to plenty of news this fall. Here’s what happened. By Wendy Guzman

LEFT: Left to right, education senior Emma Barnes, studio art senior Nora Lincoln, and graphic design senior Zoya Shevchenko study on their balcony Sept. 4. Photo by Annie Barker


MSU’s fall semester looked different this year. With an almost entirely remote semester announced 10 days before move-in, only 2,500 students moved onto campus during welcome weekend. Traditional welcome week events like fall convocation and Sparticipation were held remotely with low turn-outs and technical difficulties defining the events.

RIGHT: Kappa Kappa Gamma’s sorority house put under mandated quarantine as on Sept. 17. Photo by Lauren DeMay BELOW: Julian Stainback, a RHS employee, in his uniform on his last day of work before the furlough begins on October 8. Photo by Lauren Snyder


On Sept. 1, MSU released an update pertaining to institutional reforms required by an agreement with MSU and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights last year, which found more than 40 individuals might have received notice of complaints regarding exMSU doctor Larry Nassar’s decades of sexual abuse and the misconduct of Nassar’s boss, ex-College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel. Former and current MSU staff that could have potentially had notice of complaint or concern involving Strampel that are being further investigated include: Former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, who resigned in January 2018. Her charges were dropped over the summer. Former Provost June Youatt, who resigned from her role in September 2019 and now serves as a consultant for MSU’s international studies and programs. Youatt will retire from MSU effective Dec. 31, 2021. Former Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Human Resources Terry Curry, who remains a tenured faculty member. Former Associate Dean Kari Hortos, who currently has an unpaid volunteer clinical appointment with MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Former Assistant Professor and Associate Director Elizabeth Petsche, who resigned from MSU on Feb. 2, 2019. Former Associate Chairperson, Radiology, Thomas Cooper, retired from 8

MSU Aug. 31, 2018. Cooper is currently employed as a consultant in MSU’s Office of Planning and Budget. The report on Nassar states that two more former or current employees of MSU are being further investigated as a part of the review include: Dr. Gary Stollak, former MSU professor who retired in 2010. Strampel, who was convicted of two counts of willful neglect of duty and felony misconduct of a public official for allowing Nassar to continue to see patients while an investigation during 2014 was pending. He was also convicted because he did not enforce protocols resulting from a 2014 investigation. In February 2018, MSU didn’t allow Strampel to return from medical leave while also revoking his right to receive benefits typically received upon retirement.


staffing levels. Other local East Lansing businesses, like Espresso Royale, Blaze Pizza and Quality Donuts, closed as a result of the pandemic.

People pick up their items at the Dairy Store on its last day of walk-up operation on Sept. 11. Photo by Annie Barker


On Sept. 2, Michigan State announced the MSU Dairy Store would be pausing operations until further notice, and it remains unclear when they will reopen. Similarly, over the summer Wilson dining hall announced it will be permanently closing due to COVID-19’s financial impact and budgetary restrictions, as well as anticipated



At their Sept. 11 meeting, the MSU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to remove Stephen Nisbet’s name from the human resources building, due to his discovered involvement with the Ku Klux Klan. The board received pushback from Nisbet’s family since they claimed the university did not complete the investigation fully.


Provost accepted


Denise new

position at the City University of New York as interim vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, returning to her alma mater after 15 years at Michigan State. Maybank’s duties went to Vice President for Auxiliary Affairs Vennie Gore.


In September, 11 MSU fraternities voted against a temporary prohibition, or moratorium, of certain social events during the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium required a two-thirds majority and did not pass. A week later, 30 large houses in East Lansing with known exposure to COVID-19 were issued a mandatory quarantine for two weeks, including 23 fraternity and sorority houses. Eleven more were later added.

President of the MSU Beta Zeta chapter of Theta Chi Ryan Welch said he and other fraternity presidents were “blindsided” by the health department’s order to quarantine, as they were only notified by an email from Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail. The Interfraternity Council reinstituted a re-vote on Sept. 20, where the moratorium later passed unanimously.

Head Coach Mel Tucker on Nov. 14. Photo by Alyte Katilius



On Sept. 16, the Big Ten Conference announced it would be bringing back football for the 2020 season, allowing newly hired MSU head coach Mel Tucker to begin his first season with the Spartans. The Big Ten decided to postpone the season back in August. MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. was among the presidents who unanimously voted for the return after they were told of the availability of rapid testing.


Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) furloughed 700 MSU student employees at the end of September. RHS justified the leaves because they did not have enough work or income to maintain all student positions. The announcement was made only 13 days before the leave began. Many members of the community including the James Madison Student Senate (JMSS) and Spartan Solidarity Network condemned the furloughs, which left student workers with minimal options. JMSS also released a statement demanding rehires and apologies to the students.


Although COVID-19 case numbers lowered in the area, cases began rising with the return of students to East Lansing. Cases of COVID-19 reached more than 9,100 in Ingham County by Dec. 1. Ingham County residents have spent nearly all of 2020 under restrictive orders from high-level health officials.

LEFT: Running back Connor Heyward (11) scores the game-winning touchdown for Michigan State in Ann Arbor, MI on Oct. 31. Photo by Alyte Katilius

state law, including a discovered plot to kidnap Whitmer. An eighth individual was later charged as well. Whitmer received support from groups at the Capitol later that day.


The Office of the Provost announced a satisfactory/ non-satisfactory grading system for fall 2020 and spring 2021. The threshold between S and NS will be 1.0. Grades of 0.0 will automatically be converted to NS. The Associated Students of Michigan State University introduced the system in response to a previous credit/ no credit option where students who earn below a 2.0 have the option to have their grade converted to NR-C.

BELOW: A Biden supporter and Trump supporter take turns speaking on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol on Nov. 7. Primarily Trump supporters, but a few Biden supporters, flocked to the Michigan State Capitol after Joe Biden was deemed the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Photo by Annie Barker


MSU announced their plan to hold around 400 in-person classes for spring 2021, allowing more students to live on campus, and no spring break. To make up for the days off, the university later announced four days without classes during the spring semester, on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 2-3 and Thursday and Friday, April 22–23. April 22 and 23 are the last days of the spring semester.


Associate Provost, Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at Northwestern University Jabbar Bennett was selected as MSU’s inaugural vice president and chief diversity officer (CDO) on Oct. 6. The CDO will be at the level of vice president for the first time in the university’s history and will report directly to Stanley.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer attends a canvass launch event in Lansing. Photo by Alyte Katilius


On Oct. 8, seven individuals were charged by the Attorney General’s office for acts of terrorism under Michigan

The Rock, located on Farm Lane, is painted to show support against cutting the MSU Swim & Dive program on Oct. 26. Photo by Lauren DeMay


On Oct. 22, MSU athletics announced that the university will no longer sponsor men’s and women’s swimming and diving as varsity sports after the 2020-21 season. Athletic Director Bill Beekman and Stanley said the department projected a best-case scenario shortfall of more than $30 million in revenue this school year. All scholarships for studentathletes will be honored beyond this season for any student-athletes who choose to finish their undergraduate degree at MSU.


Tucker became the first head coach in MSU history to win over the University of Michigan in his first season, 27-24 on Halloween. Prior to the game, certain parts of East Lansing were limited to 10 people for outdoor gatherings. After the game, hundreds of students gathered throughout the city to celebrate the victory with couch burnings. The city totaled 11 gathering fines, 24 fires and two arrests.


After days of voter verification,

Biden formally won Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, further securing his victory over President Donald Trump. In the Michigan and East Lansing area, Sen. Gary Peters kept his U.S. Senate seat. He carried a majority in Ingham County. Rep. Elissa Slotkin won reelection in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, which covers Ingham, Oakland and Livingston counties. Republican Pat O’Keefe and Democrat Rema Vassar secured the two open positions on the MSU Board of Trustees. The two surpassed incumbent Brian Mosallam and Republican Tonya Schuitmaker.


Spartan basketball alumni Xavier Tillman and Cassius Winston were both awaiting their selection in the 2020 NBA Draft. Tillman was drafted in the second round at No. 35 overall, a pick the Sacramento Kings agreed to trade to the Memphis Grizzlies. Winston was picked at No. 53 by Oklahoma City, who agreed to send the pick to Washington.


After a semester of uncertainty, winter sports were finally able to begin their 2020-2021 seasons. MSU hockey began their season Nov. 13 against Arizona State, with a 1-1 tie. Women’s basketball

T U ES DAY, DECE MBE R 8 , 2020

dominated St. Francis on Nov. 17, 77-44. Men’s basketball opened their season against Eastern Michigan, winning 83-67.


After skyrocketing cases and hospitalization in the state, Whitmer announced new COVID-19 restrictions in the state, which included closing indoor dining at bars and restaurants, in-person learning for high schools, colleges and universities, and other indoor recreational activities starting Wednesday, Nov. 18 and lasting for three weeks, until Dec. 9.





University signs contract with NextEra Energy for 20 MW solar array

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All Saints Episcopal Church 800 Abbot Rd. (517) 351-7160 Sun. Worship: 8am, 10am, & 5pm Sunday School: 10am Ascension Lutheran Church 2780 Haslett Road East Lansing (517) 337-9703 Sunday worship: 10:00am Sunday Bible study: 8:45am Thursday Bible study: 2:00pm Crossway Multinational Church 4828 Hagadorn Rd. (Across from Fee Hall) (517) 917-0498 Sun: 10:00am Greater Lansing Church of Christ 310 N. Hagadorn Rd. (Meet @ University Christian Church) (517) 898-3600 Sun: 8:45am Worship, 10am Bible Class Wed: 1pm, Small group bible study www.greaterlansing Hillel Jewish Student Center 360 Charles St. (517) 332-1916 Shabbat – Services@ 6pm / dinner @ 7, September–April instagram: @msuhillel

The Islamic Society of Greater Lansing 920 S. Harrison Rd. (517) 351-4309 Friday Services: 12:15-12:45pm & 1:45-2:15pm For prayer times visit Martin Luther Chapel Lutheran Student Center 444 Abbot Rd. (517) 332-0778 Sun: 10:30am & 7pm Wed: 7pm Mini-bus pick-up on campus (Fall/Spring) www.martinluther The People’s Church Multi-denominational 200 W Grand River Ave. (517)332-6074 Sun. Service: 10:30am with free lunch for students following worship Riverview Church- MSU Venue MSU Union Ballroom, 2nd Floor 49 Abbot Rd. (517) 694-3400 Sun. Worship: 11:30am-ish St. Paul Lutheran Church (ELCA) Worship with us on Sundays at 10am 3383 E. Lake Lansing Rd 517-351-8541 officemanagerstpaul

St. John Catholic Church and Student Center 327 M.A.C Ave. (517) 337-9778 Sun: 8am, 10am, Noon, 5pm, 7pm M,W: 5:30pm T & Th: 8:45pm F: 12:15pm University Christian Church 310 N. Hagadorn Rd (517) 332-5193 Sun. Bible Study: 10am Sun. Worship: 11:15am University Lutheran Church (ULC) “We’re open in every way” 1020 S. Harrison Rd (517) 351-7030 Sun. Worship: 8:30am & 10:45am Fridays@Five: Dinner, discussion & fun 5pm Mon. Bible Study: 6:30pm @Wells Hall Quad Facebook: ULC and Campus Ministry University United Methodist Church 1020 S. Harrison Rd (517) 351-7030 Main Service: Sun: 11am in the Sanctuary Additional Services: NEW contemporary service Sundays at 9am with band titled ‘REACH’ TGiT (Thank God its Thursday): Thur: 8pm in the Chapel of Apostles WELS Lutheran Campus Ministry 704 Abbot Rd. (517) 580-3744 Sat: 6:30pm

Religious Organizations:

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Lot 89 on the south side of MSU’s campus on December 03, 2020

By Jacob May Taking a step forward in sustainability, Michigan State signed a contract to establish a 110-acre, 20-megawatt solar panel array on south campus along Hagadorn Road, between Bennett Road and Jolly Road. The contract, signed with NextEra Energy, allows for the university to purchase the electricity at a fixed rate over the agreement’s 35-year duration. In exchange, NextEra will build and maintain the array. MSU will have the opportunity to buy the project’s assets over the course of the term, meaning that they may own the panels and related equipment once the contract expires. Although the project is still in a planning and design phase, Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, or IPF, Communications Manager Fred Woodhams said in an email that construction will likely begin in spring 2022 and the array should be operational by December of that year, with little to no road closures inbetween. Woodhams further explained the intent of this project, which was originally announced and approved at a MSU Board of Trustees meeting in February. “Michigan State University has ambitious sustainability goals and the new solar arrays are a big step toward further reducing MSU’s greenhouse gas emissions,” Woodhams said. He also said that in signing the agreement, the university is being more cost-effective. “We are expecting that this will save the university $40 million over the course of the power purchase agreement,” Woodhams said. Woodhams also said that the array is being built in tandem with new natural gas-powered


generators that can be more readily powered on and off to meet demand, given that the solar array may supply the electricity in an inconsistent fashion, dependent on the weather. In 2012, the university created an Energy Transition Plan with the aim to transition to 100% renewable energy, while reaching 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. This solar array is projected to increase the average yearly electrical load sourced from renewables from 7% to nearly 20%, putting the university slightly behind on the proposed timeline. Since then, the university has completed multiple projects in sustainability including solar carports and an anaerobic digester, both working together to supply the campus with 15 megawatts of power. On Thursday, Sept. 16, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. yielded questions at an Associated Students of MSU General Assembly meeting. College of Agriculture and Natural Resources representative Blake Lajiness asked Stanley about the future of sustainability at MSU. Stanley then made the GA aware of the contract for the array. “My very first reaction was, ‘Yay, it finally happened, I’m so excited about it!,’” Lajiness said. “That really is a huge next step for the university.” But, Lajiness said that his thoughts didn’t end there. After more consideration, he said that MSU needs to be planning ahead and hopes that the administration will listen to students more on sustainability. “Some student organizations, as well as sustainability-minded students on campus, aren’t going to stop trying to fight for more green energy, but a ton of other things across campus as well in the sustainability



realm,” Lajiness said. “My first thought is ‘Yay!’ But my second thought that comes in very shortly after is, ‘That’s great, but what’s the next step?’” Lajiness also said that he doesn’t believe MSU is doing enough in their sustainability efforts. In saying so, he cited the university’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System rating of Gold. “We’re Gold status, we’re not Platinum status, and there’s that next step to get to Platinum status,” Lajiness said. “That should be our goal, among other things. There is more we can do. No, I don’t believe we’re doing enough. Yes, the things we are doing are amazing, but I think we could be doing more.” Currently, only nine universities have a Platinum distinction, and none of them are in the Big Ten. As far as specific initiatives that Lajiness would like to see implemented, he wants to see a full divestment from fossil fuels, a declaration of a climate emergency and increased recycling initiatives on and offcampus. Addressing the latter two, Lajiness will introduce Bills 5745 and 57-47 to the assembly on Thursday, Dec. 10. In a press release issued on Feb. 14, after the Board of Trustees approved the project, Stanley said that the solar arrays will support the wellbeing of the MSU community. “The sustainability of our environment goes hand in hand with the well-being of our students, faculty and staff at Michigan State,” Stanley said in the press release. “This project not only furthers MSU’s commitment to renewable energy, it also provides a cleaner future for our campus, the world and the next generation of Spartans.”

TUES DAY, D EC EM B ER 8 , 2020


What the rocky presidential transition means for national security, pandemic response

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals are reaching and exceeding intensive care unit capacity across the nation, many Americans wonder how this rough transition will impact the pandemic response, and how the Biden team will be ready to implement efforts for spread mitigation and vaccine distribution. “This is without a doubt the most unusual transition in modern history,” former Director of Communication for U.S. National Intelligence Shawn Turner said. “Not only the nature of the previous administration, but because we are in the midst of a global pandemic that, at least as it seems today, is only getting worse. The lack of immediate transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration with regard to COVID-19 will without a doubt result in a delay in making sure that we begin to do the things that we need to do in order to slow the spread of the virus.” Turner, a Professor of Strategic Communication at Michigan State University, acknowledged the promising news of a vaccine on the horizon, but said the Biden administration is still facing the need to make up for almost three weeks of having no access to data or expert advice in order to assemble their coronavirus response plan. Ultimately, that translates to a late response if they’re unable to do the necessary catch-up work in time for Jan. 20, 2021, and that could cost lives. When the Biden presidency is officially underway, and the “front page isn’t all Trump all the time,” Turner said he sees the ability for us to have important conversations about our national security concerns and intelligence issues as they happen.

of them have failed. A delay in the transmission of information or an attempt to withhold it for an indefinite period of time by the Trump administration could lead to national security risks being overlooked. Turner said the most important part of ensuring a smooth transition is making sure transition officials have access to necessary intelligence and agency information in order to prepare to respond to any issues or threats the new administration might be inheriting. “The problem that we had when the Trump administration was holding up the process of a transition of power in government is that you have several areas of governance wherein the criticality of a smooth transition is so significant,” Turner said. On Nov. 23, Emily Murphy, administrator of the GSA, sent a letter to Biden informing him that the agency had decided to move forward with the transition. In the letter, Murphy said she had come to the decision to begin the distribution of funds and resources to the Biden transition without any influence from other officials, including in the executive branch, and that the timing of her decision was also free of external influence. Trump announced in a Tweet that he’s in support of the GSA’s decision to allow Biden to begin “initial protocols,” although he plans to continue his legal challenges. Trump also said he instructed White House staff to assist the new appointees during the process. Turner said the initiation by the GSA is a good start, but what the Trump administration allows to be handed over to the Biden staff and how cooperative his team is remains to be seen. “There is some space for the president’s team to be obstructionist with regard to the way that they work with the incoming Biden administration,” Turner said. Because the GSA has now given the transition the invitation to request the resources available through the agency, the Trump administration has lost a lot of leverage to thwart the democratic process. However, Trump will likely continue challenging the election results in a coordinated disinformation campaign. Turner said that as citizens and the media continue focusing on the president’s behavior regarding the election, less attention is being given to national security threats. “ We’re not focused on those issues because of all of the other noise in the information space,” Turner said.



By Verena Daniel Weeks after a long and suspenseful election week, disinformation about voter fraud and a stolen election is still spreading. On Dec. 2, President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani testified before the state Senate on the election process in Michigan, despite the Michigan State Board of Canvassers’ certification of the election results a week prior. Disputes like these in the election process delay the transition of information from one administration to the next, creating lasting effects on U.S. pandemic response and national security.


As the nation transitions to a new presidency while combating a public health crisis, there is increased vulnerability, especially given the nearly three-week delay in the General Services Administration, or GSA, initiating the procedures, Turner said. “When we think about the most important aspects of a transition in governments, I put national security right at the top of the list for a couple reasons,” Turner said, “One, when we think about our adversaries around the world, what they’re looking for more than anything is they are looking for moments of weakness in order to lash out against the United States.” Turner also said that while Trump is making efforts to overturn election results with lawsuits and recounts and stalling the transition, the Joe Biden transition team is making strides to be as prepared as possible. As of Nov. 30, over 40 lawsuits have been filed as part of the Trump campaign’s efforts to undermine the results of the election. Over 30

Turner said the president-elect, vice presidentelect and their staff will have their work cut out for them. The team will have a lot of catching up to do because of the lack of attention to pertinent security information over the last four years, but Turner said it’s important work to make it through the term without a major tragedy. “This first couple of years is just going to be a lot of information that the current administration refused to pay attention to, and during that time they’re going to have to mine that information and really look through it to find out what should be a priority in terms of resources and addressing threats,” Turner said. “If they’re successful, we will get through the Biden administration without any major threats and any major catastrophes in this country related to foreign adversaries. But it is going to be a challenge. It has been made more challenging as a result of this previous administration’s behavior.”

Illustration by Emily Maze

“This is without a doubt the most unusual transition in modern history.” Shawn Turner Former Director of Communication for U.S. National Intelligence

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Trust, benevolence and the impacts of coaching 30+ years, the Walt Drenth story By Joe Dandron Former Olympian Brian Hyde tossed the letter from a college in Virginia into his Pittsburgh Steelers garbage can. William & Mary? He wasn’t even sure if they were a Division I program. Offers were already on the table from the University of Michigan, Wisconsin and more. The list went on, but it couldn’t hurt to send something in response, Hyde recalled thinking. He dug the letter pitching the program he knew so little about out of the same dingy waste bin and mailed it back. Hyde remembered the coach’s name attached to the letter, the same one he saw coaching with Central Michigan in the late 80s, beating up on Big Ten opponents. His name? Walt Drenth. “I said, ‘you know out of respect for Walt, I’m going to send this back,’” Hyde said. “... Walt was a great, young coach. He was building a program there and that excited me. I wanted to be a part of that. It was just a great fit.” Drenth, was just the guy for Hyde. He became the right coach for hundreds. Drenth coached 180 All-Americans in his nearly 40 total years as a cross country and track and field coach across multiple Division I programs. Only ever coached by Drenth, Hyde pro-

Walt Drenth celebrating the women’s team winning conference champions at the Big Ten Conference Championships on May 17, 2015. State News File Photo

gressed from his time at William & Mary under Drenth’s tutelage to running the 1500 meter at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. But after 30+ years, 16 of them as the director of both the cross country and track and field programs at MSU, Drenth announced on Monday he was hanging up the stopwatch and whistle. “It’s a cool way to make a living,” Drenth said. Many alumni of the programs he led over his career told The State News Drenth did things the right way.

Clark Ruiz, a former MSU cross country runner and now software engineer, was a preferred walk-on to the MSU cross country program. He had scholarship offers elsewhere and at other levels, but there was one coach he never forgot. Lisa Senakiewich ran at MSU and was named the interim in Drenth’s place after serving as his assistant since 2010. Brent Colburn said he utilized all Drenth taught him at William & Mary in the 90s with vigor. Kenzie Weiler handed the sport she loved over to Drenth, and he challenged her during her time at MSU more than any adult in her life, she said. All of them, learned something. “I love running, it’s one of my favorite things in the world,” Weiler said. “... I gave him (Drenth) my favorite thing in the world and trusted him with it … I just think that when I chose MSU, I chose it because ... I could trust coach Drenth with this thing that I love the most.” “As an 18-year-old coming out of high school into college, encountering that type of leadership was a formative experience,” Colburn said. “I was thinking ... there really kind of were two lessons that I learned from Walt.” The first? Hard work doesn’t guarantee success but without hard work, you can’t be successful. The second? Time spent making excuses was wasted time. Colburn hung on to those messages with his

life. It made him into the person he is today. Although he was only a runner under Drenth for two years, it was enough time to grow up because of Drenth’s lessons. Senakiewich steps into a role with a mouthful of a title and with a sense of sadness since Drenth isn’t by her side, but she’s still excited for her mentor and friend. “(I learned) so much: What it is just to be a good person, a good human being, about a willingness to help no matter what the chore may be,” Senakiewich said. “He was always willing to provide a helping hand or provide support. He’s the type of person that would literally drop everything just to help you, so I think that part is really meaningful.” Simple humanity and a demand for excellence set the bar for Senakiewich and did the same for Ruiz, who ran under Drenth at MSU from 2013-2018. “I don’t know if it’s hyperbole but he was almost like a second father figure,” Ruiz said. “... The respect he commands, not that he demands it but when you are as successful and as thoughtful and as good as he is, people give him his respect.” And when Drenth decided to hang it up, he said in a statement that he couldn’t thank the friends and those who helped him along the way enough. In his wake, it’s obvious they can’t thank him enough either.

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Profile for The State News

Tuesday 12/08/20  

The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University every other Tuesday during fall, spring and select days during summ...

Tuesday 12/08/20  

The State News is published by the students of Michigan State University every other Tuesday during fall, spring and select days during summ...

Profile for statenews

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