Michigan State University's Independent Voice Since 1909, East Lansing, MI

State News Logo

Friday, November 28, 2014


  • Facebook Logo
  • Twitter Logo
  • RSS Feed Logo
  • Email Signup Logo


From The Archives

Former president speaks at MSU


By Katie Adbilla          Last updated: 02/04/14 9:11pm         

This Friday, President Barack Obama will come to MSU to sign the farm bill — but he is by no means the first president to visit the banks of the Red Cedar.

On the afternoon of May 5, 1995, former President Bill Clinton sent more than 6,000 graduated Spartans into the new world they would soon attempt to conquer.

Clinton spoke at that spring’s commencement, encouraging students about their future duties as working professionals, both to themselves and their families.

During his speech that day, Clinton said it was up to the current generation to “make your historic choices for America,” according to a previous State News article by staff writer Christine Macdonald.

In his speech, Clinton also addressed the Oklahoma City bombing, which at the time had happened just a few weeks before.

The tragedy left 168 people dead and damaged more than 300 surrounding buildings.

Clinton touched on convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh’s alleged involvement with the Michigan Militia, a right-wing paramilitary group.

He said those in the militia have “broader rights here than you would in any other country in the entire world.”

That day, Clinton left the students on a high note, telling them they were a part of “the real Michigan.” He joked that he knew who he was “supposed to root for” in the Big Ten conference.

This was the third visit MSU received from Clinton throughout the years.

He visited campus twice in 1992, once for a debate near Beaumont Tower and again later that year for the Presidential Debate at Wharton Center.

At the time, he was the first sitting president to speak at MSU’s commencement in nearly 100 years. Before him, the last to speak was Teddy Roosevelt in 1907.

He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university.

That year, students were up in arms because the ceremony included two senior class speakers, as opposed to the usual single person at the podium.

The decision took nearly a month to decide on and eventually ended with a compromise on the part of the SCC Commencement Committee.

Other visiting past presidents include Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman.


Students should stay safe regardless of Big Ten Championship game outcome


By Micaela Colonna          Last updated: 12/03/13 10:17pm         

This weekend’s Big Ten Championship game versus Ohio State has many students apprehensive about where MSU will find themselves over winter break. But the aftermath of the game’s outcome might cause more harm than good in East Lansing.

Nineteen years ago, the scene the week of November 6, was similar to that of this week. Cold air and wind descended upon East Lansing as students prepared themselves for the game of the season: MSU vs. U-M. The outcome of the rivalry game decided MSU’s bowl game fate.

MSU topped U-M 28-25 at Spartan Stadium that afternoon, and the celebration carried late into the night. Luckily for police, the excitement didn’t escalate too far. At the time, MSU police Lt. Dave Trexler said that aside from a couple of people who tried to incite the crowd, people were pretty well-behaved.

If the Spartans defeat Ohio State this Saturday, they will travel to the Rose Bowl. But if they are defeated, there are two possibilities. With Ohio State currently ranked No. 2 in the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll, they could travel to the BCS Championship Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. giving the Spartans the opportunity also travel to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl. However, with a possible loss to Ohio State, the Capital One Bowl might also be in MSU’s future.

Keeping the same mentality this weekend is important for not only the safety of MSU students and East Lansing residents, but also in maintaining a good image of the university.

Regardless of the game’s outcome, it’s important MSU students make good choices in their celebration activities. Time after time, MSU is recognized as the university that burns couches not only after devastating losses, but after exciting wins as well. But, as many Spartans would agree, this is not the representation we want of our university.

We advertise ourselves as an innovative university with countless academic opportunities and students who discover solutions for global concerns. But these extreme actions following the outcomes of our sporting events not only contradict our selling points, but also set us back. Future Spartan families might look past the educational highlights of MSU and instead direct more focus on the most recent student riot and the safety of our campus.

Burning couches Saturday night will not change the reality of MSU’s post-season bowl game fate come Sunday morning. And although these activities might initially please to students, the possibilities of potential backlash are not worthwhile, both for students and the future of MSU.

Athletics at MSU bring the Spartan community closer. The fact is MSU will make it to a respected bowl game this year. That should be an accomplishment in and of itself.

The Spartans have not made a trip to the Rose Bowl since 1988 where they defeated USC 20-17. And it’s clear students are itching for the opportunity to tell their grandchildren they were here when their team made another trip.

This year our student section t-shirts read, “Spartans Stand Together”. We win together and we lose together. And no matter the outcome of Saturday’s game, we need to remember to keep a positive attitude and maintain our dignity.


Fraternities needed university permission before throwing parties


By Derek Gartee          Last updated: 11/25/13 10:03pm         

Fraternities. The word is associated with brotherhood, philanthropy, and, of course, parties. However, close ties with the university is not necessarily on that list.

For many years, fraternities around campus have been largely independent from MSU, but in 1928, that was not entirely the case.

On April 27, 1928, Michigan State News (now The State News) published the list of approved parties for the graduation season. At that time, the university selected the parties they would allow around campus, including fraternity parties.

The fraternities on the approved list included Pi Kappa Phi and Phi Delta, among others.

This type of connection with the university was nearly unheard of in recent years, until MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon formally recognized the greek community earlier this month.

Currently, fraternities and sororities are controlled by blanket organizations, such as the Panhellenic Council. There are four greek councils at MSU that govern all 29 fraternities and 14 sororities. These organizations control greek life operations.

Simon’s formal recognition, which included signing a relationship agreement between the university and the greek community, could signal a change in fraternity relations.

It marks an increase in university and fraternity relations, a pattern that hasn’t been seen in years.

While these changes are still in their infancy, it could be an attempt to find a compromise between recent policies of decades past. These changes could create a dialogue between the university and fraternity councils, while still allowing the organizations to have their independence.

As of right now, only time will tell how this newfound relationship will take shape.


Former State News editor makes 'mother of all typos' in headline following JFK assassination


By Lauren Gibbons          Last updated: 11/21/13 11:08pm         

One of the biggest news days of Bruce Fabricant’s life quickly turned into a day of embarrassment after the Nov. 25, 1963 edition of The State News went to print.

The former editor-in-chief of The State News was in charge when news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination broke on Nov. 22, 1963. Because the paper did not print on weekends, its first coverage of the nationwide chain of events came on the following Monday.

The latest update? Jack Ruby had shot Kennedy’s killer, Lee Harvey Oswald.

In the midst of all the breaking news, Fabricant sent the paper through with the headline “JFK’ Alledged Assassin Slain,” misspelling the word “alleged” and forgetting an “s” in “JFK’s.”

“It was the mother of all headline typos,” Fabricant said.

Fabricant didn’t recall the exact circumstances behind the errors, but noted everything was “topsy turvy” during the week following the president’s assassination.

He said he took full responsibility for the typo as editor-in-chief and has lived with the mistake ever since, even though it wasn’t discussed in the newsroom much after it happened.


In 1980s, international students feared Taiwanese government was watching them


By Katie Abdilla          Last updated: 11/19/13 6:07pm         

On a campus as large as MSU, it can be easy for some students to feel unsafe — maybe even like they’re being watched.

For some students who came to MSU from Taiwan more than two decades ago, that sentiment was real.

In an article published in The State News on Nov. 3, 1981, staff writer Patti David Stefani spoke with international students from Taiwan, who requested to remain nameless for fear of retaliation.

The students claimed the Taiwanese government sent spies to observe their behavior during their time at MSU, all to ensure they did not plan anti-government activities before their return to Taiwan.

The students also said they had to watch their every move, remaining careful to not carry pro-democratic media or speak openly about Taiwanese government practices for fear they would be arrested or attacked if rebel activity was suspected. One professor even claimed he received a phone call from Taiwan’s embassy after joking he would be arrested if he ever returned to Taiwan.

At the time, MSU officials claimed to have no knowledge of spying activity. The Taiwanese government claimed the spies were sent to the United States on scholarship.


MSU students continue tradition of service during natural disasters


By Casey Holland          Last updated: 11/13/13 1:06pm         

It never gets easier to watch tragedy unfold, no matter where it takes place in the world, but the sight of everyday people reaching out to help is a source of hope during dark times.

I can remember sitting in front of the TV in 2005, young and wide-eyed as I took in the news clips of a ravaged New Orleans left in Hurricane Katrina’s wake. I was in the same position one year earlier, when Southeast Asia was struck by a devastating tsunami. There I was, safe with my family in our home and watching all of these people reduced to desperation, just witnessing their own homes’ destruction. I wanted to do something.

As it turns out, MSU students have made it a habit to help those outside of our borders, even when we haven’t been directly affected by the tragedy.

The Jan. 10, 2005 State News article “Student groups to aid in relief effort” focused on student organizations that came together to lend a helping hand for those affected by the Southeast Asia tsunami. Peter Briggs, the director of the Office for International Students and Scholars today and at that time, was in charge of organizing MSU’s relief efforts, rallying student groups to collect donations in the lobby of the International Center.

Among the student groups to set up tables was the Sri Lankan Student Association, who planned to put the money they raised towards rebuilding a school in Sri Lanka. The Thai Student Association also had their own table, gathering donations for the Thai Red Cross Society.

India, one of the countries who suffered the most damage from the monstrous storm, received funds via the India Club’s donations to the Prime Minister’s national relief fund of India.

Those were a handful of students who reached out in response to this national disaster, and today, students are coming together to do the exact same.

The east coast of the” Philippines was destroyed by the deadly Typhoon Haiyan”:http://statenews.com/article/2013/11/typhoon-haiyan-worries-filipino-students-inspires-fundraising-drive on Friday. The death toll has recently reached 2,000 and could possibly still be climbing. Due to a lack of medical supplies, clean water and shelter available for those already wounded, many are perishing from illness even after they survived the tropical cyclone. Thousands have lost their homes and loved ones, and are left to try and pick up the pieces of their decimated lives.

Just as they have before, though, MSU students already are springing into action for those in the Philippines.

MSU’s Filipino American Student Association will be hosting an event dedicated to showcasing Filipino culture next week, complete with a raffle. Half of the money raised will be donated to typhoon victims.

In addition, friendly competition has been sparked by MSU’s Asian Pacific American Student Organization, who will compete with MSU’s Filipino American Student Association to see which organization can donate the most items to the victims.

MSU students have demonstrated a quick response to the storm, one that could prompt a domino effect and inspire others to make their own contributions to the relief effort.

This recent typhoon has been one of the worst to hit the country in its history, and while the tides might have rolled back in, their aftermath is beyond catastrophic. Even the smallest contribution can make a difference for these victims who have lost everything to the storm.

Relief efforts will hopefully continue as time goes on — something all students that can should take part in. Besides, if the roles of this situation were reversed and we were the ones on the receiving end of this tragedy, we would appreciate everyone who made the effort to help us.


Affirmative action has long history in Michigan


By Celeste Bott          Last updated: 10/16/13 12:21am         

U.S. Supreme Court justices are weighing whether or not to uphold Michigan’s 2006 affirmative action ban in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. Oral arguments began on Tuesday.

The State News reported on November 8, 2006 that the initiative — then called Proposal 2, or the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative — passed with 59 percent voting “yes” and 41 percent voting “no” to a ban on preferential treatment to minority groups in terms of government hiring and college admissions.

Minority groups included those based on race, ethnicity, class or gender.

The State News also reported on Nov. 17, 2006 that the students of the Coalition for Equal Opportunity submitted a letter to MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon demanding a university response.

The students’ main concern was that funding for minority advocacy programs could be affected by the ban, and called for a series of community meetings on campus to discuss the issue.


Self defense skills still relevant


By Casey Holland          Last updated: 10/16/13 12:13am         

During my first two months on campus, I have received numerous “care package” gifts from my mother. After she heard about an 18-year-old student who was attacked in September while walking home at night, she decided to give her clumsy daughter a pink canister of pepper spray.

I laughed at the gesture at first, telling her that I probably would end up accidentally spraying myself in the face if I ever tried using pepper spray on an attacker. My joke wasn’t a total lie, though: I had no idea how I would face an attacker if it were to come down to that. It turns out that not knowing what to do in the event of a surprise attack is a long-standing issue.

In the Nov. 19, 1984 issue of The State News, staff writer Lynn Moore wrote an article entitled “Right way to fight gives women edge on attackers.”

Her story not only discussed a self-defense workshop for mothers and daughters, but also went on to talk about self-defense tactics that even the clumsiest women can take advantage of in the case of an attack. If you are walking and someone grabs onto your wrist, for example, you should focus on using your free arm or legs to fight back with a strong hit or kick.

The worst things that someone being attacked can do is scratch, cry or plead; according to a source in the article, this could lead to a more severe beating.

Many students, especially freshmen, have to endure phone calls from worried parents, but it would be wise to take some of their advice to heart.

Vernon, Mich. resident Oswald Scott Wilder soon will head to trial for allegedly sexually assaulting four women in East Lansing between March 30 and May 16, and another young woman reported being sexually assaulted in the Chemistry Building Oct. 1.

Attacks really do happen, even to those who constantly tell themselves “Oh, it would never happen to me.”


MSU historically survived government shutdown with little issue


By Derek Gartee          Last updated: 10/02/13 12:25am         

With the government shutdown in full effect, many people are left wondering what will happen. People around the country worry how this will affect them, but if the situation is at all similar to the shutdown of 1995, a State News article from the time suggests all will be fine at MSU.

In the November 17, 1995 issue of The State News, some relief from the past could reassure current Spartans.

On November 14, 1995 the Unites States government was shut down because of conflicts between the House of Representatives and the president over the budget. When the government shuts down, any “non essential employees or services are essentially put on hold.

In the November 17, 1995 edition of The State News, reporter Lee Jernstadt wrote an article entitled “Faculty, students mainly unharmed by budget impasse.” The story shed light on the government shutdown and its effects on MSU.

As a school that receives federal funds and grants for several programs, it’s possible MSU could see repercussions during a government shutdown. However, the 1995 article suggested readers in the MSU community had little reason to worry.

For the most part, the shutdown did not affect the university directly, according to the article. All student loans continued, any federal funding given to students still was given and even research dollars still were doled out.

This is the first government shutdown since the Gingrich-Clinton showdown of 1995 and times certainly have changed.

Although it’s unknown if this shutdown will go the the same way as the last, it’s good to know that if history repeats itself, then MSU resources likely will not be on the chopping block.


Mopeds almost banned from campus


By Derek Gartee          Last updated: 09/17/13 10:09pm         

For many students, getting to class is as easy as turning a key and hitting the throttle. The moped has turned grueling commutes across campus into joy rides. However, this luxury almost was banned from campus.

In 1986, the All University Traffic Committee banned mopeds from campus during business hours. The members believed these mopeds were a hazard to students and drivers. On July 9, 1986, a second meeting was held to determine if the ban should be reversed, pending student input.

Taking a look around campus today, it is obvious the decision of the committee, but this article brings up the question; what would our campus look like without mopeds? The moped is becoming more common around campus in recent years. For students with a short commute, a moped is the best of both worlds. Their ability to drive on the road, without the need for a parking spot is both convenient and cost-effective. Without them, many of these students would be forced to decide between a long bike ride or a short drive and a costly parking pass.

However, a lack of mopeds on campus might have a silver lining. The 1986 story shows the All University Traffic Committee was concerned with the safety of mopeds, and today those concerns still stand. In its annual report for the 2011-12 academic year, the committee outlined many of their recent concerns, mainly dealing with the rise in popularity, because of the amount of mopeds on campus. Members worried about the parking for these machines blocking sidewalks for pedestrians. They also still seem to be pushing to ban of mopeds in certain areas of campus. They set goals to “provide signage on main pedestrian and bike routes hb… to prohibit use of mopeds.”

Recently, the threat of safety has been overshadowed by a rise in crime. This year, there has been a string of moped thefts across MSU. Around 10 to 15 mopeds were reported stolen this semester alone. While these machines are convenient, the risk of theft for students seems to be higher.