<![CDATA[The State News]]> Mon, 10 May 2021 00:25:13 -0400 Mon, 10 May 2021 00:25:13 -0400 SNworks CEO 2021 The State News <![CDATA[2021 Spring Graduation is underway]]> Michigan State began in-person commencement ceremonies for the graduating class of spring 2021 Friday morning. 

Due to COVID-19, the over 50 undergraduate graduation ceremonies for respective colleges and majors are being held outside in four different parking lots around the MSU campus and will take place throughout the weekend. In non-pandemic years, there are usually 20 college and university graduation ceremonies. 

The commencement ceremonies will be held in the Breslin Center parking lot, the Spartan Stadium parking lot, the MSU Auditorium parking lot and the parking lot outside of Erickson Hall. 

Even though there was a steady downpour throughout the morning commencement ceremonies, students were ecstatic that they could celebrate their accomplishments in person after spending the final two and a half semesters of their college career learning online. 

Students gathered to celebrate with fellow classmates, their families and faculty to receive their diplomas in a socially distanced celebration of finishing their undergraduate degrees. 

Costa Gianiodis was one of the students in the rain waiting for his diploma to mark the end of his time as a finance student at MSU. Despite the less than ideal weather, Gianiodis said he enjoyed being able to see his friends again and celebrate their accomplishments together.

"It was good," Gianiodis said. "You know, it was nice they got to put it on in person, although the weather wasn't exactly cooperative. ... But it was cool. It was awesome to see all my friends in-person after being online for so long."

Gianiodis said that the Eli Broad College of Business did a good job at preparing the event and communicating with students to make it run as smoothly as possible.

"For doing it in person, they really made an effort to set them all up, get people tickets, and stuff like that, and make sure everything ran smoothly," Gianiodis said. "And I think it really did. So it's kudos to them for giving us one last kind of send-off and, you know, moment to be in-person before we left the school."

Cheri Speier-Pero, the associate dean of the Broad College of Business, agreed that the ceremonies so far have gone on without a hitch yet and said she is very happy with being able to have in-person commencement ceremonies for the students.

"I think it was really smooth sailing," Speier-Pero said. "I thought the graduation, minus the rain, was actually fabulous. For the Broad College of Business, we decided to organize the graduations that we had by departments, so by major, and that allowed us to have, I think, a little greater personalization for the graduates. So this morning was Finance and we had a pretty packed house."

Jennifer and Fredrick Ziemianin Sr. were among the parents in attendance for the supply chain management commencement on Friday afternoon and were overjoyed to be able to celebrate their son, Frederick Ziemianin's, graduation.

"It means a lot, we really appreciate it," Jennifer said. "The kids have struggled, being isolated from their peers in the community, you know. So being able to be a part of this, see this, all of his hard work culminate and acknowledgment of all the work the kids have put in over the past four years and the school to make everything safe and to allow us to participate in celebrating the end of his four years here at MSU."

The graduation ceremonies are the first in-person gatherings of 20 or more people on the Michigan State campus since the University was shut down in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On top of being held outside, commencement looks much different than in years past before the pandemic. Students, family and faculty members were wearing masks, as required by the MSU Community Compact, students could only bring two guests to limit the number of people in attendance and some graduations had messages from Provost Teresa Woodruff and President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. played on projectors rather than being delivered in person. 

Speier-Pero said that despite the success of this year's graduation so far, she expects to return to normal commencement ceremonies with more people in attendance in the future.

"Normally when each graduate's name gets announced, you hear the family right?" Speier-Pero said. "And you heard some students cheering on their fellow students. But it's tough when you only have two family members in attendance at most. It just didn't have that same joyful, celebratory feel. So that's the piece that makes me think we would more likely go back to our college graduations going forward so that we could be inclusive of all of the family that a graduate wishes to have with them."

Gianiodis said that he was fine with the commencement without the typical bells and whistles because he appreciated being able to have an in-person ceremony at all after being subjugated to online school and work the last year and two months.

"I mean, I'm sure we all kind of know by now that being online isn't exactly the same as being in person," Gianiodis said. "You don't really have the same effect, or I guess, emotions if that makes sense. But for me, it was really exciting like I said, to see everybody in person and walk across the stage in person and not have to be online."

]]>
Commencement ceremony for Finance majors spring 2021.

]]>
<![CDATA[MSU alumnus and billionaire Eli Broad dies at 87]]> Billionaire and Michigan State University alumnus Eli Broad died Friday at age 87 following a long term illness, a spokesperson for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation told the New York Times.

Broad, who the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and Eli Broad College of Business are named after, was one of Michigan State's largest benefactors, donating more than $100 million dollars to MSU since he graduated in 1954.

One of his biggest donations was $33 million dollars to help build the museum in 2007, where $21 million was designated for design and construction and the other $12 million for exhibitions, acquisitions and operations.

In his lifetime, Broad built two Fortune 500 companies and had an estimated net worth of $7.3 billion.

Additionally, Broad and his wife donated a $25 million dollar grant in 2014 to spark donations for the business college in a campaign that ran through 2018.

Outside of MSU, Broad used his wealth as an art collector to mold Los Angeles' cultural landscape. According to a Los Angeles Times article, he had a large role in Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art before creating his own museum.

Broad spent millions on scientific and medical research programs in the city, particularly stem cell research at the University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles, and other research institutions, according to the LA Times.

In 2017, Broad announced that he'd be "taking a step back from public life" to spend more time with family.

]]>
<![CDATA[Practice tempo picks up at MSU spring game as fans are welcomed back into Spartan Stadium]]> Tempo is what defines modern day college football these days and during the Michigan State Spring Game, it's apparent that tempo has made its way to East Lansing.

Right from the first whistle, it was apparent that tempo is a huge factor in what Michigan State wants to do as players sprinted to where their first drill was without any confusion or question as to what was happening.

"It's a great way to get the practice going to start with a fast tempo, guys getting the signals and getting lined up," Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker said. "It's just something that we do quite a bit and that's the way we operate. It's just a really good way to get things started."

That sense of urgency wasn't just for show either, it's been there all spring long as players are beginning to enter the early mornings and late nights that spring and summer football can bring.

"I love the tempo," Michigan State senior quarterback Anthony Russo said. "Coach Tucker brings a ton of energy everyday to practice and I think it's very infectious. There's been days throughout this Spring, it's an early morning and we might not have that much energy at practice. As soon as we see coach Tuck (Mel Tucker) out there running around being vocal, being energetic, we feed off of that because it's infectious to see a coach with that much energy."

The tempo came from more than just going from drill to drill and session to session, it was evident in the seven on seven and the mini scrimmages as well as both sides of the ball made their way to the line of scrimmage quickly and got in position for the next play.

It appears that tempo and a fast pace is making its way to Michigan State this fall.

"Heavy emphasis on tempo, we want to work with a sense of urgency," Tucker said. "Guys need to know where to go and get there very quickly and get the next drill started fast as possible. Urgency, tempo, that's all part of how we practice, that's our mindset, our mental disposition towards getting things done."

The main place we have seen tempo come from is on the offensive side of the ball where teams have begun to abandon the huddle and move to a no-huddle offense to try and keep the defense on its toes.

"The quicker you line up, the easier it is because it gives you more time to read the defense to see what they're doing," Michigan State sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne said. "That's definitely something that we're stressing and getting set and having good tempo. Tempo comes with everything we do right now in the weight room, running, all that stuff. Every day, tempo is essential."

It's also beneficial for the defense too when they can line up before the offense and get set in their positions as well as keeping up with the fast-paced modern-day offenses in the Big Ten like Ohio State.

"When you play against teams like that, they're going to try and catch you off guard and get you in the wrong positions," Beesley said. "Being able to get the call and get lined up is a huge skill that you need to have when you go against fast tempo teams because they'll try and catch you off-guard and try and get first downs."

One of the players who may help with the tempo is a guy like Kenneth Walker, who's speed and change of pace bring a dynamic force to the running back room, something they didn't have a year ago.

"He's a complete player, I think you could see that today," Tucker said. "He does an excellent job running the ball, ball security, he can make guys miss, he runs with power as well and he does a great job in pass protection."

The Spartans have now completed their spring practice schedule and will take a break before entering their summer conditioning program. The implementation of the tempo will be supplemented by the conditioning as well as having a normal schedule, something the Spartans didn't have a year ago.

"That's why it is so important to get these 15 practices in so these guys can develop and continue to grow," Tucker said. "Then we'll take into the summer, have a really good summer program. I expect to see a better football team going into fall camp."

Michigan State will have until Sept. 4 to implement their tempo before they face the tough defense Northwestern will have awaiting for them in Evanston.


]]>
<![CDATA[Graduating seniors reflect on struggle to find jobs during the pandemic ]]> Michigan State's graduating seniors are beginning to enter the workforce as their college years come to a close. However, finding jobs post graduation has not been easy for some seniors due to COVID-19. 

Creative advertising senior Teddy Wujeck has struggled finding a job in his particular career field and plans to work as a bartender after he graduates. 

"Last summer, I reached out to the first person about potentially having an internship," he said. "I reached out to a couple people but I got nothing back." 

Wujeck wants to go into the marketing side of creative advertising and said that this field in general has limited jobs already, and the pandemic isn't helping.

"There's been a pushback from people that are already in the field," Wujeck said. "I once told an art teacher of mine that I wanted to be a graphic designer and he said 'No you don't; everybody is getting a job instantly but not moving anywhere in the business.'"

Although Wujeck has not had much success with finding a job after he graduates, he said he has "all of his eggs in one basket" and is continuing his job search. 

"Get on LinkedIn and start doing that early," Wujeck said. "I think everybody would have the same answer to that, just contact as many people as you can early."

Food science senior Adhisha Chandra has also faced difficulty finding a job after graduation during the pandemic. 

"In one of the career fairs I was talking to the representative and they mentioned they are not hiring right now in the current situation because of the pandemic, so they will probably be hiring next year," Chandra said. 

Chandra also faces the challenge of finding a job because she is an international student from India. 

Chandra said that international students are allowed to work in the United States for one year after they graduate. If they want to continue working in the United States, they are asked if they require a sponsorship from the company they are applying for. 

"When you come across that question in the application process I have started doing 'no' instead of 'yes,'" she said. "If I do 'yes' they just get separated out before going further so if I do 'no,' there's a possibility of going further." 

Looking for a job as a food science major during a pandemic has been even more difficult for Chandra because many restaurant businesses are not hiring many new employees due to losses from the pandemic. 

"I know the food industry wants to keep hiring, but there are limited positions," Chandra said. "I think they are looking for more domestic options to maintain the whole employment cost and with the pandemic that has also limited it."

Chandra interned at Campbell's Soup Company for six months that gave her good experience in her field but has not made it any easier for her to find a job after graduation. 

"I did contact my previous manager at Campbell's," Chandra said. "She said that I might want to keep looking at the career page website which usually has job updates, so I keep looking there every single day." 

The Career Services Network at MSU allows students access to different job posting systems and allows students to meet with a career adviser regarding job search strategies as well as the opportunity for students to attend summer workshops. 

Career Services Network Executive Director Jeffrey Beavers said in an email that building a resume that describes work experiences as well as responsibilities and accomplishments is key. 

"After a strong resume, it is then about having a plan and strategy that is realistic and that includes leveraging our strong alumni network and vast employer partnerships," Beavers said.

Beavers said that students who have been successful in finding jobs spend time preparing for the recruiting process. As far as students who have had challenges finding jobs this year, Beavers said that it is not about the lack of opportunity but rather the lack of experience and confidence in conducting a fully virtual job search. 

"For some students, it is less fun, more work, and can even seem overwhelming compared to being able to participate in on-campus recruiting activities like information sessions, job fairs, and networking events," Beavers said. "However, students who have participated in virtual events over the past year reported it was comfortable to be able to participate in their own space and meet with employers for pre-arranged sessions." 

Initially, students who were in the hospitality management and transportation field were having the most difficulty finding jobs because of the pandemic, according to Beaver. He said that those fields are doing more just-in-time hiring rather than planned hiring that they have done in the past. 

"The students having the most difficulty are likely those who are feeling lost or overwhelmed and who need support and an updated strategy," Beavers said. "We have tripled our available advising appointments and are ready to work with anyone who needs a better plan or is struggling." 

This article is part of our Semester in Review issue. Read the full issue here.

]]>
<![CDATA[Earth Day webinar takes step toward greener homes with waste audits]]> The MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center is hosting a virtual Earth Day event for the MSU Science Festival on Thursday at 7 p.m. The event's focus is educating the community on how to conduct a home waste audit to reduce their household's environmental impact.

Laura Young, sustainability program coordinator, and Katie Deska, education and upcycle coordinator, are planning the event. 

"We all individually can reduce our waste and specifically shrink our trash footprint and find new ways to reuse what we would typically get rid of," Deska said. "And then also cut back even further on our recycling by finding alternative ways to get those items."

A home waste audit is collecting all items you want to discard over a certain amount of time and attempting to reduce your landfill waste as much as possible by sorting the waste into different categories like composting and reusing. Then you pick one day to sort through all of your landfill waste to see if you can shrink it down even more.

"It just helps you to see your waste from a bit more of a fuller perspective and then you can pick and choose maybe a couple things that you want to work to change," Deska said.

Young plans to talk about her personal experience conducting a home waste audit and what she learned. 

"I'd say from my personal standpoint, it's a really eye-opening experience," Young said. "Some people might initially think, 'gosh, that's so disgusting, I would never want to go through my trash and really pick it apart.'"

Young and Deska hope that audiences will use the audit to notice items they might throw away regularly, like the ring on a milk jug, and repurpose or reuse them in a creative way. 

"I would just want to personally make that change for myself," Young said. "And then even just thinking about what I am purchasing and bringing into my home in the first place. I noticed I had a lot of plastics and film, particularly plastic film materials that typically you'd throw away, ... that would be landfilled."

Roxanne Truhn, the coordinator of the MSU Science Festival, is looking forward to reactions from this event.

"I hope the audience is really excited about how to learn about recycling and reducing your carbon footprint," Truhn said. "Because we only have one planet so we need to take care of the planet, so future generations will have clean air and won't have a whole Earth full of landfill."

Every little bit adds up to make a home less wasteful. 

"It starts with a small change," Truhn said. "One small change can lead to another change and then who knows? Maybe in a few years we'll all be green and recycle everything, and we'll have a much better Earth for that."

Some people might be hesitant to work on this change in their own homes and Deska recognizes that it might be difficult.

"It is really hard to take the time out of your day to do something like this, put the extra effort in, but I guess it's one of those things if we prioritize it, then we find time to do it," Deska said.

Even if people are unsure about auditing, Young and Deska suggest finding some way to track their waste whether it be trying it for one day, or even writing down everything they throw away.

"What's really just awesome about doing a waste audit, even if you just did it for a day, is you can take immediate action," Young said. "Start somewhere is probably the best advice. You can just take one little small piece and figure out what that means for you."

For families and even roommates, the waste audit can be a way to hold each other accountable and spark dialogue about their household habits.

"This is a really great way to just kind of start that conversation, see what's happening and then use that as a way to educate one another," Young said. "We need to figure out a better way to handle some of these things so we can help reduce what's going into the landfill, or on the flip side, how can we just consume less in the first place?"

Young and Deska encourage the viewers to celebrate the changes they've made even on a small scale. They also hope they have some fun while conducting their waste audits.

"I almost felt like it really got my creative juices flowing and almost like a challenge," Young said. "I know I don't want this particular item to go to the landfill, so is there something I could do with this?"

Deska believes there is a sense of empowerment that goes along with changing waste habits as well.

"I have to just be grateful that I'm even thinking about these things and be grateful for the changes that I have made and recognize that progress and go ahead and celebrate where I can," Deska said.

Deska also recognizes not everyone's financial situation can support consuming all sustainably packaged materials, but she knows progress can be made either way.

"It's a worthwhile thing to get a little bit more in touch with the stuff that we consume and that we discard," Deska said. "And it's different for every person. I have the privilege to come at it from a bit more of a philosophical perspective."

Looking at the small changes people can make in their household, Deska also reflected on the limited power consumers can hold and how environmental impact comes down to a systemic change.

"There's always more that we can be doing, there's always more improvements that need to happen, but until these changes happen on a bigger scale with the producers, the consumer only has so much in our power," Deska said.

To make this systemic change toward a better environment, Young suggests using the findings from the audit to speak out. For example, calling producers of certain products with wasteful packaging and encouraging them to make a change.

"We, in the collective sense, do have power if we leverage our voice to do that," Young said. "There have been a couple items where I might just pick up the phone, in the tiny little print with the 1-800 number, call or write an email."

Young and Deska hope the waste audit webinar encourages people to take the extra step toward a greener home.

"It makes us feel a lot better to champion that cause when we are doing it ourselves," Deska said. "You feel more aligned, and I think there's a lot of value in that for anyone who is invested in this environmental movement to look at their waste."

]]>
Laura Young and Katie Deska inside the material recovery facility of the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center. Photo courtesy of SSRC staff

]]>
<![CDATA['This is really happening': last minute graduation plans take place as reality sets in]]> After a senior year that didn't go as planned, the class of 2021 has the opportunity for a small taste of normalcy. 

In March, it was confirmed that all graduating seniors would have the opportunity to walk in a smaller ceremony organized by colleges and majors. While this is great news for many, the unexpected in-person event has left many scrambling. 

"Beginning of March I think is when the first rumor came about that they're trying to be in the works of planning something so that we can walk," hospitality business senior Taylor Benoit said. "End of March is when it was confirmed, and we got the RSVP, and it was like, 'Wow this is really happening." 

With last summer's last-minute cancellation of in-person classes, some students thought it may be too good to be true, leading to some preparations to be put off until the last minute.

"Honestly it was really hard to find just a cute simple white dress," supply chain senior Andrea Vortriede said. "I do think maybe stuff has been selling out because it's just right now that everyone's like, 'Oh shoot this is really happening, they're not gonna cancel it.'"

As classes are online, Vortriede has found it harder to collaborate with her classmates to gather details about the ceremony.

"It's weird because you don't get to talk to people like you would in your college classes," Vortriede said. "For example, I didn't even know if I was supposed to wear a shawl. I had to text several people who also didn't know, and we were trying to figure out who would know."

In the end, Vortriede and friends took to the internet to find pictures from previous ceremonies. 

"We just had to go look at photos, but that's something you would've figured out if you were in a class full of people, immediately people would've known," Vortriede said.

Supply chain management senior Ryan Schiffman experienced his own graduation preparation struggles - the other way around. Schiffman, a summer graduate, was told along with other summer graduates that he could walk in the spring. In early March, during graduation planning, Schiffman got the news he would not be able to walk when he had anticipated. 

"I'm still a summer grad, but I'm not allowed to walk until the fall, but I'm not doing that," Schiffman said. "I'm going to be in law school in Virginia. We all have jobs and move on."

Schiffman was prepared to graduate and start the next chapter of his life. 

"I planned on family coming ... from Maryland," Schiffman said. "I had bought a class ring. I was going to buy one anyway, but I bought it earlier in order to get it in time."

For Schiffman, graduation ceremonies are common in his family. However, he recognizes how heartbreaking this could be for many other students. 

"It's worse for other people," Schiffman said. "I was pretty upset - if I was a first-gen student, I would be destroyed."

Benoit is happy to be walking at all, even though her graduation plans were tweaked. 

"It definitely was kind of sprung on us, but I personally wanted to walk, so I was very excited for that," Benoit said. "I'm just excited that we were at least given the opportunity, even though it's not the usual. ... We're still being acknowledged in even a small way."

However, Benoit said without some of the traditional pre-graduation events happening, it has been difficult for reality to set in.

"I still do plan on taking pictures around campus, which might not be the same feel as a normal year of walking around and seeing so many people out and about, and then getting excited in that way, where it also doesn't quite feel like it's setting in yet," Benoit said. 

Since Benoit's entire family is not allowed at the ceremony, she plans on celebrating with them once she gets home.

"I do also plan on after graduation, going back home and celebrating with all my family, like my siblings and their significant others," Benoit said. "Just immediate family after the ceremony, but it will still be nice to at least feel like something is a little bit normal, even though everything else is still in shambles."

]]>
An MSU student wearing their graduation cap and gown on April 22, 2020.

]]>
<![CDATA[An inside look at the student-only COVID-19 vaccination center]]> The Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education has been the home for showcasing livestock at Michigan State since 1996, but has undergone a transformation to help combat COVID-19 in the mid-Michigan area. 

A COVID-19 vaccination center for Michigan State students to curb the spread of the virus among students has replaced the stage for livestock events. 

The stage is normally used for showcasing livestock, such as cows or pigs, for auction, marking the end of their life as they are sold to the highest bidder. Now, the stage has become a place that helps extend lives as students can become vaccinated against the virus that has claimed over 567,000 lives in the United States according to the New York Times. 

The pavilion has two separate areas, one drive-through clinic that was originally open for those who work or live in Ingham County - though as of Monday, transitioned to a state-wide vaccination clinic - and a walk-up clinic for students.

According to a press release from the Ingham County Health Department, the pavilion will be able to vaccinate 3,000-4,000 people a day with additional personnel, potentially doubling the original 1,600 per day total.

"So, this is our vaccination area," Lt. Dave Oslund, the MSU Police Department emergency management division manager, said. "We've got the students to come in and wait, and then we've got a staff person that directs them to an empty table. We have enough that we can set up 10 vaccination sites within the room."

The vaccination center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for students. The sign-up process is first come first served for students, but more appointments are added to the website each week. 

"I got an email saying to click a link to schedule an appointment, and it took like maybe two minutes, maybe less than that," post-baccalaureate medical student Kayla Dos Santos said. "So yeah, it's pretty easy."

Business freshman Zaggam Cheema searched for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment since the state of Michigan allowed all citizens 16 and older to be vaccinated starting on April 5.

He signed up for appointments at Sparrow but was unable to get an appointment until Michigan State opened up the vaccination center for students on April 9. 

Cheema said he was able to sign up for an appointment through the university via the link sent to all MSU students and had no issues making the appointment. 

"I signed up through the email but not immediately, so when I checked it, there weren't like really any spots left, it was all booked," said Cheema. "And then I kept checking it after a little bit, and I finally got a spot ... at 10 a.m."

Cheema arrived at the pavilion at 9:50 a.m. for his appointment and waited outside in the rain to check in. Ten minutes later, he was rolling up his sleeve as the nurse was going through the expected short-term symptoms after the shot.

The process was very quick for Cheema and the other students at the vaccination center. He filled out paperwork in the pavilion lobby, which took less than five minutes after checking in.

Once he completed the pre-shot paperwork, Cheema walked down a narrow hallway from the lobby, which opened up to the auction floor and stands at the pavilion and waited in line for one of the four nurses on duty.

Cheema exchanged pleasantries with the nurse before he rolled up his sleeve and turned his head while the nurse plunged the needle into his bicep. Once he sat down, it took a little over a minute to get the shot.  

After a quick wince and a Band-Aid, Cheema was directed to the stands to sit for 15 minutes to make sure he was all right before leaving. Nurses and an employee walked through the stands to check on students and schedule them for their second shot in the first week of May. 

From start to finish, Cheema's appointment took approximately 25 minutes before he could leave. Cheema said he felt fine after he was cleared to leave and scheduled his second Pfizer dose at the pavilion on May 6. 

"I feel good," Cheema said. "It didn't hurt as much as I thought. ... I felt comfortable throughout the whole thing. And they walked me through it, and it went pretty well, better than I thought it would go."

The switch from Johnson & Johnson to Pfizer

The ICHD originally supplied the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to MSU but switched to the Pfizer vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration called for a stop to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to blood clotting.

According to university spokesperson Dan Olsen, Michigan State has administered over 2,700 vaccines to students since April 9 at the pavilion. Of the 2,700 administered vaccines, 564 were Johnson & Johnson prior to the switch to Pfizer. The rest of the vaccines were the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, according to Olsen. 

"I would have preferred Johnson & Johnson," computer science junior Bram Kineman said. "The six blood clot cases don't concern me at all. I mean, I'm a dude. It's like a two-in-one shampoo. If I can get the Johnson, that would be fine. But I'll be back, it's not much of a concern either way."

Oslund said that the close relationship between the ICHD and MSU was integral in having a seamless transition from Johnson & Johnson to Pfizer. 

"We, in a matter of an hour to an hour and a half on Tuesday, made that switch," said Oslund. "They pulled the Johnson & Johnson product, we replaced it with Pfizer. We've been using their scheduling system, and it was very quick for them to add another calendar or another couple of weeks in May where we can offer that second dose to students."

The ICHD assigned volunteers to run the vaccination center, and Oslund and the emergency management division of MSUPD oversee the process. Oslund said that either he or Sgt. Steve Beard is always at the pavilion to ensure they can quickly deal with any problems that may arise. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Spring 2021: semester in review]]> As Michigan State University continued to navigate remote learning for a third semester, the cycle of news did not slow.

Here's a recap of the semester's biggest stories.

More students return to campus

While just under 2,000 students chose to live on campus in the fall semester, about 3,800 students returned to their homes on the banks of the Red Cedar River for the spring. 

The university offered in-person instruction for 400 classes, up from 40 in the fall. 

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, all on-campus students were required to participate in the COVID-19 Early Detection Program as a part of the MSU Community Compact.

To discourage traveling during early spring, Michigan State University canceled spring break and instead offered four wellness days: March 2-3 and April 22-23. Following the first two wellness days, students agreed that they were ineffective and would have preferred a spring break.

The fight for swim and dive continues

On Jan. 15, 11 members of the women's swimming and diving team filed a Title IX lawsuit against the university on behalf of the program, hoping to reverse the decision to cut it following the 2020-21 season. The final ruling of the lawsuit came against the injunction to reinstate the program immediately but will remain in consideration as the fight continues. 

The team's final season began later that month with a 146-107 loss against the University of Michigan. 

In February, MSU said the decision to cut the program would be final, though the team has continued the battle to save it.

11 MSU employees still affiliated with the university found in violation of Office of Institutional Equity policy

An 18-month Lansing State Journal investigation found that 11 of the 49 MSU faculty and staff in violation of the university sexual misconduct policy since 2015 are still affiliated with the university.

At least 14 people were accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault by multiple people and five remained employed: marketing Professor Tomas Hult, criminal justice Professor David Foran, anatomic pathology Professor Matti Kiupel, communications Professor William Donohue and physiology Professor Robert Wiseman

The investigation reported that two retired professors had lost their emeritus title, two were under review and four others had been allowed to keep them.

Former College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel and political science Professor William Jacoby had been allowed to retire prior to the completion of the investigation or before any punishment, allowing them to maintain retirement benefits such as health and life insurance.

In a 166-page Title IX lawsuit filed March 24, recent MSU OIE Director Melody Werner is listed as a defendant in a case alleging Eastern Michigan University covered up several instances of sexual assault and rape.

Werner hasn't served as OIE director since October 2020 and is currently working on assignments in support of strategic operations initiatives in the Office for Civil Rights until June.

MSU issues period of enhanced social distancing

Following an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate as students returned to campus, MSU ordered an "enhanced physical distancing" directive Jan. 30,  barring students from gathering with others on or off campus. 

The university met failures to comply with the order with the threat of removal from housing without refund, and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. While the directive was originally set to end on Feb. 13, it was lifted in phases and came to an end Feb. 28.

MSU Police Department appoints new police chief and vice president for public safety 

On Feb. 2, MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. appointed Marlon C. Lynch as the sixth chief of the MSUPD and vice president for public safety. 

He began his role on April 1, following approval by the Board of Trustees. 

B.1.1.7. variant of COVID-19 ruins Michigan's pandemic progress 

The first case of the B.1.1.7. variant of COVID-19 was found in Eaton County Feb. 8, just west of Ingham County. Early findings show the variant is approximately 50% more transmissible than others and could be associated with a higher risk of death. 

This came following the first case of the variant identified in Michigan in January.

Michigan's COVID-19 cases have been leading the nation since early March with about 469 cases per 100,000 residents in early April.

Additionally, there has been 3,688 hospitalizations, making this surge the highest Michigan has experienced since the pandemic began last year.

However, despite the rising cases, Gov. Gretchen Whiter hasn't implemented any new statewide restrictions. Ingham County recently implemented guidelines to slow community spread.

Twistars owner, Nassar enablerJohn Geddert charged with human trafficking and sexual assault, dies by suicide the same day

Ex-MSU doctor and convicted sexual predator Larry Nassar had treated young gymnasts at Twistars for years. Former owner of the club, John Geddert, turned over ownership to his wife Kathryn Geddert in 2018 as he faced sanctions from USA Gymnastics for the gym's response and handling of the Nassar scandal.

The club announced that they had been sold Feb. 4, beginning training sessions as Capital City Flips. 

Multiple Nassar survivors spoke out against Geddert in the past, stating he fostered an environment that encouraged abuse and accusing him of allowing Nassar one-on-one access to gymnasts in the back room of Twistars.

On Feb. 25, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged Geddert with 20 counts of human trafficking and forced labor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, racketeering and lying to a police officer. This came following a three-year investigation, beginning immediately following Nassar's sentencing hearings.

Geddert's body was found at a rest stop at 3:24 p.m., where he died by suicide Feb. 25, the day he was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:15 p.m.

Students petition College of Education regarding problems with the fifth-year teaching internship

A petition asking the College of Education to acknowledge the negative impact of the internship program on students' mental health and financial situation gained attention around campus, gaining over 670 signatures since Feb. 12.

The fifth-year internship is a part of a three-year program allowing students to complete their teaching certification in five years. The year-long unpaid internship comes in the final year, allowing students to gain in-classroom experience. At the same time, students must complete 24-credit hours of classes in the final year.

As the petition gained an increasing amount of attention, Associated Students for Michigan State University unanimously passed a bill in support of its demands, calling on MSU administration to examine the current state of the program and make the changes to better support their education students.

Outdoor gatherings limited in East Lansing following COVID-19 case spike

An emergency order by Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail on March 4 restricted outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 15 people in parts of East Lansing. 

Those found in violation of the order could receive a misdemeanor, resulting in up to six months imprisonment and/or a $200 fine. A municipal civil infraction ticket, punishable by a $500 fine, was also implemented under a City of East Lansing ordinance.

MSU announces 75% of classes will be held in person for upcoming fall semester

On March 5, the university announced 75% of undergraduate classes would be offered in-person for fall 2021. According to the email that was sent out, classes will be held in hybrid, in-person and online formats, especially those typically held in large lecture halls. 

Residence halls will be open to first-year students and as many other students as possible. Spectators will once again be welcomed at sporting events to the extent allotted by state restrictions and guidelines in place.

Classes for the summer semester will still be largely online, though some labs may be held in-person.

Community unrest after anti-Asian violence

On March 16, eight individuals - Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan and Daoyou Feng - six of which were Asian American women, were murdered in Atlanta. 

This sparked nationwide and university-wide conversations addressing racism against Asian-Americans. MSU students cited racist comments from MSU alum Larry Gaynor, whose name is tied to The Larry and Teresa Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab in the Eli Broad College of Business.

Many student organizations including the MSU Asian Pacific American Student Organization, the Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American/Asian Faculty and Staff Association and the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions demanded action from the university to support its APIDA student population.

Graduation changes

MSU announced they will hold more than 50 limited-attendance outdoor graduation ceremonies for the spring 2021 semester, though a university-wide convocation will not be held.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, summer graduates will instead be invited to participate in the fall 2021 commencement ceremonies, sparking criticism from students who anticipated walking the stage this semester.

Board of Trustees withholds 6,000 Nassar documents

As the Attorney General Office's investigation into Nassar remained inconclusive with the MSU Board of Trustees withholding about 6,000 documents, AG Nessel sent a letter to the BOT urging them to be released. 

The investigation, requested by the Trustees, began in 2016 and would be forced to close without the release of the documents. The attorney general's office had explored every legal avenue to obtain the documents but was unable to access them without the permission of the board.

In accordance with the attorney general's letter, the East Lansing City Council passed a resolution March 23 honoring "Sister Survivors" of sexual abuse and calling for the immediate release of the 6,000 documents. 

On March 26, the Trustees responded to Nessel's letter, stating they would be maintaining their privilege and not releasing the documents, resulting in the investigation coming to a close. 

The decision saw immediate community reactions, asking MSU to reconsider its decision not to waive its privilege.

MSU men's basketball team falls out of NCAA tournament after season with highs and lows

In the First Four of the NCAA Tournament, MSU fell 86-80 in overtime against UCLA. This marked the end of the team's run at a 15-13 record overall but maintained Coach Tom Izzo's NCAA Tournament appearance streak. 

 Tom Izzo and multiple players contracted COVID-19, causing the team to miss multiple games during the season. Tournament hopes were dwindling but the Spartans were able to beat three top-5 teams to maintain an NCAA appearance streak.

After two seasons with the team, sophomore guard Rocket Watts entered the NCAA transfer portal, citing his change from point guard to shooting guard and struggles to adjust due to the shortened off-season.

Assistant Coach Dan Fife will also be transferring, heading back to his home of Indiana to join their staff as an assistant coach for the 2021-22 season.

Spartan teams fall in Big Ten tournaments

The MSU hockey team faced defeat in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

On April 10, the men's soccer season ended with a 1-0 loss to the University of Michigan in the quarterfinals. The women's team faced similar luck, ending on a 1-0 loss to Rutgers.

The baseball and softball seasons are currently ongoing. Spring football has begun and the spring game will be held on April 24.

Expanding vaccine availability

MSU was approved to administer COVID-19 vaccines beginning April 9. This comes as state-vaccination regulations expanded allowing all residents aged 16 and above to receive their vaccination.

The vaccine clinic at the university will be open to students only and appointments are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Originally, MSU planned to offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to students for free but following a Food and Drug Administration recommendation to pause the vaccine due to rare blood clots, students will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

For a full-year review, a recap of the fall semester can be found here.

This article is part of our Semester in Review issue. Read the full issue here.

]]>
The Michigan State Spartan logo on a building, photographed August 31, 2020.

]]>
<![CDATA[Racist comments sent during ASMSU virtual election]]> The Associated Students of Michigan State University posted a press release to its social media platforms Friday addressing racist comments made in the Q&A feature via Zoom call.

On Thursday, April 15, ASMSU was hosting its final night of Office of the President elections when racist comments were made specifically targeting the Black community. The individual's name was recorded and reported to the Office of Institutional Equity and other university officials, according to the release.

ASMSU panelists were the only ones who saw the racist comments, not any attendees or other livestream viewers. Nonetheless, ASMSU emphasized in the press release that the organization is committed to creating a culture of inclusivity and safety at its events, workplaces and elections.

Five security measures have been implemented into any future ASMSU meetings that are hosted via Zoom.

MSU NetID logins will be required, attendees' chat function will be locked, Q&A options will be limited to host(s) view only, Zoom reports will be utilized to monitor call attendees, and in the incident of bias comments, ASMSU will pursue all actions through the OIE or other relevant offices.

The 57th General Assembly passed Bill 57-27, a bill where ASMSU shall advocate for a mandatory review of the Anti-Discrimination Policy every two years. James Madison College Rep. Jordan Kovach introduced Bill 57-27, and International Student Association Rep. Nikunj Agarwal seconded it.

The bill asks that the university Anti-Discrimination Policy is updated to explicitly prohibit virtual discrimination when it could reasonably create a hostile environment within an education program or activity sanctioned by MSU, according to the press release.

Bill 57-27 also advocated for several new topics to be included within the Anti-Discrimination Policy such as a maximum 90-day window for OIE to complete investigations.

ASMSU is encouraging students who feel they have been impacted by the racist comments to take time for themselves and/or reach out to a trusted professional. 

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Shiksha Sneha can be contacted at diversity@asmsu.msu.edu for any questions or concerns.

For support related to this incident, visit MSU Counseling & Psychiatric Services or the Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives Office.

]]>
<![CDATA[Michigan State football to allow 6,000 fans to spectate annual Spring Game]]> Michigan State Football will have fans in Spartan Stadium for the first time since the 2019 season as they will allow 6,000 fans, 500 of which will be students, to spectate its annual Spring Football Game on April 24 at 2 p.m.

In addition to its 6,000 fans, the Spartans will be bringing in the marching band as well as the cheerleaders, approximately another 300 people according to the release. This will put Spartan Stadium at about 11% capacity as only the lower bowl seating will be utilized for the event.

Fans will be able to begin claiming tickets on April 20 for those who are Spartan Fund Members in the top three donor levels. On April 21, tickets will be available to fall fans beginning at 8 a.m. as well as 500 tickets available to only students.

"We are excited to be able to welcome a limited number of fans, including for the first time all year, the general public, to Spartan Stadium," Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman said in the release. "There's a buzz building around the Spartan football program and I know our student-athletes and coaches will love to have fans in attendance, with many more tuning in on television and radio. I'd also like to thank our staff who has worked diligently to put together a plan that complies with all of the MDHHS requirements to make this event accessible to our fans."

Fans will be required to wear a mask when they arrive on campus as well as complete a health screening form within 24 hours prior to their arrival. Tailgating for this event will not be permitted.

As for the game itself, the Spring Game will be split into 10 to 15 practice periods featuring individual, group and scrimmage drills for fans to be able to watch. The game will also be broadcasted on BTN, and it will be a good chance for the Spartans to get a better look at what their depth chart and roster will look like this upcoming fall.

"We're looking forward to having our Spartan fans watch us live in Spartan Stadium," Michigan State Head Coach Mel Tucker said in the release. "Our fans are hungry for football. We want to engage our fans and we understand that they are a vital part of our program. It's a positive first step in connecting with our community and giving them a chance to see what our program is all about. To be able to take the field with the band playing 'Victory for MSU' and fans cheering will be a great way to complete spring practice."

]]>
Sparty and the MSU football team run on the field prior to the Green and White Spring Game on April 25, 2015, at Spartan Stadium. The white team defeated the green team, 9-3.

]]>