Stateside: How MI schools prepare for mass shootings; divestment at MSU; lawyers for evictees | Michigan Radio
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Stateside: How MI schools prepare for mass shootings; divestment at MSU; lawyers for evictees

Apr 16, 2019

Today on Stateside, how are Michigan schools preparing for active shooter situations? And what role does the state play in tracking efforts to make schools safer? Plus, Michigan State University's historic role in the divestment movement of the 1970s, and why students there are calling for greater transparency about their school's current investments.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

State doesn’t track how schools prepare for active shooters, Bridge Magazine reports

  • Michigan schools have been toughening up their security measures, partially supported by state grants for school safety improvements. But as reporters Lindsay VanHulle and Ron French write in an article for Bridge Magazine, there aren't any actual minimum school safety standards required by the state.
  • Ron French breaks down the different safety measures schools are implementing, and why state officials want a clearer definition of what it means to have a secure school.  

Faith-based agency would stop foster and adoption services if forced to serve same sex couples, says attorney

  • Last month, a lawsuit settled by Attorney General Dana Nessel and the American Civil Liberties Union established a new rule: Michigan adoption agencies that receive state funding cannot refuse to work with LGBTQ clientele. That rule is now the subject of a new lawsuit filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of St. Vincent Catholic Charities.
  • Nick Reaves is an attorney with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He explains why the group filed the lawsuit against the new rule, which it says violates the religious rights of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies like St. Vincent. 

Universities invest billions worldwide. MSU students say those investments should be more transparent.

  • A group of students at Michigan State University wants the school to be more transparent about where it invests its money. Nat Hooper and Grace Michienzi are research assistants at the Center for Community and Economic Development at Michigan State and two of the organizers behind the event “Lift the Rock: Spartans for Accountable Investment."
  • They explain what questions they have about the university’s investment practices, and how responsive school officials have been to their request for financial transparency.
  • We reached out to MSU for a comment, and received this statement from Chief Investment Officer Philip Zecher: 

“MSU takes the stewardship of the funds entrusted to its endowment very seriously, and employs an investment office staffed by industry professionals. Our primary objective, as required under the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, is to meet the spending obligations made to the donors of the funds while maintaining the principal in perpetuity. Doing so requires balancing the intentions of the donors with the diverse interests of the larger MSU community.”

MSU helped lead 1970s movement to divest from apartheid-era South Africa

  • Michigan State University has a history of activism when it comes to divestment. In 1972, a handful of students and professors called on the school to disinvest from corporations within, or doing business with, African countries where citizens of color experienced state-sanctioned oppression under white governments. That included the apartheid state of South Africa. 
  • David Wiley, a professor emeritus of African Studies and Sociology at MSU, was involved in that first divestment campaign. He tells us about the anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s, and what it took to make MSU the first public university to completely divest from South Africa.

Housing advocate, landlord share perspectives on the eviction process 

  • According to recent reporting from The Detroit News, only 4.4% of Detroit renters show up in court with a lawyer. That’s compared to the 83% of landlords who have legal representation in eviction cases. That has some housing advocates calling on the city of Detroit to provide attorneys to tenants.
  • Ted Phillips is the executive director of the United Community Housing Coalition, a group that helps people with housing issues. He explains why he believes providing access to a lawyer for tenants fighting eviction could ultimately save the city money. 
  • Not everyone thinks that legal aid for tenants makes the eviction process more fair. Bill Morris is a landlord in Battle Creek. He says the process of evicting tenants is already incredibly costly and drawn out for property owners.

Review: Kelly Fordon’s new poetry is an unsentimental look at marriage and motherhood

  • In her new collection of poems, Goodbye Toothless House, Michigan writer Kelly Fordon takes aim at the idealized facade of marriage and motherhood. Ann Arbor-based poet and writer Keith Taylor reviews the collection. 

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