Michigan News

Students at Michigan State University can no longer have message whiteboards mounted on their dorm doors, starting this fall. Misuse of the whiteboards has made them more trouble than they're worth.

Kat Cooper is Director of Communications for Residential Services at MSU.  She says too often, students would scrawl offensive comments on the whiteboards. 

"Racist, sexist, anything in that category. Those have happened. There's been issues with them for a long time," says Cooper. "People write things on them that really aren't not part of our value set at MSU."

Dr. Larry Nassar, a former athletic doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, is accused of assaulting a young girl under the age of 13 in his home. He has been ordered to stand trial. If convicted, Nassar faces up to life in prison.

State funding for higher education in the U.S. is showing continued growth overall. That's according to the results of the latest Grapevine survey, an annual compilation of data on state fiscal support for higher education.

State funding rose by 3.4% across the U.S. from the 2015-16 to 2016-17 fiscal years. James Palmer is a professor of higher education at Illinois State University and Grapevine Editor.

State House Republicans are aggressively pushing through an income tax cut and rollback, despite numerous questions raised during a committee hearing about what funding cuts could happen in other areas if the bill passes.

A bill that would cut the state income tax and eventually phase it out altogether over 40 years was voted out of committee Wednesday. This happened after an hour and a half of testimony and over requests to hold off on a vote from some Democratic members.

A federal appeals court says the Jackson County Commission regularly violated the U.S. Constitution by opening its meetings with a Christian prayer.

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held the commission violated the Establishment Clause.  The Establishment Clause says government bodies cannot favor one religion over others.

Members of the MSU women's gymnastics team were told to say "no comment" to any reporters or police asking about sexual abuse allegations against the team physician, Dr. Larry Nassar.

That’s according to a lawsuit (which you can read here) filed by a scholarship student on the team, who also says she was repeatedly assaulted by Nassar as a child.

A team meeting in September 

The Michigan Board of Education wants Governor Snyder's School Reform Office to call off closing any schools this fall. It joins a growing chorus of protest by parents and school administrators against possible school closures.

Last month the School Reform Office announced that 38 schools are at risk of closure because of persistently low standardized test scores. The office said it was reviewing whether a closing would create "unreasonable hardship" before it reaches a final decision on closing a school.

One of Governor Snyder’s key advisors says “there’s no way in the world” the state will close 38 “failing” schools this year.

That’s what Rich Baird told the crowd at a Detroit meeting about potential school closures Monday night.

The State School Reform Office has sent letters to parents at 38 schools across the state, warning they could be shut down because of persistently low test scores. 25 of those schools are in Detroit.

A Michigan agency is seeking public comment on a recommendation creating uniform standards for public defenders in the state.

The 15-member Michigan Indigent Defense Commission created the proposal. The standards include better education and training for attorneys and mandatory interviews with defendants, along with other practices that improve legal service.

Commission Chair James Fisher says that these recommendations are necessary to improve a Michigan public defense system that, in his eyes, is failing and inconsistent in too many areas. 

After 27 years on the job, Kathie Klages is resigning as head coach of women’s gymnastics at MSU. She denies any knowledge about Dr. Larry Nassar’s alleged years-long, repeated sexual abuse of MSU gymnasts.

Two women have filed court documents claiming they told Klages about Nassar’s alleged assaults back in the 1990s. He wasn’t fired from MSU until earlier this past fall.  

Tomorrow, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will discuss what’s next for her city, now that the governor has refused to restart state credits on Flint water bills.

Gov. Rick Snyder met with Mayor Weaver Tuesday afternoon.  Snyder described the meeting as “constructive," but the governor is not budging on the decision to end state credits on city tax bills.

MC Sports announced yesterday that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and has begun the process of store liquidation.

The Grand Rapids-based company operates 68 store locations across the Midwest, including 22 in Michigan, and employs 1,300 people.

In a statement, MC Sports President and CEO Bruce Ullery said that the sports supplier has been unable to compete with online retailers.

More from yesterday's announcement:

The state office charged with possibly closing some Michigan schools for poor performance is midway through a critical review of some three dozen schools.

The Michigan School Reform Office is spending the next few weeks studying whether schools like Saginaw High School should close.    They’ll be at the school Monday morning.    

Saginaw school district leaders are considering going to court to fight any potential move by the state to close their schools.  

State School Reform officer Natasha Baker says she’s not paying attention to the potential legal challenge.

Michigan State University says the marching band director was suspended for a week last year for violating sexual misconduct policy.

Spokesman Jason Cody says he can't discuss specific allegations against John Madden. He says the suspension was in late May and early June. The campus newspaper, The State News, reported Thursday that a band member complained after getting text messages from Madden in 2015 and 2016.

More than 600 people showed up to a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Justin Amash Thursday night. It was his second Grand Rapids town hall in less than a month and it was the second time so many people showed up they had to close the doors and turn people away.

Some Michigan members of Congress have been criticized lately for avoiding constituents.

But town halls are not new for Amash. The Republican says he’s always felt taking unscripted questions from his constituents, in person, is part of the job. But under the new administration, the crowds have been major.

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