In the news

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Supreme Court signals sympathy with web designer opposed to same-sex marriage in a free speech case

By Mark Satta Mark Satta, assistant professor of philosophy at Wayne State University, wrote an article about a major case in front of the Supreme Court, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which centers around LGBTQ rights and free speech. The petitioner, Colorado-based web designer Lorie Smith, is looking to expand her business, 303 Creative, by making wedding websites for couples that consist of one man and one woman. She wants to refuse wedding website services to same-sex couples planning to marry. Smith also wants to write on the 303 Creative website that she has been called by God to make wedding websites only for mixed-sex couples in order to promote “God’s true story of marriage.” This would appear to violate the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, a state law that protects against sexual-orientation discrimination in places that offer goods and services to the public. “As a scholar who pays close attention to the Supreme Court’s free speech and LGBTQ civil rights cases, I believe the case could have a significant impact on how federal courts handle cases where free speech rights appear to clash with anti-discrimination laws in the future,” writes Satta, before outlining three key recurring themes in the case.

Apple pulls production out of China following protests

Assistant professor of teaching in global supply chain management at Wayne State University Kevin Ketels discusses the acceleration of Apple’s plans to shift some of its production outside China, which has long been the company’s dominant country in the supply chain. About 85% of iPhones are built and assembled in China. The pandemic, civil unrest and COVID authoritarian rule have revealed that consolidating manufacturing centers for American companies in the volatile country is now becoming more risky and less sustainable. Apple is rethinking its strategy after worker protests related to China’s zero-COVID policies. “We’ve seen police beating workers at Foxcon’s facility in China, which is the world’s biggest site making Apple smartphones…” Ketels said. “Now Apple says ‘we need more facilities and places to avoid supply chain nightmares.’ In the past, people didn’t worry too much about product coming from one location to another. Free trade seemed pretty normal and predictable, but we have entered a whole new world, and Apple is waking up to that…”     
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Kids in Detroit learn what it’s like to attend medical school

Children in Detroit are getting the chance to find out what it's like to go to medical school. Dr. Carolyn King is one of the founders of Co-founder of the Reach out to Youth Program at Wayne State University and hopes to inspire the next generation of young doctors. The program, which began in 1990, encourages kids ages seven through eleven to consider careers in medicine. "In order for us to know who we can be, we have to see that role model in front of us, otherwise, we think the only thing there is to be that's passion-filled is an athlete or a superstar," said King. Second-year medical students who were a part of the program spoke about the importance of young children seeing those with similar ethnic backgrounds or genders reaching some of the highest levels in the medical field. "I really believe that representation is super important, especially in the field of medicine, where we don't have many black doctors or many brown doctors," said medical student Lyndsay Archer "So making sure that we just inspire the next generation to know that this field is something that they can do and that they can thrive in is super important."
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UAW election results signal ‘discontent’ among members as reformers notch big wins

By Eric D. Lawrence and Jamie L. LaReau  UAW members don't yet know if they will have a new president or whether incumbent Ray Curry will hold his seat following the union’s first direct election of top leaders, but one thing is certain: Change is on the horizon. Marick Masters, a business professor and labor expert at Wayne State University, said the vote, with rank-and-file members mostly selecting opposition candidates where they had the choice, revealed a great deal of dissatisfaction with the current leadership. Masters said, noting that some of the reforms in budgeting and personnel that the union is required to implement as a result of the fallout from the corruption scandal are “works in progress.” “They have an opportunity if they are firm and aggressive and thoughtful about it to make sweeping changes,” Masters said of the new voices. The corruption scandal, which exposed a culture where some top leaders helped themselves to a “fat cat” lifestyle, amplified the dissatisfaction among many members, but Masters said the discontent had its roots in other causes, such as unhappiness with the union’s stance in bargaining and a perceived willingness to cooperate too much with management. Looking ahead, the union will need to prioritize where it puts its organizing resources, Masters said. If the union wants to show its ability to make progress on some of the issues members care about, then it will need to demonstrate that it can unionize workers at electric vehicle battery plants and at auto plants not controlled by the Detroit Three, he said, noting that it won’t be easy. “These companies are not going to roll over and allow this to happen without a fight, so they’re going to have to be more resourceful overall in how they approach organizing these new battery facilities and these foreign-based plants in the United States,” Masters said. 
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Learn about the new security and light installations at Noel Night downtown this year

Saturday night Downtown Detroit was full of the holiday spirit and bright lights at the 48th annual Noel Night. The event was the first one since 2020 due to the pandemic and this year there was increased security to ensure a peaceful night. Detroit Police Commander Melissa Gardner says the increased security included four difference police agencies: Detroit Police, the Wayne County Reserves, Wayne State Police, and a private off-duty police force called Blue Line Protection.
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Latest Ford Super Duty orders set ‘insane’ pace

By Phoebe Wall Howard  Ford shattered a sales record for the month of November after reaching a record-setting pace of 52,518 new orders for the 2023 Super Duty pickup in the last five days of October, when it averaged more than 10,000 trucks a day, according to monthly sales data. But the November sales report nearly triples that figure. The Super Duty pickup has a base price of $43,970 that often climbs past $90,000, depending on amenities selected by the buyer. Options include type of engine, wheels, tires, cloth or leather interior, display screen size and massaging seats. Ford now has orders for 151,870 Super Duty trucks since the order bank opened Oct. 27, the company revealed Friday. Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University, said Ford has a high-stakes interest in maintaining the appeal of the Super Duty that goes beyond just happy customers who want a pickup with a traditional internal combustion engine that pulls enormous loads of weight. These are the products that fund the future at Ford in electrification and technology research, he said. "This bodes well for the company's future," Masters said. "The sheer volume of orders is particularly surprising. It's very important for the company to have high levels of sales in these profitable areas." 
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Wayne State adopts tuition model that promotes graduation rates

By Sherri Welch The Wayne State University Board of Governors on Friday adopted a block tuition model for undergraduate students. With the change, which takes effect in fall 2023, undergraduate students will pay the same amount for enrolling in 12-18 credits per semester. The shift incentivizes students to take full course loads and enables them to graduate sooner, WSU said in a release, noting it is the 11th public university in the state to adopt the model. "To fulfill Wayne State's mission as a university of access and an engine of social mobility, we constantly strive to align our students' goals with academic pathways to success," said Mark Kornbluh, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
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This is why Taylor Swift fans hate on Ferndale

The city of Ferndale has become the target of jokes and complaints on social media by fans of Taylor Swift because the vinyl records, CDs, sweatshirts, jewelry and other official merchandise sold on the singer's website are shipped from the Metro Detroit city by record label Universal Music Group NV through a company called Artist Endeavor LLC. And some fans who preordered her 10th studio album, "Midnights," released on Oct. 21 say they aren't coming, well, swiftly enough. Central parts of the country, like Michigan, often can be attractive to distributors for ease of access to customers nationally. Metro Detroit also is home to a major international airport, though it's still 30 minutes from Ferndale. Michigan may offer less costly real estate and labor than other states like Massachusetts, noted Hakan Yildiz, associate professor of supply chain management at Wayne State University. It also has a low risk for natural hazards like hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires. 
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Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common health problem that can have serious consequences – but doctors often overlook it

By Diane Cress  Diane Cress, associate professor of nutrition and food science at Wayne State University, wrote an article about the consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency, and how it is over overlooked by doctors. B12 deficiency is a common problem that affects an estimated 6% to 20% of the U.S. population. Cress outlines the symptoms of B12 deficiency, as well as the absorption process and treatment options.  “One primary symptom of B12 deficiency is fatigue – a level of tiredness or exhaustion so deep that it affects daily life activities. Other symptoms are neurological and may include tingling in the extremities, confusion, memory loss, depression and difficulty maintain balance…” Cress writes. “However, since there can be so many causes for these symptoms, health care providers may overlook the possibility of a B12 deficiency and fail to screen for it…”
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Give thanks: No fall COVID wave in Michigan

By Mike Wilkinson  As Michigan and the nation are just weeks from beginning the fourth year of COVID-19, the signs are remarkably positive, according to new state data released Monday and Tuesday. For the first time since July, Michigan hospitals are treating fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 positive patients. New confirmed cases fell this week to the lowest level since April. The coronavirus positive test rate is now the lowest since May. The good news is widespread: hospitalizations have declined in every region in Michigan after hitting a recent high, state records show. But as Thanksgiving and the holidays approach, other data shows that the virus remains a threat: the state reported 223 deaths on Tuesday, the most since February. Though the deaths spanned several months, including 158 in November and 61 in October, they underscore that the virus is still taking lives daily across Michigan. Among that hardest hit: older residents and those who are unvaccinated or are not fully boosted. “It is very stark,” said Dr. Phil Levy, an emergency medicine physician at Detroit Receiving Hospital and a Wayne State University researcher. “If you’re not up-to-date (on vaccinations) you are exposing yourself to substantial risk.” 
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Wayne Law Moot Court Program completes inaugural Peter Henning Competition

Wayne State University Law School’s Moot Court program concluded its inaugural Peter Henning Moot Court Competition earlier this month. Of the 30 junior members who participated in the two-day competition, 2L Chloe Brueck prevailed as the Fall 2022 In-House champion.  During the competition’s Preliminary Rounds, judges evaluated oral advocates based on the substantive content of their arguments, knowledge of the record, extemporaneous abilities, and courtroom demeanor. The top eight oralists from the preliminaries advanced to the competition’s upper rounds the next day. 
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Scientists warn of health impacts as Great Lakes plastic pollution grows

By Irving Mejia-Hilario  Tens of millions of pounds of tiny pieces of plastic called ‘microplastics’ enter the Great Lakes each year. Exposure is linked to learning and memory issues in animals; researchers fear similar effects on humans. Experts say minor policy changes like banning microbeads are inadequate to combat the issue. Microplastics come from various sources, including litter like nurdles and water bottles, as well as wear-and-tear on the plastic products that seem ubiquitous in everyday life. Polyester fleece blankets and shirts release plastic into wastewater with every wash. Car tires emit a plastic dust as they wear against road surfaces. Though scientists have been tracking microplastics in the ocean since the 1970s, their 2013 discovery in the Great Lakes raised a new alarm. The lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people in the U.S. and Canada, while supporting an entire food web that sustains commercial, tribal, and recreational fishing economies. Fears of a looming crisis in the Great Lakes prompted researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University to host a roundtable discussion in May to discuss the growing threat. They fear society is disregarding a major environmental and health hazard, said Rodrigo Fernandez-Valdivia, an assistant professor in the School of Medicine at Wayne State University who spoke at the meeting. “At some point, this may overcome us, as humans,” Fernandez-Valdivia said. “We need to not finger-point at countries and regions, and recognize that this is a global problem.” 

Q&A: ‘Promising’ immunotherapies may treat platinum-resistant ovarian cancer

By Kalie VanDewater and Ira Winer  During their lifetime, one in 70 women will receive a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, which is the second most common gynecologic cancer in the United States, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Among these, 15% to 30% will have platinum-resistant or refractory ovarian cancer, data show. Although the FDA granted fast track designation to a combination therapy for platinum-resistant disease in May, studies are still ongoing to identify other potential treatment options. Healio spoke with Ira Winer, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the division of gynecologic oncology at Wayne State University in Detroit, to learn more about what treatments show the most promise for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. “Taking a step back, ovarian cancer in general can be a difficult disease to treat. This is largely due to the fact that it is a difficult disease to recognize and diagnose because the symptoms can be vague and are often mild. Once a patient is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, they will be treated with platinum-based chemotherapies combined with surgery up front. Maintenance strategies are also utilized to prevent recurrent disease,” said Winer. “Unfortunately, still, approximately 80% of patients will recur ultimately. Once platinum resistance is identified, very few conventional agents offer significant response as the disease becomes resistant to prototypical/conventional DNA-damaging agents. 
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This purposeful online learning company is forging ahead

For Amesite Inc., the beginning of the fourth quarter is an opportunity to look back on some of its exciting news as well as the momentum it has built from the third quarter. This includes some key partnerships with universities, multi-institution buyers and businesses. In August, Amesite announced it was expanding its partnership with Wayne State University’s College of Engineering to move their Amesite-powered platform — Warrior TechSource — to Amesite’s V5 eCommerce platform. This gives Warrior TechSource the added capabilities of Amesite’s scalable e-commerce ecosystem, to expand its streamlined and integrated course learning services to a 30,000-strong student and alumni network.