In the news

News outlet logo for favicons/legalnews.com.png

Wayne Law sex trafficking program draws large crowd

The conference “(S)exploiting the Vulnerable: Empowering Future Legal Advocates,” held April 12 at Wayne State University Law School, attracted more than 300 attendees from a variety of disciplines including, law, social work, law enforcement and non-profits. Planned and coordinated by Wayne State Assistant Professor Blanche Cook and law students Taylor Hilton, Ben VanSlyke, Lydia Mikail, Rebecca Bundy, and Elisabeth Moore, the event opened with remarks by WSU Law School Dean Richard Bierschbach about the issues of sex trafficking and how future legal advocates can make a change by bringing light to this topic. Wayne Law alumna Angela Povilatis from the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, and Kim Trent from the WSU Board of Governors spoke about the growing world of sex trafficking and how the legal community can work to combat this practice. 

Wayne State smart manufacturing center partners with HERE Technologies

Wayne State University and HERE Technologies have announced an agreement to partner on various industry projects, create education curriculums, and develop solutions with other technology providers at the Wayne State Smart Manufacturing Development Center (SMDC). “Wayne State University is at the heart of Detroit’s resurgence. The campus is growing, the curriculums are being tuned to the needs of the future workforce and we’re aligning to new industry principles such as Industry 5.0,” said Joseph Kim, professor of industrial & systems engineering at Wayne State University. “HERE’s expertise in navigation and location will help us bring practical experiences and real-life business situations to students and provide them an opportunity to see how location technology is applied to customers in the industrial sector.” 
News outlet logo for favicons/wxyz.com.png

Blood-sucking 'kissing bug' moving north, possibly in Michigan

The 'kissing bug' is on the move and is possibly already establishing itself in Michigan. The blood-sucker carries the third most common parasitic disease in the world but is most often associated with warmer climates in Central and South America, or in southern U.S. states like Texas and Arizona. But that's changing. "It seems to be moving north. The more they look, the more they’re finding it," said Glen Hood, biologist and evolutionary ecologist at Wayne State University. 
News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

LinkedIn shows off its new space in Detroit's downtown

LinkedIn opened the doors of its new permanent regional home on Woodward to visitors Wednesday, among the latest businesses to locate in the downtown Detroit corridor. Officials and area professionals were on hand to celebrate with the professional network site's space at 1523 Woodward, a 75,000-square-foot office in the Albert Kahn-designed Sanders and Grinnell buildings. Keith Whitfield, provost of Wayne State University, said he’s excited to have LinkedIn expanding in Detroit. There’s so much to do, there’s so much capacity and so much opportunity,” he said. “We want to make the opportunities for people, the mobility for people in terms of jobs.” 
News outlet logo for favicons/insidehighered.com.png

FCC Key to Closing the Homework Gap

Patrick Gossman, deputy chief information officer at Wayne State University, agrees that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should give institutions the opportunity to deploy their own networks. Equipment costs have now come down significantly, and projects such as the NMU Educational Access Network have shown it can be done, he said. Gossman said the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) is being used effectively by educators. “The only spectrum not being utilized in the United States is the spectrum that the FCC has been sitting on for over 23 years, despite all the efforts we’ve made to get them to license the unlicensed areas,” he said. Wayne State University obtained its EBS licenses in the 1960s and produced educational television programming until the 1990s. It then leased its spectrum to Sprint, which built up the necessary infrastructure in Detroit to make the 4G LTE network operational. “There was no way that I could have built a cellular 4G LTE network to blanket 38,000 square miles and four million people. It made a heck of a lot more sense to partner with Sprint and let them go through that,” said Gossman. “We lease to Sprint, but I look upon it as a partnership.”

The 5 worst things to say after someone dies—and what to say instead

Around 7,500 people die each day in the United States—one person every 11.5 seconds. By your 50s and 60s, you’ve almost certainly had personal experience with death—a parent’s death, other close family members, and/or personal friends. And yet, when you hear that someone has died, it’s still hard to know what to say to their loved ones. Part of the reason is that seeing the grief and pain of others surrounding death is uncomfortable. You also may be grappling with your own feelings about your experiences. They may also be busy making arrangements, causing it to appear like they’re handling the death particularly well. “Then you might find a few months later that it’s all starting to hit,” says Peter A. Lichtenberg, a clinical psychologist and director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. “Grief is very variable. It brings out a sense of finality and a sense of helplessness in all of us,” says Lichtenberg. 
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

Brain scans help shed light on the PTSD brain

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote an article for The Conversation about post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. “PTSD is common, affecting 8 percent of the U.S. population, up to 30 percent of the combat exposed veterans, and 30-80 percent of refugees and victims of torture. A brain scan is a general term that covers a diverse group of methods for imaging the brain. In psychiatric clinical practice, brain scans are mostly used to rule out visible brain lesions that may be causing psychiatric symptoms. However, in research we use them to learn about the pathologies of the brain in mental illness. 
News outlet logo for favicons/wdet.org.png

The Mueller Investigation Through the Lens of History

A redacted Mueller Report is likely to dominate the news cycle for the coming days and beyond as Congress and the public get a first glimpse at its findings. What answers should we expect? What answers should we not expect to get? What are the possible paths forward? And how does this report and investigation compare to other probes into presidencies throughout history? Marc Kruman, professor of American history and director of Wayne State’s Center for the Study of Citizenship joined Reuters reporter David Shepardson in a discussion about the findings.
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Michigan teen made viral Buzzfeed quizzes for free. Now she's cashing in

Rachel McMahon, a west Michigan teen obsessed with pop star Justin Bieber, made national headlines when she was identified — outed? — earlier this year as the unpaid author of nearly 700 BuzzFeed quizzes. "Digital life, like life in general, has positive and negative aspects," said Karen McDevitt, a Wayne State University instructor on new media. "Economically, digital media has not really found a sustainable business model. It's based on virality." That means, McDevitt said, companies must get a lot of attention. "The joy of the Internet is that we can access everything, and the problem with that goes back to that unsustainable business model," McDevitt added. "If you post something online, why should I have to pay to access that? The thinking is that it should be free. So how do we pay people to do that?"
News outlet logo for favicons/insidehighered.com.png

Science vs. Security

Over the past year and a half, national security agencies, federal granting agencies, the White House and members of Congress have all signaled their increasing concern about international students or scholars who might seek to exploit the openness of the U.S. academic environment for their own -- or their nations' -- gain. "I don’t think it’s necessarily that anything has changed so much as there’s just a growing awareness that there is a potential issue," said M. Roy Wilson, the president of Wayne State University and co-chair of the NIH working group on foreign influences on research integrity. "I do want to emphasize I think everybody on the committee -- most of us were university presidents -- were very, very, very sensitive to the fact that most foreign scientists who get NIH grants and who collaborate with scientists here, the vast, vast majority are very productive and have contributed a huge amount to science and are playing by the rules. We want to make sure that we don’t stigmatize the overwhelming majority of foreign investigators. But having said that, there’s just a growing awareness that there has been some small but nonetheless important problem that has to be addressed."

Expert: Palm oil not linked with diseases

Some critics have claimed that palm oil is linked with heart disease and other non-communicable diseases. But a nutritional biochemist pointed out that many studies have shown that saturated fat may not have an impact on heart disease risk. Wayne State University’s Depar­tment of Nutrition and Food Science Associate Professor Pramod Khosla said that many such studies have since emerged since 2011. He added palm oil is a balanced oil with an equal amount of unsaturated and saturated fats. In fact, Khosla said that one of the biggest contributors to heart disease is too much salt, which could lead to hypertension, a risk factor for heart disease. 
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

Are America’s teachers really underpaid?

Michael Addonizio, professor of educational leadership and policy studies, examines the growing disparity in compensation to America’s teachers. “In the spring of 2018, thousands of public school teachers walked out of their classrooms in a half-dozen states, protesting low salaries, rising class sizes and cuts to school budgets that have prompted most teachers to buy their own classroom supplies. Additional strikes followed in 2019 in Los Angeles, Denver and Oakland. While these walkouts, which enjoyed much public support, were about more than teacher pay, stagnant teacher salaries were central issues.” 
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

Muslims arrived in America 400 years as part of the slave trade

Saeed Ahmed Khan, senior lecturer in Near East, Asian and global studies, wrote a Conversation piece about the history of Muslims settling in America, and misunderstandings that many Americans hold about Islam. Khan notes that much of what Americans understand about Islam is from the media. “It’s not surprising then to see the many misunderstandings that exist about Muslims. Some see them as outsiders and a threat to the American way of life and values. President Donald Trump’s controversial policy to impose a ban on Muslims from seven countries entering into the United States played into such fears. What many don’t know, however, is that Muslims have been in America well before America became a nation. In fact, some of the earliest arrivals to this land were Muslim immigrants – forcibly transported as slaves in the transatlantic trade, whose 400th anniversary is being observed this year,” Khan wrote.

Wayne State to Offer Experimental School Librarian Certification Program

Created to address Michigan’s low literacy rates, Wayne State University’s School of Information Sciences (SIS) is launching an experimental program for spring/summer 2019 aimed at increasing the number of professional school librarians in the state. Kafi Kumasi, assistant SIS professor and lead developer of the program, says the time is right to act on “new synergy” in the state’s educational system and legislative bodies. 
News outlet logo for favicons/metroparent.com.png

DetroitEd411 chat tool gives students college advice

The new Facebook Messenger chat bot, named after the Spirit of Detroit, is part of the DetroitEd411 program launched by Wayne State University in April 2019 and gives students free 24-hour access to resources and information about postsecondary education opportunities. It uses artificial intelligence and can answer questions from people in any stage of their educational path – from high schoolers who need financial aid information to parents seeking a career change. “This tool allows folks to engage wherever they are,” says Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management at Wayne State University. “The wonderful thing about AI is it doesn’t judge you. You don’t have to sit across from a person and say, ‘I was 16 and I made a mistake,’ or ‘I’m 30 and I never got my high school diploma and I don’t want people to know.’ It’s purely anonymous.”
News outlet logo for favicons/clickondetroit.com.png

Here’s a look behind the scenes at Detroit’s mounted police

You've probably seen them trotting around at all the big events in Detroit, dressed to the nines and directing crowds of people. They are the Detroit mounted police. But, what does an average day look like for a mounted officer? What is required to take care of the horses? Michelle Oliver got a chance to do a ride-along and this is what she learned. Oliver arrived at 8 a.m. and the officers had already done a lot of work. The horses were groomed and waiting in their stables for their officers to get dressed and ready. Speaking to Officer Garnette Steen, he said it takes them about an hour to prep the horses in the morning. Looking nice and polished is important for both the officers and the horses, so the horses are given a hoof treatment to make their hooves look shiny. Seargant Muston then did a roll call and handed out assignments for the day. They like to go where there is a lot of foot traffic. Eastern Market on Saturdays and the Wayne State area is a popular beat. Oliver followed Officers Steen and Murphy for their patrol of Wayne State. Not long after they mounted their horses, Remmy and Andre, people started coming up to ask them if they could pet the horses, something the officers welcomed. "It's a little different. I've never had anyone walk up and pet my squad car, but every time I am walking, somebody will stop [me], and want to pet Andre," said Officer Brandon Murphy. The horses help the police build relationships with the community they are patrolling, something Sergeant Muston finds very important. The Detroit Mounted Police started patrolling the streets in 1893. Sgt. Muston said they had a rocky start, but quickly got their footing and started growing. At their peak, the Detroit mounted unit had about 70 officers. In 2005, however, Sergeant Muston said the department was poorly managed and was shut down after over 100 years on duty. Muston saw the value in the mounted unit and wrote a proposal to bring it back, which they did in 2009. The officers work a typical 8 hour day and will spend about 5 hours on patrol with their horses, with breaks. They all seemed very dedicated to their work and enjoyed talking to people as they walked by. One girl was so enchanted by the horses that she ran off to buy apples to feed them. "Come say 'hi.' Come speak. We don't bite, unprovoked," joked Officer Murphy. 
News outlet logo for favicons/legalnews.com.png

(Sex)ploiting the vulnerable

"Ours is a society that craves vulnerable flesh,” says Blanche Cook, an assistant professor at Wayne State University Law School and a leading national expert on sex-trafficking prosecutions and the commercialization and exploitation of females. Cook, previously an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Nashville, Tenn., specializing in large-scale drug and sex-trafficking prosecutions, is helping organize an April 12 conference, “(S)exploiting the Vulnerable: Empowering Future Legal Advocates to Combat Sex Trafficking.” “Unlike other sex trafficking conferences, Wayne Law’s conference centralizes the point of view of the survivor and uses that point of view to critique the legal process,” Cook says. Cook notes sex trafficking, that victimizes both children and adults, has reached epidemic proportions. Homeless youth, victims of discrimination or domestic violence, and asylum-seekers are frequent targets, and the Internet and substance dependency makes vulnerable people easy prey, often through force, fraud, or coercion. “Sex trafficking is omnipresent and always has been,” Cook says. “Vulnerability is the lynchpin—or epicenter—of exploitation. Geographic location is peripheral, vulnerability is key. “Large scale events like trade shows, where there is disposable cash, large crowds, and an abundance of recreational time and party-like atmosphere are often a recipe for commercialized sex disaster. Vulnerability combined with domination and control by reducing human beings to commodities to be bought and sold on an open market are the essence of commercialized sex.”