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Everyday African American Vernacular English is a dialect born from conflict and creativity

Walter Edwards, professor of linguistics and former director of the Humanities Center, participated in an interview with The Conversation about African American Vernacular English. “The biggest misconception – in fact it’s a widespread misconception – is that this form of everyday speech is just broken English; that people who speak it are unable to speak standard English or too lazy to do it,” he said. “It is a misconception that has been there since the beginning of the inhabitation of this country by Black people. Stigmatized as it is, Black English is as sophisticated and diversified as any other linguistic variety; it’s a testament to the achievements of Black people.” 
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Investigators go inside Wayne County Morgue more than a year after exposing mistakes, mismanagement

By Karen Drew  It’s been a year-long investigation exposing poor record keeping, decomposing bodies and delays in contacting families of the dead at the Wayne County Morgue. Local 4’s Karen Drew, who led the year-long investigation of issue at the Wayne County Morgue, sat down with the new leadership, Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. Wayne State University School of Medicine has taken over the Wayne County Morgue with a 5-year, $70 million contract. Dean Dr. Wael Sakr discussed how he plans to address issues at the morgue, including an aggressive recruitment campaign to hire more medical examiners, improved record keeping and more. “We’re going to fix that [record keeping] through our software and data management, we are implementing the most current, modern version of it by the end of the month,” Dr. Sakr said. In a rare and surprising move, the new leadership allowed Local 4 cameras inside the medical examiner’s office. “Beyond just autopsies, and toxicology and histology. But how can we improve the health of the people in Wayne County? We can do that through the medical examiner’s office. There is data that we can utilize to really help us from a population health perspective,” said Thane Peterson, vice dean for finance and administration at the School of Medicine.  
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Undecided voters say they’re still searching for information ahead of Tuesday’s General Election

By Glenda Lewis and Tracy Wujack  Undecided voters say they’re still seeking information to make decisions ahead of Tuesday’s election. Typically, undecided voters make up a percentage that could make or break a final decision on a front-runner. Brady Baybeck, associate professor of political science at Wayne State University, says in today’s climate it’s not about being undecided as much as it is being uninformed. “If you look at the polls, they’re saying 4% are undecided. I would guess that’s probably an overestimate,” said Baybeck. “Because of the polarization of the national political science, because of the innovation of information, media coverage and the ads and things like that, how can you not be aware of what’s going on? I know you might be confused about how you get involved, but does that truly mean you’re undecided? Not necessarily, it just means you’re not informed.” 
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‘Glory days’ of prefab MBA degrees are over, and Michigan colleges are adapting

By Minnah Arshad  As the “glory days” of widespread, generalist master of business administration degrees fizzle out, Michigan universities are finding new ways to attract students across the globe. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some universities saw a decrease in graduate business program enrollment, which could be attributed to health concerns or deferrals for international students. Fall 2022 data shows a rebound to pre-pandemic numbers for some universities in the region. For others, the slump continues. While colleges in Michigan have offered numerous options for how to earn an MBA, from fully virtual to in person, the question of why has changed over the last couple of decades. Over the years, accrediting bodies and business colleges have shifted focus as the world evolves, said Jeff Stoltman, director of entrepreneurship and innovation programs at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business. With the collision of the digital revolution and societal shift, entrepreneurial academics are facing another moment of “soul-searching criticism,” Stoltman said. Wayne State faculty approved some revisions to the MBA program on Sept. 30, Stoltman said, adding new courses in supply chain and emerging technology issues, which reflect the growth of the digital economy. As a Detroit university, Wayne State has responded to the auto giants by way of building a strong supply chain program. Over the last few years, Wayne State has offered courses in varying lengths and formats, from four-week classes to weekend classes, and asynchronous, synchronous, hybrid and in-person formats. Most of the MBA students are part-time, so the university has worked to offer a variety of schedules to accommodate working students.  
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Remembering Harry Houdini's Halloween death in Detroit 96 years later

Halloween marks the 96th anniversary of one of the most famous magicians ever. You may not have known, but Harry Houdini performed his last show in downtown Detroit before dying at a Detroit hospital in 1926. Day before his show, in Detroit, he was performing in Montreal when someone asked to punch him in the stomach. Houdini was known to be a strong man with powerful abs. "Legend has it, he wasn't ready for the punch, and they hit him pretty good," Jeff Horner, a senior lecturer at Wayne State said. Horner, who is an urban planner and calls himself an amateur historian, said Houdini wasn't feeling well on the train ride down to Detroit. Houdini gave his last performance at the Garrick Theater, which stood near the corner of Griswold and Michigan Ave. in downtown Detroit. "He was supposedly in great pain during the performance, but gave folks their money's worth," Horner said. Houdini died at Grace Hospital, which is located near the current DMC Campus, after his performance at the Garrick. According to Horner, people led seances in the hospital room Houdini died in for years trying to make contact with Houdini. "The ultimate trick of any illusionist is to come back from the dead," Horner said.
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COVID-19 may be to blame for the surge in RSV illness among children. Here’s why

A number of young children are being hospitalized because of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and it’s happening at an unusual time of year and among older children than in years past. The current RSV outbreak is different from previous outbreaks in several ways: It’s happening in the fall rather than the winter; older children and not just infants are being hospitalized; and cases are occurring that are more serious than in previous years. “The theory is that everyone’s now back together, and this is a rebound phenomenon,” said Jeffrey Kline, a physician and associate chair of research for emergency medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Kline runs a national surveillance network that gathers data about viral infections from about 70 hospitals, including four pediatric hospitals. He says those data show that 318 children were hospitalized with acute respiratory illness brought on by RSV in the week starting Oct. 9, compared with 45 hospitalizations in the week starting July 25. “If we think about the relative increase – ninefold increase – that’s not nothing, especially in the pediatric [emergency departments],” Kilne said.   
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For the Astros’ staff, a simple formula: ‘Get nasty pitches and throw them a lot’

By Chelsea Janes  In the months before the 2019 MLB draft, then-Wayne State University right-hander Hunter Brown did what any self-respected job seeker would do. He exaggerated on his resume. Prospective draftees fill out questionnaires about themselves to help teams learn more about them. Brown talked up a new curveball he was workshopping to go with the four-seamer, two-seamer and slider the scouts had already seen. He had, indeed, tried a curveball a few times. “I hadn’t thrown it all really,” Brown said. Soon after the Houston Astros drafted him, they asked to see it. He put on a brave face and threw it. The Astros told him it was excellent, exactly the kind of pitch someone with his arm slot should be throwing to complement a slider that moved more laterally. Three years later, he was in the big leagues throwing 31% curveballs as a rookie on one of the majors’ deepest and nastiest pitching staffs. That pitching staff enters the World Series with a 1.88 ERA in Houston’s seven postseason games this year, all of which the Astros have won.  

Thrills & chills: The psychology of fear

It’s that time of year when we celebrate something we usually hate: fear. We visit haunted houses and corn mazes or binge-watch the scariest horror movies. But our relationship with fear is complicated. In its most primitive form, fear is about survival – it raises our heart rates, redirects our blood flow, makes us faster and fiercer, all so we can face – or escape – serious threats. In other settings – where there’s no real danger – fear can feel exhilarating, fun, and exciting. It can serve as a form of entertainment, or even help us focus and perform better. Arash Javanbakht, a trauma psychiatrist who is also the director of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC) at Wayne State University, explains the purpose of our primitive fear circuitry, how it fits into modern life, and why we crave scary experiences. “Imagine – if the fear system was instilled in us, we need to practice it. When you’re watching a horror movie, what are you practicing?...You’re constantly, in your mind, practicing ways of surviving. In that sense, these scary experiences are kind of a practice of ‘how I would survive if this happened to me’ but we do it in a safe environment…” 
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Proposal 3 in Michigan: Abortion rights & what would change if it passes

One of the biggest and most controversial proposals on the November Midterm ballot is Proposal 3, which focuses on abortion and reproductive rights. The petition for the proposal set a record with more than 730,000 valid voter signatures, with momentum coming after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. The proposal is also one that amend the Michigan Constitution. Constitutional law expert Jonathan Weinberg, a professor at Wayne State University Law School, discusses how the proposal would be applied. “This proposal says that it’s about pregnancy, basically. It’s about the ability to choose to have a baby, the ability to choose not to have a baby…” Weinberg discusses constitutional precedent, the issue of parental consent and notification, and more.     
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Opinion: Black Bottom mural celebrates Black history in Detroit

For the Rev. Nick Hood III, the recently unveiled Black Bottom mural at the Wayne State University School of Medicine brings back a flood of memories. It's a tangible reminder of the historic neighborhood he called home. Hood is a former Detroit city councilman and Black Bottom resident, and his one of hundreds of stories behind the mural. The Black Bottom neighborhood was dismantled when Detroit wanted to build freeways, and took the land from the Black population to do so. Despite all the books about Black Bottom, despite the family conversations and stories about lineage rooted in the community, the 375-foot mural is the first permanent marker of the historic neighborhood, Hood says. The mural, which sits on the south side of Canfield Street near WSU's North Hall, pays homage to Black Detroiters' contributions to the area of medicine. "I've never seen it, anything like it," Hood said. "The significance of it is going to transcend this moment." The mural, a joint project between the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, features nine historical figures, and one future medical student to symbolize the future. Among those honored is Ossian Sweet, who purchased a home in an all-white Detroit neighborhood that defined race relations in Detroit; Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, the first Black woman to graduate from Wayne College of Medicine; Dr. Robert Greenidge, a founder of Parkside Hospital and David and D.L. Northcross, a set of entrepreneurs who started Mercy General Hospital in 1917 and Barthwell, the pharmacist. "The mural is playing this incredible role in providing students, and future students, with strong role models who reflect the diversity of the city and the campus. It just shows you the power of art to transform a neighborhood," said Sheryl Oring, art and art history chair at Wayne State University. "That's one thing art also does: It draws people in, gets people to ask questions and maybe play a role in healing. There were so many difficult things in the history of Detroit and I hope that the mural can play a role in healing."   
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Detroit Tigers’ 2022 World Series ties a reminder of franchise’s glory days

The Detroit Tigers haven’t won a World Series since 1984, with just two appearances since: 2006, in which they lost in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals, and 2012, in which they were swept by the San Francisco Giants. With the 2022 Fall Classic starting Friday, featuring the Houston Astros representing the American League and the Philadelphia Phillies representing the NL, there are more than a few ties to the Tigers. Astros rookie pitcher Hunter Brown, who pitched for Wayne State University before being drafted in the fifth round by the Astros in 2019, grew up in metro Detroit idolizing Justin Verlander and vividly remembers the days of the last Tigers dynasty.   
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Here are the companies that have profited the most during inflation

By Brandon Kochkodin    When it comes to inflation, there’s no shortage of blame to go around. First, the pandemic broke the global supply chain. Then stimulus payments set off a frenzy of consumer spending at a time when finding toilet paper at the local grocery store wasn’t a given. But from the halls of Congress to Main Street, fingers also point at corporate America. Greedy companies, by this telling, have raised prices above and beyond their rising costs of production. Companies, of course, deny this. “Operating margin excludes financing costs,” Wayne State University finance professor Mai Iskander-Datta said. “Essentially, you’re trying to have a broader picture of company performance. You’re trying to see how they’re doing without considering financing. It separates financing and investment decision-making.”    

Why we get scared (and why we like it)

By Jack Rodolico     Dr. Arash Javenbakht, a trauma psychiatrist who is also the director of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC) at Wayne State University, joins in a conversation about why people sometimes deliberately seek out the things that scare them and fear of things in the natural world. “Patients come to my office and say, ‘I know it’s stupid, but I’m afraid of this…’ and I tell them it’s not stupid, it’s illogical. Fear has to be fast and illogical because logic is slow,”  he said. Dr. Javenbakht describes what goes on in the brain when we experience fear. “There’s an almond-shaped part of the brain near the temporal lobe right near the ear called the amygdala. It’s job, anytime you see something, is to determine the salience…very primitive basic functions of human survival…”    
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First-time voters struggle ahead of the November midterm election

By Whitney Burney  Millions of Michiganders are expected to turn out to the polls in less than two weeks to decide who will serve as Michigan’s next governor. Voters will also get the chance to decide the fate of countless school boards and which judges will serve on the state supreme court. While many voters say they know who they’d like to see in the governor’s seat, fewer know who they’d like to be elected in smaller races. “It’s great for us to have a voice,” said William Carter, a Wayne State University film student who will be voting for the first time this November. Carter said he’s most concerned about the state of education, wealth equity and climate change. He said he’s planning to vote in-person to give himself more time to learn about each candidate. Numerous WSU students discuss their voting plan and views on the election. Experts say when voters get to the portion of their ballot with more obscure races and less familiar names, some decide not to cast a vote at all. “There’s estimate that approximately 5-20% of voters basically stop voting when they hit the spot when they don’t know the candidates and that’s a pretty significant amount,” said Brady Baybeck, associate professor of political science at Wayne State University.  Baybeck said when voters decide to forego making a choice at the end of the ballot, it’s called ballot roll off. “In many of these races, there’s traditionally very little competition. If there’s only one candidate on the ballot, it doesn’t really matter if they vote,” he said. “Having said that, if it’s a competitive election, those local offices are the closest to the person.” Baybeck discusses shifts in local races becoming more nationalized, and an increase in spending on those campaigns. He encourages voters to use non-partisan websites and be aware of disinformation on social media.  

NFF proudly announces stellar finalists for 2022 William V. Campbell Trophy

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced the finalists for the 2022 William V. Campbell Trophy, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award that annually recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. The 15 finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2022 NFF Scholar-Athlete Class presented by Fidelity Investments. Julius Wilkerson, a linebacker and three-year captain from Wayne State University who holds a 3.85 GPA and is majoring in psychology, is among the finalists. Finalists will travel to Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for the annual awards dinner on December 6, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports.