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Wayne State Tuition Pledge Aims to ‘Meet the 360 Degree Needs’ of Detroit Students

Wayne State University made a big splash this week, announcing that it will give free tuition to students who live in Detroit starting with students who graduate from high school next year. The University is calling it the Heart of Detroit Promise. But what’s the likely impact of the program? Wayne State University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Keith Whitfield talked with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson about the announcement.
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Should public servants refuse to serve under President Trump?

Sylvia Taschka teaches modern German and world history at Wayne State University and is the author of a book about Hans Heinrich Dieckhoff, the last German ambassador to the United States before the Second World War. Taschka wrote a historical perspective piece focusing on the question: Should diplomats resign or decline to serve if they have deep moral misgivings about their government’s policy, or should they remain in office to try to prevent worse from happening?
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To re-engage drop outs, Wayne State program offers $1,500 in debt forgiveness

One of the big problems facing higher education is people who leave college before they get a degree and still owe the school money. Wayne State University decided to tackle that problem by giving former students a chance to come back and finish a degree, while forgiving some or all of their previous debt. Dawn Medley is Wayne State’s associate vice president for enrollment management, and Shawnte Cain is a student who took advantage of the "Warrior Way Back" program. They broke down how leaving college with an outstanding balance can affect a person’s future, and how the university will determine whether the program is successful and sustainable.
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Wayne State announces free tuition for Detroit students, residents

Michigan Gov. Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined Wayne State University officials to announce a free tuition program for students at Detroit high schools. The program is being called the "Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge." The free tuition is for Detroit students who live in the city and attend public schools, charter schools or private schools. "This is a tremendous day for Wayne State and for Detroit students," said WSU President M. Roy Wilson. "This initiative aligns perfectly with many of our institutional values. Opportunity, accessibility and affordability are all pillars of the high quality education we provide, and the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge delivers on all those values. With the resources and opportunities on campus and the exciting resurgence in Detroit, it's never been a better time to be a Warrior."
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Wayne State giving free college tuition to all Detroit high school grads, residents

Michigan Gov. Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined Wayne State University officials to announce a free tuition program for students at Detroit high schools. The program is being called the "Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge." The free tuition is for Detroit students who live in the city and attend public schools, charter schools or private schools. "This is a tremendous day for Wayne State and for Detroit students," said WSU President M. Roy Wilson. "This initiative aligns perfectly with many of our institutional values. Opportunity, accessibility and affordability are all pillars of the high quality education we provide, and the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge delivers on all those values. With the resources and opportunities on campus and the exciting resurgence in Detroit, it's never been a better time to be a Warrior."
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Wayne State's Chemistry Club builds 'world's largest periodic table'

To mark the International Year of the Periodic Table, Wayne State University’s Department of Chemistry created what is believed to be the largest periodic table in history — although no official record actually exists. Wayne State’s Chemistry Club, with help from clubs at University of Michigan Dearborn, U-M Flint, Detroit Mercy and Lawrence Tech, built a table that measured over 190,000 square feet, or approximately three football fields. “We went to a regional meeting and someone said, ‘Let’s make the biggest one ever,' ” said Sue White, a chemistry club co-adviser with Charlie Fehl. “It was an insane idea, but all we got was good advice on the best way to do it. Students and the department were very enthusiastic. People went out of their way to help us do the craziest thing ever.” Besides the 30-by-40-foot blue tarps used for each element, it took 95 gallons of paint and over 250 volunteers. Wednesday’s winds caused some concern, but 7,000 garden stakes kept everything in place.
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Wayne State to give free tuition to city of Detroit high school graduates

Wayne State University will give free tuition to all city of Detroit students who graduate from high school, starting with this year's graduating class. The free tuition is good for those attending traditional public schools, charter schools or private schools and making any amount of money. The only restriction: The student must live in the city of Detroit. The scholarship, called the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge, was announced Wednesday morning by Wayne State President Roy Wilson at an event attended by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. "This initiative aligns perfectly with many of our institutional values," Wilson said in a news release. "Opportunity, accessibility and affordability are all pillars of the high quality education we provide, and the Heart of Detroit scholarship delivers on all those values." Dawn Medley, Wayne State’s associate vice president for enrollment management, said in an exclusive interview with the Free Press: “We didn't want to have a lot of reasons why people wouldn't qualify. We thought we could go bold. It's really as close to free college as we can get in terms of tuition." Wayne State officials expect to see an uptick in students coming to their school. "What happens if we are overrun with students?" Medley said. "That would be amazing." She said Wayne State will be able to accommodate any additional students. She said the university is also prepared to help students, recognizing that many students, especially first-generation students, have challenges to succeed at college beyond just cost of attendance. "We want to be stretched in supporting students," Medley said. "We will be ready to take on the challenge."

How a Detroit area university’s debt-relief program has welcomed back and graduated students

Black college students are three times more likely to default on their loans than their white peers, and there are nearly 700,000 college students in the Detroit area that have dropped out after taking some classes but before earning a degree. Wayne State University’s Warrior Way Back debt-relief program is welcoming those students back, including recent graduate Shawnte’ Cain and Antonio Mitchell, who is currently a senior in the Mike Ilitch School of Business. “For me, Warrior Way Back is more of a social justice mentality and mindset in higher education, that we are knocking down those barriers for students to reach their potential. That’s successful in and of itself,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management.
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Ransomware: holding communities hostage

Ransomware is the scariest entity information technology experts, business executives and municipal leaders are currently facing on the computer landscape. According to the FBI, ransomware is a type of malicious software cyber actors use to infiltrate computer systems and then deny access to those systems and data. The malicious cyber actor invades systems and holds the system or data hostage until the ransom is paid – hopefully. After an initial infection, the ransomware attempts to spread to shared storage drives and other accessible systems, extending the reach of the tentacles of the ransomware and preventing the use of the affected machines. If the demands for ransom are not met, the system or encrypted data remains unavailable, data may be deleted – and the business or government is hobbled and, sometimes, totally incapacitated. “The people delivering the ransomware – they're being run by criminal elements. They're definitely not a 14-year-old in their mom's basement,” emphasized Garrett McManaway, senior director, Information Security and Compliance, Wayne State University, who has spent years in the information technology industry before taking over IT for Wayne State last year. “Like any well-run business, they're going to find their potential targets to make their returns on investment.” McManaway explains further, “Where ransomware has become prevalent in the last four to five years has been with hospitals and health care systems, where they've been shut down. Two, three years ago, the bad actors moved on to manufacturing companies, such as several (international) shipping companies, public corporations, where they shut them down for a few days. Now, I'm not sure why municipalities are being hit, but being a public institution, they are a business, and they're after the same thing.”
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Violent crimes in U.S. drop when pollen count is high, scientists discover

A study recently published in the Journal of Health Economics found that reports of violent crime decline by approximately 4 percent on days where the local pollen hunt is low. The team also found there is a particularly noticeable drop—4.4 percent—in violent crimes that take place in the home—a fact that surprised researchers. Previous studies have shown that situational circumstances (like an unseasonably hot day) can affect the likelihood of a crime taking place—or at the very least, being reported. The idea here is that it affects the balance between the drawbacks of committing a crime and the benefits of a crime, which combined create the net cost of criminal activity. If the drawbacks outweigh the benefits, it is less likely the crime will take place. For the study, researchers wanted to look at the net cost of criminal activity that comes with a common health shock—in this case, seasonal allergies, which affects up to one in five Americans. Allergies can cause nasal congestion, watery eyes, an irritated throat and sneezing. They can also affect cognitive ability, mood and sleep activity. "We started this research with the personal experience that allergies made us feel less physically active and slugging on high pollen days," co-author Shooshan Danagoulian, an assistant professor in the department of economics at Wayne State University, told Newsweek. "Past research has shown that high pollen reduces children's performance on math and English tests, so we expected to see some effect on other activities as well. Though our findings confirmed our suspicions, we did not expect the magnitude of the effect on crime—the 4 percent decline in violent crime is very substantial." Danagoulian added, “Our research gives law enforcement and local governments a better understanding of the nature of interpersonal violence, especially violence at home. Domestic violence is a particularly difficult problem for law enforcement to solve since they cannot patrol inside people's homes, and our research sheds light on the role of health in the moment on such violence."
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WSU's Susan Burns discusses giving styles by generation

A significant transfer of wealth is under way locally and nationally, so it's no surprise nonprofit fundraisers are putting a concerted focus on connecting with people from the baby boomer generation. But it's also important to engage with Gen X and the massive millennial generation coming into its own, said Susan Burns, vice president of development and alumni affairs for Wayne State University and president of the Wayne State University Foundation. Burns, who has a long resume raising money not only for higher education but also health care and the arts, talked with Crain's Senior Reporter Sherri Welch about how she and her team at WSU are engaging with donors and volunteers from the various age groups, generational donor personalities and the need to connect with potential donors from every generation.

There’s a stark reason why America’s 1.8 million long-haul truck drivers can’t strike

Tens of thousands of truck drivers were scheming earlier this year to strike. Such a work stoppage could have tremendous implications – some 71 percent of freight is moved by long-haul trucks, including groceries, manufactured goods, and money. But the much-hyped protest was a dud. Blue-collar workers in general have struggled in recent decades as pay and job security tumbles. The Motor Carrier Act (MCA) of 1980 allowed new trucking companies to open with relative ease, removed many route regulations, and granted companies more control over changing their rates. Designed to save consumers money, the MCA also resulted in a decline in truck drivers’ salaries and in unions’ power. From 1977 to 1987, mean truck driver earnings declined 24 percent, according to research done by Wayne State University economics professor Michael Belzer.
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UAW got a good deal from GM, labor leaders, experts say

Many labor experts and union leaders say the UAW got a good deal from General Motors and expect union members to ratify it. Wayne State University's Marick Masters said he believes the union membership will ratify the deal because UAW leadership was careful to involve subcommittees in the negotiation process and, through them, the rank-and-file. "They clearly had a voice in what was agreed to in the tentative package," said Masters, director of labor at Wayne State. "Second, the workers have already been out on strike five weeks and will be out another week at least to vote on it. The psychology sets in that you probably got the best deal you’ll get so if you reject this contract and try to go back to get a better one, the marginal gain will not be worth what you have to sacrifice." There are a lot of cash gains for union members in the deal. Part of that might have come from the proposal calling to close the joint training center in Detroit, said Wayne State's Masters. The UAW-GM Center for Human Resources opened in 2000. It is one of three such centers — and the largest and most elegant —for joint training efforts between GM, Ford and Chrysler and the UAW. Among other uses, trainers work with employees on safety and operational initiatives at the sites. The UAW-GM center is occasionally used by outside groups. “There’s a recognition that perhaps those joint training programs, though well intended, haven’t proven as effective as they would like them to be and they’ve created some problems of governance and administrations that both sides would like to see go away," said Masters. "That also frees up any money that would go into that, to now go into the payouts to the workers," said Masters.
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Where is my Xanax Rx? Why your doctor may be concerned about prescribing benzodiazepines

Arash Javanbakht, associate professor of psychiatry, wrote a piece about benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety medications that increase the activity of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain. There has been increasing attention into long-term risks of benzodiazepines, including potential for addiction, overdose and cognitive impairment. The overdose death rate among patients receiving both benzodiazepines and opioids is 10 times higher than those only receiving opioids, and benzo misuse is a serious concern. The benzo family includes diazepam, or Valium; clonazepam, or Klonopin; lorazepam, or Ativan; chlordiazepoxide, or Librium; and the one most commonly known to the pop culture, alprazolan, or Xanax, among others. A major risk of long-term use of benzos is addiction. That means you may become dependent on these meds and that you have to keep increasing the dose to get the same effect. Actually benzos, especially Xanax, have street value because of the pleasant feeling they induce. In 2017, there were more than 11,000 deaths involving benzos alone or with other drugs, and in 2015, a fifth of those who died of opioid overdose also had benzos in their blood. There are safer effective treatments for anxiety, but they require patience to work. A first line treatment for anxiety disorders is psychotherapy, mainly cognitive behavioral therapy. During therapy, the person learns more adaptive coping skills, and corrects cognitive distortions to reduce stress.
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Why the guillotine may be less cruel than execution by slow poisoning

Associate Professor of History, Janine Lanza, wrote an article about the history of the guillotine and other methods of execution used in various countries, including recent developments in the United States. “From the stake to the rope to the firing squad to the electric chair to the gas chamber and, finally, to the lethal injection, over the centuries the methods of execution in the United States have evolved to make execution quicker, quieter and less painful, both physically and psychologically. It wasn’t always so. And there are, perhaps, lessons in history that could provide an answer to current concerns about the unusual cruelty of execution methods in the U.S. Under the French monarchy in the 17th and 18th centuries, execution was meant to be painful. That would purify the soul of the condemned before his final judgment, deter others from committing crime, and showcase the power of the king to impose unbearable suffering on his subjects. The guillotine remains a quick method of execution – it takes about half a second for the blade to drop and sever a prisoner’s head from his body.”