Going into my freshman year at MSU, I thought I was aware of all the ways that colleges can take extra money on top of tuition. Textbooks? I rented them, unless I was forced to buy a new edition. Blue Books? Bummed them from my friends or Student Services. I was going to be the one college student who was Aware of the System.
After Mr. Dr. President Sir Samuel L. Stanley Jr MD, DDS, Esq.’s decision to kick MSU online this fall, we’re all still dealing with the fallout. Off-campus apartments have been swarmed with freshmen who desperately want to socialize after five months of being trapped in their homes with their parents. I can’t say I blame them.
In the year of our lord 2015, Mark Dantonio and his Michigan State Spartans had their final truly great season together (2017 was a good year for MSU too, but we’ll get to that later). These Spartans went 11-1 in the regular season, losing only to unranked Nebraska and securing the win against the hated Michigan Wolverines off of some infamous trouble with the snap.
After plowing through the rest of their schedule and defeating Iowa in the Big Ten championship match, the Spartans were ranked no. 3. On December 31st, these Spartans, with the collective momentum of a near-perfect season and the wind at their backs, faced off with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff.
On October 11, 2019, I was walking back from a regrettable purchase at The Rally House when my phone buzzed. I checked it and saw that The Evening Look had received a message through our contact form. At that point, we had been growing for nine months, so receiving an email was far from unusual. What was unusual was who sent it: Corey Washington, Director of Analytics at MSU’s Office of Research and Innovation. He wanted to invite us onto Manifold, a podcast he co-hosted with then-Vice President for Research and Innovation Stephen Hsu. Washington and Hsu were interested in how the “campus culture wars” of recent years have manifested in recent years and thought we could offer some valuable insight. L. Squirrel and I accepted this invitation, and our interview, recorded on October 15, was featured as part of a “bonus” episode of Manifold along with a separate interview they conducted with Sergei and Derek of The Morning Watch.
As L. Squirrel and I sat for our interview (brutally cut for time because Washington and Hsu repeatedly got into debates amongst themselves), it was obvious to us that Hsu was the more conservative of the two, although much of what led us to that conclusion is missing from the published version of our conversation. However, we failed a spot check on Hsu’s exact beliefs. We failed to realize that an Academic Boomer like Hsu wouldn’t place wild takes on his barren Twitter, but instead that he’d do it old school. We’re talking Blogspot.com, baby!
Just over eight months later, MSU president Samuel Stanley requested Hsu’s resignation from his role at the OVPRI, which Hsu accepted with a little bit of grumbling. How did Hsu fall from successful podcast host and renowned research genius, known for securing $200 million more per year in research expenditures for MSU compared the amount before his tenure, to merely a tenured physics professor in that short span?
4:20 AM. Easter Sunday. I awoke in a cold sweat in my childhood bedroom, suddenly haunted by the uncertainty that surrounds us. What do I really know? Am I even real? Well, I am thinking, I thought, and according to Descartes, that means that I am. But what else do I know? I jumped out of bed and fired up my laptop to find some answers. Any answer.
I opened Google and searched for “three undeniable facts”.
My heart was racing. I clicked on the first link. It was a video featuring a fellow named Rob Smith from Turning Point USA. The three undeniable facts are as follows: America is the greatest country on the planet, Donald Trump is saving America, and America will never be a socialist country.
No figure in American politics combines weirdness and consequential power like the state legislator. Just in the past decade, examples include the Georgia senator who was tricked by Sacha Baron Cohen into biting the head off a dildo and screaming the N-word to deter terrorists, the New Hampshire state representative who founded /r/TheRedPill, one of the most misogynist areas of Reddit, and the Tennessee state representative who drank out of a chocolate syrup bottle on the House floor (a privilege that I would ABSOLUTELY take advantage of).
Many of these civil servants reside and work in other states outside of Michigan. Here, we usually have legislators who don’t stray too far into personal weirdness no matter how strange their beliefs. However, there always seems to be an exception to the rule, and Michigan’s exception truly embodies this spirit of deep weirdness to go along with his munted conservatism — Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain).
You may wonder why this publication, which usually writes about campus issues, is writing about a guy who represents a remote part of Michigan over 400 miles north of East Lansing. Well, about two months ago (ten years in COVID-19 time) we came into the possession of meeting minutes from a joint meeting between the MSU College Republicans and MSU Turning Point USA. The slides were filled with useful information about upcoming conservative events along with some cursed boomer memes. These organizations wanted to bring LaFave to the university in some capacity, which brings us to the man himself (a recent graduate of this very university).
Here are many things that Rep. LaFave has done that would be bizarre to any sane human, but are selling points for MSU’s College Republicans.
Due to mysterious IT issues, voting in the ASMSU elections was delayed until this morning, March 31, and extended to April 6. Our guess is that Russian bots finally realized how important this election is to the balance of power in this country. No doubt that many of you read our election guide yesterday and were confused why you couldn’t vote. Well, we were too.
The good news is that during the delay, two more fantastic candidates saw our article and contacted us. We’re proud to include Aaron Iturralde (Education) and Jordan Kovach (James Madison) in our first-ever group of endorsements.
Iturralde is running on a broad platform that includes making himself available to his constituents through phone and email, holding office hours, advocating to make fifth-year internships in the College of Education more affordable, increasing teacher wages, greater transparency, increased diversity in the College of Education, and much more.
Kovach’s platform includes greater accountability for racial bias incidents on campus, advocating for MSU to divest from fossil fuels, putting feminine hygiene products in all campus bathrooms, increasing sustainability in dining halls, and greater support for immigrant students, regardless of documentation. She has also served as the secretary for the ASMSU Freshman Class Council this year.
We hope to see both of these students in the General Assembly next year, and we hope that those of you reading this vote.
-The Evening Look Staff
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It’s that time of year again, folks — the flowers are in bloom, short sleeves are acceptable outside clothing, and the 5% of students who pay attention to this stuff choose who ascends to the hallowed halls of the Associated Students of Michigan State University, our student government. Those committed 5% (which hopefully includes you, reader) vote for their college’s representative in the ASMSU General Assembly from today, March 30, to April 5.
Last year, our publication was most concerned with the antics of Agriculture and Natural Resources representative Sergei Kelley, editor-in-chief of The Morning Watch, and the General Assembly’s attempt to boot him from the body. After Kelley’s defeat at the hands of his fellow students last spring, we turn our attention to the body as a whole.
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned East Lansing into a ghost town. The Grand River strip is dotted with restaurants that no longer have bustling dining areas. People have retreated indoors to self-quarantine, shutting down most club activities. Even MSU’s museum has closed, depriving students of hours of fun on mandatory class field trips. What is left in a college town with no college?
Longtime readers may remember that back in September, flyers for this blog went up around campus. Our flyer team noticed a Morning Watch poster folded on itself and placed our own flyer over it. This caused Morning Watch editor-in-chief Sergei Kelley to send a four-part DM to a loyal reader, under the impression that they worked for us. We thought that this would surely be the funniest interaction we ever had in the DMs, but we’re proud to announce that we were mistaken.
A few days ago, we checked the Evening Look Facebook page to find this:
Though a shorter DM, this incident demands a full breakdown.