Michigan State hosted an informational meeting days after President Trump issued an executive order banning immigration from seven countries. While many came with questions, university officials could only offer a little more than support. “We can’t change anything about the executive order,” said one speaker. “We are committed to supporting you.”
MSU faculty from the Office of International Students and Scholars addressed a jam-packed lecture hall in the international center. Lawyer Marie LaComb flipped through a powerpoint detailing the specifics of the ban.
DeVos Place hosted the Michigan Music Conference, an annual event bringing together the state’s music educators – many of whom have not rallied behind new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who’s namesake adorns the venue. The Michigan billionaire was confirmed in the Senate in a 51-50 decision, the win decided by a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. DeVos advocates for school-choice and using vouchers to pay for private schools. But her opponents dislike her lack of education experience. “You have to be working with the kids day by day to understand what it is we do,” said Farmington High School choir director, Angel Gippert.
As President-Elect Donald Trump continues to consider candidates for his cabinet, one who has already been chosen has influenced Michigan politics more than any other person in the state with the help of her family, and public school advocates say she threatens the foundations of the state and nation’s public school system. Last month, Trump chose Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education, something many experts say is a clear attempt to further privatize education by expanding the use of charter schools and the voucher system, something Betsy DeVos and her family have contributed financially to for the last 20 years. The family has combined to make about $14 million in political contributions in the last two years alone, according to Secretary of State data. “Their money has impacted numerous pieces of legislation in the House and Senate,” said Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, which tracks political money throughout the state. “It’s obvious they wield a ton of power in not only Michigan politics but throughout the country.”
Mauger said the family’s giving in the state outnumbered the combined fundraising of the main state PACs for the United Auto Workers, the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Association for Justice over that time period.
If one were to look at the polls for the presidential race in Michigan in August 2016, only one conclusion was possible: Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had it in the bag. As the presidential race wound down and months went by, polls in Michigan grew less predictable , though many remained in Clinton’s favor. In the Detroit Free Press poll from July 30 to Aug. 3, Clinton was on the heels of her Democratic nomination and sat comfortably 11 points above Republican candidate Donald Trump. Trump’s national and state wins on Nov.
In buildings across Michigan State University’s campus, hundreds of students stood in lines that wound around buildings. The wait to vote was sometimes longer than two hours. One thing was clear: passion drove students to fill campus polling locations.