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Stateside: How to redraw MI’s political maps; recreating Black Bottom; MSU’s Nassar investigation

A detail Michigan congressional district maps drawn in 2011.
Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget
A detail of Michigan's congressional district maps as drawn by a Republican-majority state legislature in 2011.

Today on Stateside, a Princeton study makes recommendations for how Michigan's new citizen commission should redraw the state's political maps for the 2022 election. Plus, a look at why Michigan State University is refusing to hand over 6,000 internal documents to special investigators. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

How should a citizen commission redraw MI’s political maps? Princeton study offers guidance.

Stateside’s conversation with Sam Wang

  • In November, Michigan voters approved Proposal 2, an “anti-gerrymandering” bill that calls for the creation of an independent, citizen-led commission to redraw legislative and congressional districts for the 2022 election. That commission is getting some expert guidance in the form ofa report from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.
  • Samuel Wang, a neuroscientist and professor of molecular biology at Princeton, is the founder of that project. Wang breaks down best practices for redrawing political maps, what challenges are ahead for the commission, and how it can best guard against partisan gamesmanship.

How the razing of Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood shaped Michigan’s history

Stateside’s conversation with Jamon Jordan

  • What is lost when an urban area is "renewed?" That's the question being asked at the "Black Bottom Street View" on display at Detroit Public Library's Main Branch. Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood was once a thriving African American and immigrant community until it was demolished during the mid-20th century as part of the city's "urban renewal" efforts.  
  • Stateside host Cynthia Canty met up with Detroit historian Jamon Jordan, founder of Black Scroll Network History and Tours, to explore the exhibition. Jordan tells us about the history, residents, and lasting impact of the Black Bottom neighborhood.

What we still don’t know about MSU’s investigation into Larry Nassar, and why it matters

Stateside’s conversation with Kate Wells

  • With John Engler out of office and a new healing fund for survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse in the works, Michigan State University is entering a new era of greater transparency and accountability. But the school is still refusing to hand over 6,000 internal documents to special investigators — the very same ones it invited to look into the Nassar case last year.
  • Michigan Radio reporter Kate Wells details the university’s stated rationale for keeping the documents secret, and what could happen to the investigation if they continue to refuse to turn them over.

Politicians love to say they’re “business-friendly.” But what does that actually mean?

Stateside’s conversation with Anne Curzan

  • Politicians have all kinds of buzzwords they love to use. One of those is "business-friendly." But what exactly does that mean? We'll be exploring that question over the next few weeks in conversations with business owners and leaders from across the state. But first, we turned to University of Michigan English, Linguistics, and Education professor Anne Curzan to figure out the origin of the term. Curzan explains how business-friendly caught on, why the phrase is so handy for politicians, and how she thinks we could better communicate ideas without relying on clichés or political jargon.

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