The State – 01/09/23

Rachel Fulton

Welcome back from winter break for the first episode of the spring semester! Today’s weather forecast is predicting sun and a few passing clouds with a high of 40 degrees and a low of 29 degrees.

MSU submits Title IX plan, contends it is still in compliance

MSU submitted its Title IX plan in a legal battle with members of the women’s swim team. A judge ruled in August that MSU is out of compliance and ordered the university to submit a plan outlining how the university regain compliance. MSU’s plan contends it is still in compliance, and that if it isn’t, the issue would not be fixed with a swim and dive team.

This lawsuit came following MSU’s decision to cut the swim and dive team. A group of swimmers argue that by cutting a sport with many roster spots for women, the university has changed the gender-ratio. Their hope is that MSU will reinstate the women’s swim and dive team to fill the alleged participation gap.

In the plan, MSU contends it already on track to be compliant without any changes, as current enrollment and athletic-participation figures suggest the university will end the year with nine fewer female athletes than males.

It goes on to suggest if that gap widens in the future, MSU will close it without adding or cutting entire teams. Instead, the university plans to close it through attrition, which would see spots left by transfers or graduates unfilled so as not to cut athletic opportunities during anyone’s time at MSU.

Even if MSU is somehow made to fill that nine-athlete gap, its compliance plan suggests it wouldn’t do so by reinstating the team. The plan points out the average “viable” NCAA women’s swim and dive team has 34.6 members, which would leave the gender-ratio more unbalanced than it currently is.

According to a deposition of former MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman, the conversation surrounding cutting the swim and dive team began as early as 2018. Beekman said he began meeting with then-president John Engler over concerns that the department couldn’t be successful with 25 sports, these discussions continued beyond Engler’s resignation and into the tenure of former President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. They looked at cutting track and field or tennis, but ultimately, facilitates costs made swim and dive their choice.

He says that not having a 50-meter pool would be detrimental to MSU’s recruitment. Because, while NCAA swimmers compete in 25-yard pools like the one in IM West, Olympic swimmers train and compete in 50-meter pools. Beekman says not having an Olympic pool at MSU, or even in the greater Lansing area, would deter talented recruits, many of whom hope to compete at the Olympic level and need to train for those trials.

MSU’s Hidden Lake Gardens hopes to be found with new canopy walk

Hidden Lake Gardens, a 55-acre nature preserve owned and operated by Michigan State University, has long been a hidden gem. However, members and staff hope their newest addition, opening this April, will make it a true destination.

Since Oct. 2017, they have been designing, funding, and building a suspension bridge hanging off of a 70-foot central tower. The bridge, an idea sparked by a frequent hiker, runs over a valley, giving visitors an up-close view of the trees without the climb.

The bridge sits deep in the property, about a mile’s hike from the visitors’ center. Designers hope this secluded location will create a more tranquil setting and showcase the various hiking trails on the journey out.

On Dec. 12, an inspector approved the addition for visitors, officially concluding eight months of active construction.

Hidden Lake Horticulture Gardener Jon Genereaux said the beauty of the canopy walk is that it will let guests experience nature in a way they couldn’t with the currently available trails and drives. The goal is to celebrate nature, not push it to the side with something that attempts to excite visitors.

The official opening of the bridge is now set for April. Until then, the hiking trails, scenic drives, visitors center and conservatory are open to visitors.

‘That was our toughest weekend of the season’: MSU hockey suffers worst loss yet to Ohio State

Michigan State hockey was all too familiar with the penalty box during its 6-0 shutout loss to No. 12 Ohio State on Saturday, serving eight penalties for a total of 16 minutes.

It was the first time Jagger Joshua was sent to the penalty box since MSU’s game against Penn State on Nov. 19, during which he racked up 17 minutes, including a game misconduct infraction. The following week, Head Coach Adam Nightingale made the decision to bench Joshua for the first game of the team’s series with Miami (OH) Thanksgiving weekend.

Sophomore forward Jesse Tucker was also called for roughing alongside OSU’s Tyler Duke.

After giving up one power-play goal on two chances Friday, and six in the last four games, MSU improved its penalty kill efforts during the rematch, allowing OSU to net one out of seven opportunities.

With the sweep, OSU extends its winning streak to five, while MSU now extends its losing streak to five. This loss was the biggest shutout the Spartans have suffered thus far. The Buckeyes now sit one point above MSU in conference standings with 21.

Despite the fact the team has not won a game in almost a month, Nightingale remains optimistic and said the team is not done learning yet this season.

Puck drop for the second series between the Spartans and the Nittany Lions is at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Based on original reporting by Alex Walters and Maddy Warren.