News Story

What You Read in 2016: Our Top Stories of the Year

Our most popular stories in 2016 included articles about radical student groups, absurd overreach from the federal government, and discrimination against school choice. Here are the 10 most popular stories with readers in 2016.

1. MSU Prof Calls Republicans ‘Dying White People,’ Receives Raises

A 2013 video showed Michigan State University Professor William Penn berating students with an anti-Republican classroom rant. Penn said that Republicans are “a bunch of dead white people, or dying white people” who raped the U.S. to get “everything out of it they possibly could.” Our follow-up story showed that he stayed on staff and saw his salary go from $147,410 in 2013 to $149,910 in 2014 to $152,310 in 2015.

2. Wayne State Drops Math Requirement, May Add Diversity Mandate

A faculty committee at the public university in Detroit proposed dropping the university-wide mathematics requirement and adding a three credit hour course in diversity. The recommendations were adopted by the school.

3. EPA Expands Power By Calling Plowed Farm Fields ‘Mini Mountain Ranges’

In order to expand their regulatory power, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a new rule that would refer to the little dirt mounds resulting from farm plowing as “mini mountain ranges.” This would give the federal agencies much greater jurisdiction over private land use, likely requiring permits for normal farm work.

4. Police Seize Car, Drive 56,000 Miles, Sell it Without Charging Owners With a Crime

The sheriff’s office for Saginaw County seized a classic muscle car, among other items, from a couple while investigating their son for an alleged drug crime. Gerald and Royetta Ostipow were never charged with a crime, but law enforcement officials seized and drove the vehicle, and ultimately sold it, along with other property.

5. School Superintendent: 13-Star Betsy Ross Flag Injects ‘Hostility’ and Hate’

The head of the Forest Hills School District wrote a published “letter to the community” saying that students at a high school football game injected “hate” and “hostility” because they waved a historical flag which represents the original 13 colonies.

6. Safe Space? Ann Arbor Landmark Painted With ‘Kill ’em All’ After Trump Victory

The face of an iconic rock in Ann Arbor was painted with the words “Kill ’em All” and a picture of the mascot of the Republican Party shortly after Donald Trump was elected president. Students, reportedly on the left side of the political spectrum, found out about it and painted over that and other profanities.

7. How the Flint Water Story Was Uncovered

An investigative reporter with the ACLU and Michigan Radio who worked with an out-of-state university professor was the main driver in uncovering the water crisis in Flint. The story dominated the news in 2016, leading to new laws, criminal investigations, and thorough reviews of local, state and federal agencies.

8. Detroit Had More Corruption in One Day Than John Oliver Found in Charter Schools Over 10 Years

HBO talk show host John Oliver criticized school choice by picking out stories of bad charter school actors going back to 2000. But the far-left comedian completely ignored scandals in traditional public schools in order to feed a narrative.

9. Michigan District Bans Homeschooled Girl From Homecoming Dance

When a student at Wayne-Westland Community Schools wanted to bring a friend from church to homecoming, the district used an “accreditation” policy to prevent it.

10. Radical U-M Student Group Demands ‘Sanctuary Campus,’ Stages Walkouts

In the wake of Donald Trump winning the presidency, a radical student group at the University of Michigan staged a series of class walkouts and send the administration a list of demands.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.