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WSU offers Detroit government simulation in community workshops

Wayne State University’s Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society (FOCIS) will hold two community discussions and workshops June 6 and 13 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit.

These free events titled “What would you do?” are part of the FOCIS series, which is designed to educate active and registered voters about historical factors and events that contributed to Detroit’s economic crisis.

During tabletop exercises, participants will act in the roles of mayor and City Council as they deal with the presence of an emergency manager, navigating the complex landscape facing City leaders and elected officials.

These workshops are coordinated by WSU initiatives: FOCIS and its CitizenDetroit initiative, the Irvin D. Reid Honors College and the Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement.

Event hosts include Irvin D. Reid, president emeritus at WSU, inaugural holder of the Applebaum Chair, director of FOCIS and a principal organizer of CitizenDetroit; and Sheila Cockrel, CitizenDetroit co-organizer, WSU Honors College faculty member, and a former Detroit City Council member and budget committee chair.

“Detroit’s elected leaders continue to face daunting challenges as they collaboratively work to revitalize the regional economy, provide badly needed resources to residents and build a sound foundation for the future of Detroit,” said Reid, who was a member of Gov. Snyder’s Detroit Financial Review Team and a co-signer of the Financial Stability Agreement between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan.

According to Reid, the recent appointment of an emergency manager has posed a considerable challenge for Detroit’s elected officials, who must now work within the new dynamics established under the laws and guidelines of the EM position.

“The role of Detroit’s citizens in this process is critical as they become earnestly engaged in the political process and motivated to initiate constructive action,” he said. “For this to occur, citizens must be educated about the social and political issues facing Detroit.”

The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit is located at 111 E. Kirby. Those interested in attending a workshop must RSVP at www.specialevents.wayne.edu/2013focis-CitizenDetroit or by calling 313.577.0300.

For more information about FOCIS and CitizenDetroit, visit www.focis.wayne.edu.

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