Click here for information and updates about the University’s response to COVID-19.

In the News: Inciting violence, sabbaticals, redis...

In the News: Inciting violence, sabbaticals, redistricting, Chick-fil-A, cigarettes and more

MTSU faculty and administrators were quoted recently on various media platforms that addressed issues such as gerrymandering, racism, employee sabbaticals, cigarettes and inciting violence, among others.

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU president

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Rick Sluder, vice provost, Student Success; dean, University College

Dr. Rick Sluder

• Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, university president, rebutted Board of Trustees member Darrell Freeman’s accusations that racism hampers MTSU’s ability to serve African American students in a Dec. 22 story in the Nashville Business Journal. His comments can be accessed here.

• McPhee and University College Dean Rick Sluder hailed a new partnership between MTSU and Chick-fil-A to fund tuition for restaurant workers. Coverage of the event in a Jan. 12 report by the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro can be read here.

Kent Syler, assistant professor, political science

Kent Syler

Dr. Sekou Franklin

Dr. Sekou Franklin

Kent Syler, a professor of political science and international relations, said Tennessee Republicans should reconsider their approach to Congressional redistricting in a Jan. 2 article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. His views are available here.

• Syler penned an editorial explaining why gerrymandering might not work to the Republicans’ advantage in Tennessee. The column, which was published Jan. 11 by The Tennessean, can be accessed here.

• Syler commented on the Republicans’ redistricting proposal in a Jan. 12 report by WSMV-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript are available here.

• Syler and Dr. Sekou Franklin, a professor of political science and international relations, commented on the Republicans’ redistricting proposal for a Jan. 13 report on WPLN-FM in Nashville. The audio and transcript can be accessed here.

Dr. Brian Miller, biology professor

Dr. Brian Miller, biology professor

Dr. Thomas Tang, professor of management

Dr. Thomas Tang

• Dr. Brian Miller, a professor of biology, explained why salamanders often are active and visible in winter weather in a Jan. 3 story in the Knoxville News Sentinel. His analysis can be read here.

• Dr. Tom Tang, a professor of management, explained why so many businesses refuse to grant sabbaticals to their employees to prevent burnout in a Jan. 6 article for His views can be accessed here.

Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes

Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

• Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes, director of the Albert Gore Research Center, was interviewed about the history of cigarettes for the Jan. 10 edition of “The Road to Now” podcast. The audio is available here.

• Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College, was interviewed for the Jan. 13 edition of the “You Don’t Have to Yell” podcast about the legal definition of inciting violence. The audio can be accessed here.

Reporters seeking expertise from MTSU personnel, as well as members of the campus community with expertise for media, may contact Gina Logue in the Office of News and Media Relations at 615-631-8322 or via email at

— Gina K. Logue (