In the News: Fair report privilege, women in const...

In the News: Fair report privilege, women in construction, porch piracy, overweight horses and more

In the News graphic-2020

Reporters from various news agencies recently relied on MTSU faculty experts for perspectives on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Tennessee General Assembly, porch piracy, insurance, horses, veterans and construction, among other topics.

Dr. Sekou Franklin

Dr. Sekou Franklin

Dr. Don Hong, Mathematical Sciences faculty

Dr. Don Hong

• Dr. Sekou Franklin, an associate professor of political science and international relations, explained why the Tennessee General Assembly frequently disregards the interests of African American citizens in a Nov. 24 report on Nashville Public Radio. The audio is available here.

Franklin said African American communities should fight attempts to place businesses in their areas that they believe are not in the best interests of their communities in a Dec. 7 story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. His remarks are available here.

• Dr. Don Hong, a professor of mathematical sciences, expressed gratitude for the school’s 2020 CAS University Award, which is presented annually to programs that prepare students for careers in the property-casualty insurance industry. His quotes, which were published Nov. 24 in Actuarial Review, can be read here.

Ken Paulson, director, Free Speech Center at MTSU, College of Media and Entertainment

Ken Paulson

Dr. Benjamin Stickle, associate professor, Department of Criminal Justice Administration

Dr. Ben Stickle

• Dr. Ben Stickle, an associate professor of criminal justice administration, assessed the extent and causes of porch piracy for a Nov. 25 story in The Tennessean. His remarks are available here.

Stickle and two of his students participated in a Nov. 20 discussion of porch piracy for CrimCon. The video, which was posted to YouTube Dec. 2, is available here.

Ken Paulson, director of MTSU’s Free Speech Center, commented on a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning a lower court’s ruling for a police officer who sued a protest organizer after the officer was injured in that demonstration. The story, which was published Nov. 29 in the Louisiana Record, can be read here.

Paulson penned an editorial on the 229th anniversary of the passage of the Bill of Rights that was published Dec. 3 in the Sidney (Montana) Herald and other newspapers. His opinions are available here.

David Hudson Jr., contributing columnist, Free Speech Center at MTSU

David Hudson Jr.

Dr. Rhonda Hoffman, School of Agriciulture, director of the MTSU Horse Science Program

Dr. Rhonda Hoffman

David L. Hudson Jr., a contributing columnist to the Free Speech Center, explained how the fair report privilege can protect journalists in libel and defamation lawsuits in a Nov. 30 story in the Colorado Independent. His remarks can be read here.

• Dr. Rhonda Hoffman, director of horse science in the School of Agriculture, explained why the time of day a horse grazes can make a difference in its weight for a Nov. 30 article in Horse and Rider Magazine. Her views are available here.

Dr. Charlie Apigian, professor, chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems

Dr. Charlie Apigian

Dr. Heather Brown, School of Concrete and Construction Management

Dr. Heather Brown

• Dr. Heather Brown, a professor in the School of Concrete and Construction Management, was interviewed about women in the construction industry for the Nov. 30 Lipstick Economy podcast. The audio is available here.

• Dr. Charles Apigian, director of the MTSU Data Science Institute, participated in an Oct. 30 conversation about rewarding people for smart mobility choices. The video was posted to YouTube Dec. 2 and is available here.

Keith M. Huber, MTSU senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives

Keith M. Huber

Dr. Ennio Piano, assistant professor of economics

Dr. Ennio Piano

• Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, a professor of political science and international relations and senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, explained the difficulties veterans face in trying to readjust to civilian life for a Dec. 2 report by WorkingNation. The video is available here.

• Dr. Ennio Piano, an assistant professor of economics, paid tribute to one of his former professors, Dr. Walter Williams, in a Dec. 2 posting at following Williams’ death. Piano’s comments are available here.

Dr. Michael Erskine, assistant professor, Computer Information Systems and Analytics

Dr. Michael Erskine

Dr. Jane Marcellus, journalism professor

Dr. Jane Marcellus

• Dr. Jane Marcellus, a professor in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media, penned an assessment of the book “Don’t Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn’t Seen,” edited by Kristen Iverson and David Lazar, in a Dec. 3 post at The review can be read here.

• Dr. Michael Erskine, an assistant professor of information systems and analytics, conducted a virtual seminar on task-technology fit and geospatial reasoning for LacaisTube/ISLA that was posted to YouTube Dec. 3. The video is available here.

Dr. Katie Foss, associate professor of media studies in MTSU's School of Journalism and Strategic Media

Dr. Katie Foss

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

• Dr. Katie Foss, a professor of media studies, commented on the likelihood of some people to resist wearing masks in public transportation in a Dec. 4 story for the USA Today Network. Her remarks can be read here.

• Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a political scientist, commented on the lack of federal leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic in a Dec. 9 analytical article in Governing Magazine. His views are available 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 (