In the News: Coronavirus, horse feed, free speech,...

In the News: Coronavirus, horse feed, free speech, gospel music, Joe Biden, gang violence and more

MTSU faculty and staff experts expressed themselves recently on a wide variety of current and ongoing issues, including stay-at-home moms, the flu, Facebook, China, entrepreneurship, the MS-13 gang and more.

Patrick Fajardo, MTSU Police PIO

Sgt. Patrick Fajardo

Tayo Bailey-Duvall, MTSU women’s tennis coach

Tayo Bailey-Duvall

WSMV-TV in Nashville interviewed Sgt. Patrick Fajardo of the MTSU Police Department Jan. 28 about an allegation of sexual battery on campus. The video and text are available here.

Tayo Bailey-Duvall, head coach of the women’s tennis team, explained how her husband and she raised capital to open a coffee shop for a Jan. 28 story published by The Tennessean. The article can be read here.

Ken Paulson, director, Free Speech Center

Ken Paulson

Dr. Cedric Dent, professor, School of Music, and director of the MTSU Singers student vocal ensemble

Dr. Cedric Dent

Ken Paulson, director of MTSU’s Free Speech Center, authored an editorial expressing his view that Vice President Joe Biden is wrong to want to put limits on free speech on Facebook and other social media platforms. The editorial, which ran Jan. 28 in USA Today, is available here.

Paulson also commented on media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s news aggregation service in a Jan. 30 story at of Malaysia. His remarks can be read here.

Dr. Cedric Dent, a professor in the School of Music, explained the connection between gospel music and culture in a Jan. 29 story in the Waco (Texas) Tribune. His comments are available here.

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

Dr. Katie Foss

Dr. Carter Smith, lecturer in the Department of Criminal Justice

Dr. Carter Smith

Dr. Katie Foss, a professor in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media, described a social media platform designed to counteract misinformation about vaccines in a Jan. 30 story for Tioga Health and Wellness. The article is available here.

Foss also stated that stay-at-home moms should avoid social media critiques with unrealistic expectations for how they should handle their responsibilities in an article at The story is available here.

In an editorial published in the Feb. 5 Knoxville News Sentinel and other news outlets, Foss opined that the public should be less panicked about the coronavirus and more concerned about the flu. Her views are available here.

Dr. Carter F. Smith, a senior instructor in the Department of Criminal Justice Administration, described the sophistication and extreme violence of the MS-13 gang for a Feb. 2 story on WZTV-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript are available here.

Dr. Dave Wood, chairholder, Tommy T. Martin Chair of Insurance, Jones College of Business

Dr. Dave Wood

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

Dr. Rhonda Hoffman

Dr. Dave Wood, a professor in the Department of Economics and Finance and holder of the Martin Chair of Insurance, explained how he’s tried to raise the profile of MTSU’s risk management and insurance program in the February 2020 issue of Best’s Review. The article is available here.

Dr. Rhonda Hoffman, a professor in the School of Agriculture and director of the Horse Science Program, advised horse owners to avoid feeding their animals certain types of hay in a Feb. 3 article in Stable Management magazine. Her views can be read here.

Kent Syler, assistant professor, political science

Kent Syler

Andrew Oppmann, vice president, marketing and communications

Andrew Oppmann

Kent Syler, a professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations, said the controversy over Hunter Biden’s involvement in a Ukraine gas company has not helped his father, presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, in a Feb. 6 story in USA Today and other media outlets. His comments are available here.

Andrew Oppmann, vice president of marketing and communications, explained China’s contracts with MTSU in a Feb. 6 story at His remarks are available here.

Reporters who need 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 615-898-5081 or via email at