In the News: Horses, social media, George Floyd, d...

In the News: Horses, social media, George Floyd, defunding police, COVID-19, football and more

Local, national and international news agencies recently sought expertise and insight from MTSU experts on subjects including police department defunding, social media, the coronavirus pandemic, sales tax relief and the future of concert venues.

Garrett Salmon, Nursing faculty.

Garrett Salmon

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

Dr. Rhonda Hoffman

Garrett P. Salmon, an assistant professor of nursing, addressed the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder in nurses in a May 29 report at His remarks can be read here.

• Dr. Rhonda Hoffman, a professor of horse science, commented on the proper diet for horses in a June 8 post at Her perspectives are available here.

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

Dr. Ben Stickle

Val Hoeppner, director, Center for Innovation in Media

Val Hoeppner

• Dr. Ben Stickle, an associate professor of criminal justice administration, addressed the issue of police department defunding for a June 8 report by WZTV-TV in Nashville. His views are available here.

Val Hoeppner, director of the Center for Innovation in Media, explained why the radio station participated in a nationwide tribute to George Floyd by playing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” for a June 9 report by WTVF-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript are available here.

Dr. Debra Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services

Dr. Debra Sells

Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center at MTSU

Ken Paulson

• Dr. Debra Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for student enrollment, explained why MTSU is changing its housing practices to adhere to social distancing protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic in a June 9 report by WTVF-TV. The video and transcript are available here.

Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center at MTSU, talked about how police mistreatment of journalists during the protests following George Floyd’s death can affect other countries’ view of the United States in a June 10 story in the Toronto News. His comments can be read here.

Paulson also said the elimination of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act would effectively mean the end of Facebook and Twitter in a June 12 story in Fortune Magazine. His perspectives are available here.

Dr. Ron Messier, professor emeritus, history

Dr. Ron Messier

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

Dr. Katie Foss

• Dr. Ron Messier, a professor emeritus of history, discussed the excavation of Islamic cities as part of the Atlantic Institute Lecture Series, based at the Rhodes Trust at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The lecture, which was posted on YouTube on June 10, can be viewed here.

• Dr. Katie Foss, a professor of media studies, assessed media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States for a June 10 post at Her perspectives are available here.

Beverly Keel, dean, College of Media and Entertainment

Beverly Keel

Coach Rick Stockstill

Beverly Keel, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment, explained how white ignorance has contributed to discrimination against African Americans in a June 11 editorial in The Tennessean. Her opinions are available here.

Rick Stockstill, MTSU head football coach, commented on nationwide protests against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in a June 10 story in Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal. His views can be read here.

MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster

Chief Buddy Peaster

Dr. Richard Barnet, professor, recording industry

Dr. Richard Barnet

Buddy Peaster, chief of the University Police Department, explained the MTSU police force’s interaction with demonstrators during a May 31 protest for a June 12 story in the Daily News Journal. The article can be accessed here.

Rich Barnet, a professor of music business, said in a June 13 story by Tera News of India that many music venues will not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. The article is available here.

Chris Massaro, director of athletics

Chris Massaro

Dr. Song Cui, professor of agriculture

Dr. Song Cui

Chris Massaro, athletic director, said in a June 15 story in the Murfreesboro Post that the university’s plans for football are in line with Conference USA’s plans for proceeding with football season. His remarks can be read here.

• Dr. Song Cui, an associate professor of agriculture, along with five colleagues, published research on the impact of water and nitrogen on maize June 16 in the research journal Nature. The article is available here.

Dr. Sekou Franklin

Dr. Sekou Franklin

Dr. Charlie Baum, MTSU Department of Economics and Finance faculty

Dr. Charles Baum

• Dr. Sekou Franklin, a professor of political science and international relations, commented on the movement to defund police departments for a June 16 story in The Christian Science Monitor. His views are available here.

• Dr. Charles Baum, a professor of economics who is also a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, questioned the effectiveness of one-time sales tax breaks in a June 16 article in The Tennessean. The story can be read 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

— Gina Logue (