In the News: Critical race theory, transgender rig...

In the News: Critical race theory, transgender rights, life insurance, Lee Greenwood and more

Reporters recently turned to MTSU faculty members for expertise on a variety of issues, including critical race theory, porch piracy, children’s literature, water quality and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, among other topics.

Dr. Sekou Franklin

Dr. Sekou Franklin

• Dr. Sekou Franklin, an associate professor of political science and international relations, said anti-critical race theory legislation is an attempt to control what white children learn about America’s racial history in a May 25 article at His views can be read here.

Franklin is featured in Episodes 2 and 3 of The Alabama Civil Rights Trail Podcast, which explores some of the most important events of the civil rights movement that occurred in the state of Alabama. The audio is available here.

Franklin credited a network of grassroots groups for helping turn Georgia from a “red” state to a “purple” state in a June 2 Associated Press story. His remarks can be read here.

Dr. David Wood, Economics and Finance Professor Martin Chair of Insurance Chairholder

Dr. David Wood

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

• Dr. Dave Wood, holder of the Martin Chair of Insurance in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, said very few life insurance companies will refuse to pay off based on the cause of death, with the exception of suicide, in a May 26 story in the Gamachar (India) Central newspaper. His words can be accessed here.

• Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a political scientist, commented on the inclusion of American founding documents into country singer Lee Greenwood’s new “God Bless the USA Bible” in a May 27 article in The Tennessean. His views can be read here.

Vile was interviewed about the new Tennessee law requiring that bathrooms that are available to transgender persons be labeled as such for a May 27 report for National Public Radio. The audio and transcript can be accessed here.

Dr. Louis Woods, MTSU Department of History professor and director of the Africana Studies Program.

Dr. Louis Woods

Dr. Poushari Bhadury, assistant professor of English

Dr. Poushari Bhadury

• Dr. Louis Woods, an associate professor of history, stated that critical race theory is not a new development in American education in a May 27 report by WTVC-TV in Chattanooga. The transcript and video are available here.

• Dr. Poushari Bhadury, an assistant professor in the Department of English, participated in a May 28 panel discussion titled “Dr. Seuss, Babar, and the Future of Children’s Literature” sponsored by New York University-Steinhardt. The video can be seen here. Her segment begins at 39:18.

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

Ken Paulson

Dr. Stephen Severn, chair, Department of English

Dr. Stephen Severn

Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center, authored an editorial about the Associated Press decision to dismiss a reporter for her tweets about news media coverage of the Middle East. The essay was published May 29 by the USA Today Network and can be accessed here.

• Dr. Steve Severn, chair of the Department of English, penned an editorial praising the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., that was published May 30 in the Murfreesboro Post. His opinion can be read here.

Dr. Greg Reish, director of MTSU's Center for Popular Music

Dr. Greg Reish

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

Dr. Ben Stickle

• Dr. Greg Reish, director of the Center for Popular Music, wrote an article about some of the center’s earliest examples of recorded sound for the June 1 Murfreesboro Pulse. The essay is available here.

• Dr. Ben Stickle, an associate professor of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for June 2 reports on porch pirates during the COVID-19 pandemic for ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “World News Now.” The GMA video can be seen here.

Dr. Frank C. Bailey, biology

Dr. Frank C. Bailey

• Dr. Frank Bailey, a professor of biology, assessed the level of toxins in the drinking water in West Palm Beach, Florida, in a June 2 report for WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach. The transcript and video 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 (