In the News: COVID-19 vaccines, poverty, women’s s...

In the News: COVID-19 vaccines, poverty, women’s suffrage, transgender rights and more

In the News-short mark graphic

MTSU faculty members provided expertise to reporters recently on a variety of issues, including the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, alcohol taxes, library leadership, African American suffragists and COVID-19 vaccines, among other topics.

Dr. Daniel Smith, director of the Political Economy Research Institute; associate professor in Economics and Finance

Dr. Daniel Smith

• Dr. Daniel Smith, an associate professor of economics and director of the Political Economy Research Institute, co-authored a column on the impact of alcohol taxes on the poor in Tennessee that was published May 6 in the Knoxville News Sentinel. The editorial can be read here.

Smith delivered a presentation on “Debt, Deficits and Debasement” to the Rotary Club of Brentwood (Tennessee) at its May 14 meeting. His lecture, which is here on YouTube, begins at 26:48.

Dr. Jason Martin, interim dean of James E. Walker Library

Dr. Jason Martin

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

Dr. Katie Foss

• Dr. Jason Martin, associate dean of the James E. Walker Library, delivered a virtual presentation on library leadership for the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. The video, which was posted to YouTube May 6, can been seen here.

• Dr. Katie Foss, a professor of journalism and strategic communications, compared previous vaccine rollouts to the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in a May 10 article at Her comments can be accessed here.

Foss commented on public reaction to the temporary pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in a May 20 story that was published by several newspapers in the NorCal Community Media chain. Her remarks are available here.

Dr. Marisa Richmond, MTSU history and Women's and Gender Studies program professor (photo by H.N. James)

Dr. Marisa Richmond

• Dr. Marisa Richmond, an adjunct professor of history and Metro Nashville Human Relations chair, spoke with Opinions Editor David Plazas of The Tennessean about a bill that would publicly identify businesses that make accommodations for transgender people. The video, which was posted May 10, can be seen here.

Richmond said bills passed by the Tennessee General Assembly would hurt transgender youths in a May 21 story in the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle and other newspapers. Her words are available here.

Dr. Crystal deGregory, research fellow, Center for Historic Preservation

Dr. Crystal deGregory

Dr Tony Johnston, School of Agriculture

Dr. Tony Johnston

• Dr. Crystal DeGregory, a research fellow at the Center for Historic Preservation, explained the difficulty African American women had in working for women’s suffrage in a May 12 article in The Theatre Times. Her remarks are available here.

• Dr. Tony Johnston, a professor of agriculture and director of the fermentation science program, praised Calvin Hood, the first recipient of the Tenth & Blake Brewing Education Scholarship in a May 12 article at His comments can be read here.

Leon Alligood

Leon Alligood

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

Ken Paulson

Leon Alligood, a professor of journalism, explained the Road Trip Class, a journalistic excursion designed to give students experience in pursuing stories, in a May 14 article in the Bristol Herald Courier. His views can be accessed here.

Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center, discussed the dangers of governmental demands for reporters’ records in a May 19 story for the Voice of America. His comments are available here.

Dr. Carroll Van West, director, Center for Historic Preservation

Dr. Carroll Van West

Lynda Williams, professor, Department of Criminal Justice Administration; former deputy assistant director of the Office of Human Resources of the U.S. Secret Service, and an MTSU alumna

Lynda Williams

• Dr. Carroll Van West, director of the Center for Historic Preservation and Tennessee State Historian, praised the city of Newport, Tennessee, for converting its Rosenwald School into a community service center in a May 19 article in the Newport Plain Talk. His remarks can be read here.

Lynda Williams, a professor of criminal justice administration and president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, testified virtually on May 19 before the U.S. House Administration Committee in its investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Video of the hearing was posted at and can be accessed here. Williams’ remarks begin at 1:31:39.

Dr. Peter Neff, assistant professor, aerospace

Dr. Peter Neff

Dr. Richard J. Tarpey, Department of Management

Dr. Richard Tarpey

• Dr. Peter Neff, an assistant professor of aerospace, explained why the Federal Aviation Administration does not require parents to purchase a separate airplane seat for a child under the age of 2 in a May 21 story at His analysis is available here.

• Dr. Richard Tarpey, an assistant professor of management, said federal health information privacy laws have no application in relationships between companies and patrons in a May 21 story by Newswise. His views can be read here.

Dr. Jane Marcellus, journalism professor

Dr. Jane Marcellus

• Dr. Jane Marcellus, a professor of journalism, wrote a review of “A Singing Army: Zilphia Horton and the Highlander Folk School” by Kim Ruehl that was published May 24 by Her article 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 (