Middle Tennessee State University Names New ‘Social Justice Journalism’ Concentration Coordinator

Middle Tennessee State University named Jennifer Woodard as the new program coordinator for the school’s Social Justice Journalism concentration, according to the university’s online academic catalog.

Woodard, a Ph.D. in mass communication from Indiana University-Bloomington and an MTSU alumna, is an expert in “diversity, equity and inclusion,” “race, class, gender and media issues,” and “mediated representations of women” according to her university faculty bio. She is also a faculty member of the Women’s and Gender Studies department and “concentrated on scholarship that would enhance her ability to teach students the value of a diversified newsroom” while pursuing her Ph.D., according to her faculty bio.

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MTSU Teaches ‘Social Justice Journalism’ Track


Middle Tennessee State University offers a “Social Justice Journalism” track of study for undergraduate students.

The track is called the Social Justice Journalism concentration, which students can declare if they are pursuing a major in journalism. A concentration is a specialized track of study an undergraduate student can pursue within their declared major, according to Academic Info.

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Former Editor of MTSU Student Newspaper: I Resigned After Board Issued ‘False Misrepresentation’ of Reason I Took Down Article About One Student’s Reaction to Hamas Invasion of Israel

Matthew Giffin

Matthew Giffin, the newest member of The Tennessee Star team of journalists, joined The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy in-studio to discuss the controversy surrounding his resignation as editor-in-chief of MTSU Sidelines, Middle Tennessee State University’s official student newspaper.

Giffin brings listeners into the room and shares the events leading to his resignation, triggered by the publication of an article covering a student’s concern for family and friends in Tel Aviv during a conflict. The story faced intense backlash on social media, leading to threats against the interviewed student.

Giffin details the editorial board’s decision to take down the article, the subsequent false statement issued, and his decision, ultimately, to walk away from the outlet.

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MTSU Student Newspaper’s Former Editor Says Faculty Adviser Was ‘In the Room’ When Editorial Board Drafted its Apology Letter to Placate ‘Free Palestine Crowd’

The editorial board for the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) student newspaper issued a statement Wednesday in defense of the newspaper’s faculty adviser following the publication’s apology for running a story on an MTSU student worried about his friends in Israel.

But Matthew Giffin, the former editor-in-chief of Sidelines who wrote the profile piece, told The Tennessee Star that associate professor Stephen Leon Alligood was “in the room” when the editor’s note was crafted.

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Michael Patrick Leahy: Antisemitism at MTSU Enabled by Administration and Faculty Adviser to School Newspaper

Michael Patrick Leahy, the editor-in-chief of The Tennessee Star and CEO of The Star News Network, warned Dan Mandis of SuperTalk 99.7 WTN that the administration of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and the student advisor of the school newspaper, Sidelines, have enabled antisemitism on the university’s campus.

Tennessee legislators at the state and federal level continue to decry the MTSU student newspaper’s decision to pull an article written by former editor Matthew Giffin, who Leahy explained wrote a “straightforward” story about an MTSU student originally from Tel Aviv.

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U.S. Rep. DesJarlais Commends Former Middle Tennessee State University Student Newspaper Editor for Standing Up to Terrorists

U.S. Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) told The Tennessee Star that today’s media needs more reporters like Matthew Giffin.

Giffin resigned his position as editor-in-chief of Sidelines, Middle Tennessee State University’s student digital newspaper, after he said the publication’s editorial board caved into pressure by anti-Israel students who opposed his story profiling a MTSU student concerned about his friends in Tel Aviv.

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Commentary: Even ‘Red State’ Colleges Like MTSU are Folding to Antisemitic, Pro-Hamas Voices

In the weeks since the Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7, students and faculty at colleges across the U.S. have given way to the pressures of antisemitic, pro-Hamas voices, abandoning moral clarity and sound judgment.

While students at Ivy League and coastal schools have been among the most prominent examples, students in deeply red, southern states have joined in supporting terrorism and suppressing pro-Israel voices.

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Exclusive: Adam Warner Releases ‘Reason to Redneck’ Lyric Video

Adam Warner hails from the farm country of southern Illinois, quite near to where my mother and her family lived. This area is so consumed by farming, specifically corn and soybeans, that you really do feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere.

Just like my mother and aunts, both of Warner’s grandmothers played piano and sang at church. His mother was involved in theater and singing as well. He was certainly not the only one in the family who did music but would be the only one who chose it as a career path.

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MTSU Removes Rutherford Juvenile Court Judge from Adjunct Staff Amidst County Lawsuit

Judge Donna Scott

Juvenile Judge Donna Scott Davenport will no longer hold her position as adjunct professor at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) following a recent lawsuit. The suit claims that Davenport sent nearly 1,500 students to jail, regardless of the crime.

Individuals born after October 1997 who were jailed at the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center may file a claim to collect a portion of an $11 million settlement connected to the class action lawsuit. 

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MTSU First in Tennessee to Join Biden’s ‘COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge’

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is the first university in the state to join President Joe Biden’s “COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge.” MTSU announced their decision on Thursday.

Since MTSU made their announcement, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and Lane College have also joined the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge. MTSU President Sidney McPhee said that the vaccinations were just another common sense step to control COVID-19.

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After Threats of Unrest and a High Price Tag, Ann Coulter’s Appearance Sold Out at MTSU

For hosting a conservative speaker on their campus, a Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter paid the price – three times, to be exact. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) TPUSA hosted Ann Coulter on Monday, at three times the cost of liberal or leftist organizations according TPUSA’s report of an anonymous call from the school’s administration. 

The chapter was charged nearly 1600 percent the normal rental fee for the venue – nearly $2,400 compared to $150. MTSU claimed on its invoice that a bulk of the additional expenses were to cover the costs of “Event Production Services.” This, though the event itself appeared to be a bare bones display – no music was played, no fog or flashing lights were emitted, and the projector screen displayed only one slide the entirety of the event.

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MTSU Students Charged After Allegedly Stealing $114k from Student Groups

Two students at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) have been indicted by a grand jury for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from the school over a period of several years. 

“Mohamed Osman and Mohamed Gure were presidents of MTSU’s Somali Students Association, according to investigators,” WKRN said. “During their time in office, the Comptroller’s Office said they submitted at least 85 false invoices to MTSU, many of which were for non-existent vendors, to obtain reimbursements totaling $82,200 in student activity fee funds.”

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Middle Tennessee State University Free Speech Center Releases First Amendment Report for Students

There are nine practices that could significantly improve the climate of free speech on American college campuses nationwide. This, according to a report released by Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) Free Speech Center last week, aimed at offering best practices for First Amendment advocacy, activism, and engagement amongst college students.

The nine practices proposed were: physical environments incorporating the First Amendment, social media engagement, cultural boundary bridging, writing exercises, case studies, targeted campus events, hands-on engagement, building bridges, and a combination of assessment and iteration. Examples of these practices included establishing monuments enumerating the First Amendment rights, or offering exercises where students experience loss of these rights momentarily by exchanging their First Amendment freedoms for a free lunch.

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Commentary: A Wealth Tax Is Practically and Morally Bankrupt

Joe Biden hopes that his proposals to raise taxes significantly will propel him to victory on Election Day. Biden plans to increase the corporate tax rate by 33 percent, raise individual tax rates, and eliminate the cap on income subject to payroll tax. According to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, Biden’s tax plan will reduce national GDP and ordinary earners’ incomes. 

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Ken Paulson, Director of MTSU’s The First Amendment Center Exercises His First Amendment Right Not to Speak on the Show

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed public affairs strategist Clint Brewer in the studio.

At the top of the third hour, Leahy and Brewer discuss Middle Tennesse State University’s First Amendment Center and the dynamics of the First Amendment and Paulson’s focus on peaceful assembly. Leahy added that Paulson declined an invitation to come on The Tennessee Star Report and talk about the Center.

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MTSU Intends to Resume On-Campus, In-Person Classes this Fall

Middle Tennessee State University officials have announced they will move forward with COVID-19 preparations with a goal of resuming on-campus, in-person classes and operations in August for the Fall 2020 semester.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee announced the news in a press release late last week.

“The task before me as president … is to chart a course that will allow us to welcome our new incoming freshman class, transfers and returning students, as well as faculty and staff, to a safe and healthy campus for the new academic year,” McPhee said.

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MTSU Professor Guest Lecturing at Belmont Plays “F*** Trump’ Song

A Middle Tennessee University music professor apparently went off script during his guest lecture at Belmont University this week and played the song “F**k Donald Trump” over the loudspeaker. Belmont, of course, is a Christian university. Joseph Morgan was the MTSU professor in question. Belmont spokesman Greg Pillon confirmed the incident in an emailed statement to The Tennessee Star. “On Wednesday, an outside speaker appeared at Belmont University and shared content about politics and popular culture that was biased and disrespectful. Some of the content presented, including the presentation title which was different from what had been approved by university officials, was outside the lines of what was expected,” Pillon said. “The university feels betrayed by the deception implicit in the actions of the guest speaker. Belmont University does not endorse the message that was delivered and also strongly objects to the obscene language that was used. We apologize to anyone who was offended as today’s event was not reflective of our Christian identity nor of our institutional commitment to civil political discourse.” According to CampusReform.org, Belmont marketed the event as a music and discourse lecture titled “Popular Music and Presidential Politics.” Morgan instead reportedly delivered a lecture titled “Popular Music…

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Leftist Academic Tells MTSU Students the Right Wants to Hurt America

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee — This week Middle Tennessee State University hosted a left-wing academic who told a room of about 200 students about a network of conservative and libertarian forces supposedly out to undermine democracy. That woman, Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, made a lot of bold statements about the right during her 60-minute speech on Monday. A 30-minute question and answer session with students came afterward. MacLean complained extensively about the billionaire Koch brothers and how they supposedly work to enable a system of rigged rules that benefit only the wealthy. Tea Partiers, she said, are puppets who help carry out an agenda they unknowingly disagree with. MacLean also told MTSU students that think tanks, the religious right, and white segregationists had past or present ties to this supposedly sinister right-wing complex. “They are determined to use the religious right and the racially motivated right to get what they want. Behind all the chaos and dysfunction there is a calculated strategy that is far along,” MacLean told students. She heavily criticized the work and legacy of MTSU graduate and Nobel laureate in economics James M. Buchanan. “For the variety of capitalism…

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MTSU to Host Speaker Who Will Blast ‘The Radical Right’

On Monday, Middle Tennessee State University will host an author who will warn faculty and students alike about what she calls “the radical right.” Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America is scheduled to speak. MacLean’s book concerns the work and legacy of MTSU graduate and Nobel laureate in economics James M. Buchanan. Her book also explores the network of Koch Brothers’ centers and institutes. As reported, members of the Charles Koch Foundation recently gave $3.5 million to establish the Political Economy Research Institute to honor Buchanan. When asked about MacLean’s book, PERI Director Dan Smith said nothing in his personal experience “supports the veracity of her narrative.” “Many other scholars familiar with public choice and James M. Buchanan were similarly surprised. This spurned further investigation into her allegations and her narrative,” Smith told The Tennessee Star. “It didn’t take long for scholars to find that her narrative is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of public choice economics as well as Buchanan’s research. Reviewers have already found several inconsistencies and errors.” Smith also said the book doesn’t meet the standards of academic scholarship as it didn’t go through a formal peer review…

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Political Economy Research Institute at MTSU Includes Conservative Philosophy to Balance Out the Left

A new program at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro will balance out academia by introducing students to right-of-center political philosophers. Usually, academia consists of left-wing professors who despise capitalism. Their lectures and their required readings reflect that hatred. At MTSU, at least, Karl Marx and other left-wing philosophers will make room for other kinds of thinkers, such as Adam Smith and Milton Friedman, among others. No, it’s not April Fool’s Day. Just Google the Political Economy Research Institute at MTSU. This is real. And, as PERI Director Dan Smith told The Tennessee Star this week, it’s not about one political philosophy reigning supreme over another at a college campus. That’s not what academia, in theory, is about. Academia, Smith went on to say, is about balance. “This is about a well-rounded perspective. For a long time the academy has chased conservative professors or libertarian professors off the campus and there are small numbers, especially in some disciplines, completely unbalanced. This is a disservice, even to the people on the left,” Smith said. “Otherwise how are you going to learn to actually believe in your own ideas unless you’re actually confronted with the best ideas on the opposing side? You…

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MTSU Pays to Recruit International Students

A spokesman for Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro said the school pays for all efforts to recruit international students from the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. “Those (recruiting) trips are funded by the International Affairs allocated recruitment budget,” said MTSU spokesman David Schmidt, vice provost for the school’s International Affairs. Schmidt made his comments in an emailed statement to The Tennessee Star Tuesday. Schmidt also said MTSU recruiters generally take three to four recruiting trips a year. When asked, Hart said MTSU officials are not pushing for more international students because the school is hard-up for money. Many of the school’s previous exchange programs focused on European countries, Schmidt said. MTSU currently has about 1,000 international students, who all pursue “a wide variety of degrees, ranging from the sciences to the arts,” Schmidt said. “Being a part of a more diverse and global campus benefits Tennessee students by exposing them to other cultures that they may not otherwise interact, and it also prepares them to better compete in a global marketplace,” Schmidt said. As The Star reported this week, more and more international students attend universities in Tennessee. They take the knowledge and the skills they acquire here and apply them…

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MTSU Poll: 77 Percent of Tennessee Republicans Trust President Trump, Only 40 Percent Trust Bob Corker

A recent poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University confirms what The Tennessee Star Poll reported last month: President Donald Trump is by far the most popular elected official among Republican voters in Tennessee, and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) is not particularly popular. Among Republicans, 86 percent of likely Tennessee Republican voters approved of President Trump’s job performance in The Tennessee Star Poll  released on June 6: When asked “How would you rate the job performance of President Donald Trump,” 86 percent of likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee said they approve of his job performance, while only 11 percent said they disapprove, a remarkable 75 percent margin of approval over disapproval. In the MTSU Poll, which measured trust,  77  percent of Tennessee Republican voters surveyed say they trust President Trump, while only 40 percent say they trust Senator Corker. The Tennessee Star Poll was conducted of 1,007  likely Republican primary voters in Tennesseee. The MTSU Poll was taken of  627 residents of Tennessee, 193 of whom were Republicans, 153 were Democrats, 139 were Independents, and 78 said they were “Not Political.” Among all those surveyed by the MTSU Poll, 38 percent say they trust President Trump, while only 28 percent…

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