blog navigation

Expert Viewpoints

blog posts

  • Photo of Benjamin Holden, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign journalism professor and media law scholar who studies free speech issues.

    What are the implications of the recent Supreme Court public school speech case?

    The Supreme Court affirmed that while public schools have an extra duty to protect unpopular opinions and minority speech rights, school officials still have the power to discipline students for bad behavior, says a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign media law scholar who studies free speech issues.

  • Portrait of the researcher.

    How can the world prevent emerging infectious diseases, protect food security?

    According to a new report co-written by Illinois Natural History Survey postdoctoral researcher Valeria Trivellone, climate change, poverty, urbanization, land-use change and the exploitation of wildlife all contribute to the emergence of new infectious diseases, which, in turn, threaten global food security. Trivellone spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about how global authorities can tackle these intertwined challenges.

  • Photo of sociology professor Kevin Leicht

    Where have all the entry-level professional jobs gone?

    Various economic and political forces are reducing job opportunities for new professionals and discouraging some entering these fields or staying in the U.S. after they earn their degrees, says sociology professor Kevin Leicht.

  • Portrait of Dr. Sam Sander

    How do July 4 celebrations affect wildlife?

    Celebrating the nation’s Independence Day with fireworks is an enduring tradition, but fireworks can be a source of distress and danger to wildlife. Dr. Sam Sander, a clinical professor of zoo and wildlife medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about how fireworks affect wildlife and the environment, and how to minimize the risks.

  • Photo of Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois and the director of the Labor Education Program in Chicago.

    Are generous unemployment benefits to blame for worker shortages?

    As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and employers look to restart businesses at full capacity, workers have leverage that they’re using to temporarily stay out of the labor market in certain industries, says U. of I. labor expert Robert Bruno.

  • Photo of Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the U. of I. College of Law.

    Are we experiencing another unaccompanied child 'crisis' at the southern US border?

    There’s no easy solution to the problem of unaccompanied migrant children at the southern U.S. border, a U. of I. expert says.

  • Professor Ruby Mendenhall

    Why do we need a health care equity law?

    The Illinois Health Care and Human Services Reform Act has potential to address root causes of health disparities and foster health equity through provisions such as implicit bias training and community health workers, says Illinois professor Ruby Mendenhall.

     

  • Portrait of journalism professor Brant Houston.

    What does the Chicago Tribune sale mean for the future of newsrooms?

    As more newspapers are purchased by “vulture” hedge funds – highlighted by the recent acquisition of Tribune Publishing Co. by Alden Global Capital LLC  – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign journalism professor Brant Houston touts nonprofit news organizations as a viable alternative to traditional newspaper business models.

  • Headshot of Rachel S. Harris

    Why has violence erupted now between Israelis and Palestinians?

    A leadership vacuum and political maneuvering by both Israel and the Palestinians are fueling the violence between the two, said Rachel S. Harris, a professor in the Program in World and Comparative Literature and in The Program in Jewish Culture and Society.

  • Sociology professor Ilana Redstone with her arms folded, leaning against a wall outdoors

    How are social media changing higher education?

    Fear of reprisals from outraged parties on social media and unspoken rules about acceptable discourse on college campuses constrain what faculty members teach, research and discuss, says sociology professor Ilana Redstone.

  • Mariam Bonyadi Camacho stands with arms crossed.

    How does COVID-19 affect the heart?

    While many think of COVID-19 as primarily a respiratory disease, its effects on the heart contribute to nearly 40% of deaths – and can strike even healthy children and athletes, says Mariam Bonyadi Camacho, a student in the medical scholars program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Camacho co-wrote a recent report on the coronavirus’ cardiac effects, both short- and long-term. She discussed the risks to heart health and possible treatments in an interview.

     

  • Photo of Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law and labor relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    Do labor laws need to be modernized with rise of gig economy?

    The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would be the most significant revision of U.S. labor law since 1947, says Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Beckman Institute researcher Joey Ramp poses with her dog, Sampson.

    Are science laboratories truly inclusive if not accessible to service-dog handlers?

    According to a new commentary in Disability and Health Journal, people with disabilities who rely on service dogs often are prohibited from bringing their working dogs into teaching and research laboratories. This one barrier can stop them from pursuing careers in science, says Joey Ramp, a researcher in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and lead author of the commentary. Ramp spoke about the issue with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates.

  • Photo of Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the U. of I. College of Law.

    Can Biden pass comprehensive immigration reform?

    One of the Biden administration’s first acts was to send Congress the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a long-promised immigration reform bill. But any legislative action on comprehensive immigration reform will face significant headwinds in the Senate, says Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Law.

  • Headshot of Richard Tempest

    How will imprisonment of Russian dissident Alexsei Navalny affect opposition to Putin?

    Aleksei Navalny likely will be able to maintain his public profile from prison, but his agenda needs to include economic issues to mobilize mass public support, said Illinois professor of Slavic languages and literatures Richard Tempest.

  • Headshot of Angel Garcia with a brick wall background

    What does poet's Super Bowl performance mean for poetry?

    Amanda Gorman’s performance at the Super Bowl will give poetry an enormous audience – one that is “unfathomable” for most poets, said poet and Illinois English professor Ángel García.

  • Portrait of Jon Hale dressed in a suit and tie

    How might Freedom Schools promote educational equity in Illinois?

    Educational history professor Jon Hale discusses how Freedom Schools promote civil rights and educational equity and the implications for Illinois in funding these schools as part of the state's education reform initiative.

  • Gustavo Caetano-Anollés

    What happens when the coronavirus mutates?

    New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including a more-infectious variant first found in the United Kingdom, even as vaccines containing bits of viral genetic material are beginning distribution. In an interview, crop sciences professor Gustavo Caetano-Anollés discusses viral mutation and what it could mean for vaccinations.

  • Professor Erik Procko stands with arms crossed.

    What is the new variant of coronavirus in the UK?

    New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including one in the United Kingdom with higher infection rates that has sparked new travel bans. Erik Procko, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been studying mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that binds to human cells. In an interview, Procko discussed the new variation and whether mutations to the spike protein could create resistance to vaccines or other treatments.

  • The annual Carbon Budget Project report found that among other trends, the global COVID-19 pandemic restrictions caused a record drop in CO2 emissions for 2020, says Illinois atmospheric sciences professor and report co-author Atul Jain.

    2020 a bad year in many respects, but what about global carbon emissions?

    The Global Carbon Project recently published the Global Carbon Budget 2020, giving world leaders access to data on atmospheric carbon concentrations, emissions and trends. Illinois atmospheric scientist Atul Jain was part of an international team of scientists that contributed data to the report. Jain talked about the carbon budget and this year’s findings with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian.

  • Photo of Craig Gundersen, the ACES Distinguished Professor in the department of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    How has COVID-19 affected food insecurity in the US?

    The economic devastation wrought by COVID-19 accounts for an almost 43% increase in food insecurity in the U.S., said Craig Gundersen, the ACES Distinguished Professor in the department of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Photo of Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law and labor relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    Can employers legally require employees to vaccinate against COVID-19?

    In most cases, an employer could require an employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. While that might seem like a violation of an employee’s personal freedom, “No one has a legally enforceable right to a specific job,” says Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law and labor relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Photo of Colleen Murphy, the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law at Illinois and an expert in political reconciliation

    Does the US need to pursue transitional justice in the post-Trump era?

    To promote accountability in government, President-elect Biden ought to pursue “transitional justice” in the aftermath of the Trump presidency, said Colleen Murphy, the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law at Illinois and an expert in political reconciliation.

  • We may want to question some assumptions about state-level voting predictions and the role of the pandemic in the recent election, says Illinois professor Scott Althaus.

    Should we rethink assumptions about the 2020 election?

    The polls prior to Election Day and other circumstances suggested to many that the presidential results would be different than they were. We may want to question some assumptions about state-level voting predictions and the role of the pandemic, says Scott Althaus, a professor of both political science and communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Craig Miller stands in the woods facing the camera. He is wearing a red and black plaid shirt and he has his hands in his pockets.

    Does hunting with lead ammunition endanger human, environmental health?

    A recent study from Wesleyan University found that 48% of ground meat samples made from white-tailed deer killed with lead shotgun slugs in Illinois were contaminated with lead, while meat from deer killed by archers contained no lead. Illinois Natural History Survey human dimensions scientist Craig Miller spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the risks associated with lead ammunition in hunting.

  • Photo of Jason Mazzone, the Albert E. Jenner Jr. Professor of Law and the director of the Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law at the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Should the Senate conduct Supreme Court hearing amid pandemic, election season?

    There is no election-year exception to the process the Constitution creates for the nomination of individuals to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, says Jason Mazzone, the Albert E. Jenner Jr. Professor of Law and the director of the Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law at the College of Law at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Illinois political science professor Brian Gaines has some suggestions for choosing how to cast a ballot this fall – by mail or in person – and what to watch for in the election.

    In person or by mail? What to consider in choosing how to vote

    Voters this fall must determine not only who they’re voting for, but also the safest way to cast a ballot. Brian Gaines, a political science professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, maps out some risks to consider and mistakes to avoid. He also cautions against leaping to conclusions about any alleged irregularities on Election Day.

  • Illinois communication professor Ned O’Gorman argues for the necessity of politics, but “authentic politics,” not winner-take-all.

    Have we gone too far trashing politics?

    We’ve gone too far in trashing politics, no matter how much the campaign season may prompt us to do so, says Ned O’Gorman, a communication professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Politics is a good thing, but our views of politics have become “twisted.” His recent book “Politics for Everybody” argues for “authentic politics” that focus on different people getting along and working things out, not winner-take-all.

  • Illinois history professor Adrian Burgos Jr. specializes in the history of sports, in particular the role of Latinos and African Americans.

    What’s different about recent athlete protests?

    In the history of protest in sports, the recent strikes by professional athletes in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are unprecedented, says Adrian Burgos Jr., a professor of history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign who specializes in the history of sports. The resumption of pro sports during a pandemic has made the players’ platform even more prominent, he says, and some have used it to try to communicate their lived reality beyond their role as athletes.

  • Photo of Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois and the director of the Labor Education Program in Chicago.

    Should government do more for the working poor during pandemic?

    Another round of federal stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits would be “economic stabilizers” for the working poor during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, says U. of I. labor expert Robert Bruno.

  • Portrait of Thomas O'Rourke. He is wearing a dark red shirt and smiling.

    Will a coronavirus vaccine be a cure-all?

    Global health authorities are frantically pursuing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the hope that it will allow everyone to get back to a pre-COVID-19 reality ASAP. Thomas O’Rourke, a professor emeritus of community health, says those expectations are probably overblown.

  • Photo of Ian Brooks, the director of the Center for Health Informatics

    Where does the U.S. withdrawal leave the World Health Organization?

    A global response, such as that organized by the World Health Organization, is needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, says Ian Brooks, a research scientist whose focus is global health informatics.

  • Illinois professor Jay Rosenstein directed a 1997 documentary on the use of American Indian mascots in sports, and says “nothing compares” to the retirement of Redskins by the NFL team in Washington, D.C.

    Why is the NFL team in Washington, D.C., changing its name?

    The NFL team in the nation’s capital will no longer be the Redskins. It’s the highest-profile retirement of an American Indian name by a sports team in decades, says Jay Rosenstein, an Illinois professor of media and cinema studies. His documentary on the use of American Indian mascots in sports aired in 1997 and he has closely followed the issue since.

  • Photo of U. of I. labor historian Daniel A. Gilbert.

    Can Major League Baseball owners, players avoid another work stoppage?

    A coronavirus-abbreviated Major League Baseball season will open amid the backdrop of significant labor tension between owners and players, says U. of I. labor historian Daniel A. Gilbert.

  • Photo of Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the U. of I. College of Law.

    Where does the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program stand?

    Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its favor, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program remains a stopgap measure at best. The permanent fix is a comprehensive immigration bill that looks something like the former DREAM Act, says Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the U. of I. College of Law.

  • Illinois advertising professor Jason Chambers specializes in the history of advertising related to African Americans.

    Why are familiar brands with Black images getting a rethink?

    At least one familiar brand is being retired and others are getting a rethink due to their use of Black images. Illinois advertising professor Jason Chambers explains why.

  • Illinois architecture professor Benjamin Bross

    How will public spaces change as result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

    Pandemics have changed our physical spaces throughout history, but changes made as a result of COVID-19 may not be long-lasting, says Illinois architecture professor Benjamin Bross.

  • 1.	Michael Schlosser is the director of the Police Training Institute, which has developed training programs that give police officers a better understanding of their own implicit biases and expose them to some of the issues that will be important when they interact with diverse communities.

    What can police trainers learn from the current crisis?

    Police reform is on the national agenda in response to the choking death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in late May – and many other such incidents before and since. Police Training Institute director Michael Schlosser weighed in on the current crisis. Based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the PTI trains dozens of police departments across the state of Illinois. Schlosser spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates.

  • A. Naomi Paik, a professor of Asian American studies at Illinois, studies policing and prisons as part of her research.

    Why the calls for defunding police?

    Calls for defunding or even abolishing the police in the wake of George Floyd’s death may sound radical to many, but the idea is not new, says A. Naomi Paik, a professor of Asian American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Travis Dixon is a professor of communication at Illinois whose research deals with stereotypes in the mass media and their impact.

    Is it possible to overcome our biases in the face of conflict?

    Our biases, conscious and unconscious, influence how we process news of events like the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, and the media plays an important part in forming and reinforcing those biases, says Travis Dixon, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • COVID-19 has added to trends working against theaters, but they won’t disappear, says Derek Long, a professor media and cinema studies at Illinois.

    Will movie theaters survive COVID-19?

    Summer is normally a season for blockbusters, but movie theaters will have special challenges this year, starting with a gamble on a few July releases. Derek Long, a professor of media and cinema studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, looks at the present and future of the business.

  • Photo of Richard L. Kaplan, an internationally recognized expert on U.S. tax policy and the Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law at Illinois.

    What effect will COVID-19 have on end-of-life and retirement issues?

    The continued spread of COVID-19 ought to prompt adults to start seriously thinking about end-of-life issues such as writing a will, said University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign law professor and elder law expert Richard L. Kaplan.

  • Photo of Jason Mazzone, the Albert E. Jenner Jr. Professor of Law and the director of the Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law at the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Will live broadcasts of oral arguments be a permanent fixture at the Supreme Court?

    The Supreme Court’s livestream of its oral arguments is likely a temporary measure due to COVID-19, said Jason Mazzone, the Albert E. Jenner Jr. Professor of Law and the director of the Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law at the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Mechanical science and engineering professor Taher Saif, right, and students Onur Aydin, left, and Bashar Emon test common household fabrics used to make face masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    Making a homemade COVID mask? Study explains best fabric choices

    Health authorities believe COVID-19 spreads by the transmission of respiratory droplets, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends homemade cloth face coverings for use in public spaces. Starting today, Illinois joins many other states in requiring people to wear masks while out. However, initial uncertainty regarding the masks’ effectiveness in reducing exhaled droplets leaves some people unsure or skeptical of their usefulness during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Mechanical science and engineering professor Taher Saif spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about a study that he and his graduate students, Onur Aydin and Bashar Emon, performed on the effectiveness of common household fabrics for use in homemade masks.

  • Photo courtesy ISTC

    Could Legionnaires' bacteria lurk in idled buildings?

    Many businesses are closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and some building managers have shut off water and air conditioning to conserve resources. Unfortunately, warmth and lack of clean water flow can contribute to the growth of potentially dangerous microbes, including the bacteria that contribute to Legionnaires’ disease. Illinois Sustainable Technology Center chemist and industrial water treatment specialist Jeremy Overmann spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the problem and potential solutions.

  • Photo of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign law professor Robert M. Lawless, a leading consumer credit and bankruptcy expert.

    What effect will COVID-19 have on consumer bankruptcies?

    Most households struggle financially for two to five years before filing for bankruptcy, making a pandemic-related surge in consumer bankruptcy filings unlikely, said University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign law professor Robert M. Lawless, a leading consumer credit and bankruptcy expert.

  • Illinois Natural History Survey wildlife biologist Tara Hohoff holds a bat during mist netting to collect data on bat populations in central Illinois.

    Are bats to blame for the coronavirus crisis?

    Horseshoe bats in China are a natural wildlife reservoir of SARS-like coronaviruses. Some health experts think wildlife markets – specifically in Wuhan, China – led to the spillover of the new coronavirus into human populations. Though not confirmed, the hypothesis has given bats around the world a bad rap, and public fears of exposure to bats are on the rise. Illinois Natural History Survey wildlife biologist Tara Hohoff, the project coordinator of the Illinois Bat Conservation Program, spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about bat biology and conservation, and the flying mammals’ role in human health.

  • Scholars and scientists have made key discoveries in the past decade about the 14th-century plague known as the Black Death, says history professor Carol Symes.

    What's new with the plague? More than you might think

    Pandemics of the past are getting new attention, among them the plague of the 14th century. Known as the Black Death, it was medieval, European, bubonic and spread by rats – at least that’s what most of us think. Much of that needs adjustment, however, in large part due to discoveries of the past decade, says Carol Symes, a professor of medieval history at Illinois.

  • History professor Rana Hogarth’s research focuses on the history of both medicine and race, and the connections between.

    What drives us to blame the marginalized for epidemics?

    There’s a long history of scapegoating marginalized people in epidemics, and of seeing difference in the way those of different races respond to disease, says Rana Hogarth, a U. of I. professor who studies the history of both medicine and race, and the connections between.

  • Eunice E. Santos

    How can researchers predict social behavior during pandemics to enhance public health policies?

    Eunice E. Santos, the dean of the School of Information Sciences, studies how computational models can help explain social behaviors and the factors that influence decision-making during pandemics.