The Charger Blog

University Professors are Sought After National Security Experts

University faculty in national security, criminal justice, and political science have conducted hundreds of media interviews over the past few months, sharing their expertise and insight on everything from immigration to the inauguration with media outlets from around the world.

March 3, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Robert Sanders and Cheddar virtual call.
Robert Sanders, LP.D., J.D., LLM, discusses President Joe Biden’s inauguration with Cheddar.

Robert Sanders, LP.D., J.D., LLM, recently spoke to Bloomberg about a Texas ruling that temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s plan to pause the deportations of undocumented immigrants. The news agency asked the retired U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps Captain and former federal government organization counsel to share his insight into the state’s ruling.

“I’m hopeful that the court will see it as I perceive it to be – an attempt to tie the hands of the Biden administration in ways that are not consistent with presidential power in the areas of immigration,” said Dr. Sanders, chair of the University’s National Security Department.

The interview was one of dozens he has done over the past several months, including a live interview with the video news network Cheddar on the morning of President Biden’s inauguration. In it, he mentioned that one of his students – Brian Nalezynski ’21, a Connecticut Army National Guard specialist – was serving at the inauguration.

Colleague Matthew Schmidt, Ph.D., a national security and political science professor, has also discussed a variety of current events in extensive media interviews. Dr. Schmidt has weighed in on everything from the inauguration to the cybersecurity hack against the United States government late last year.

“It appears the attackers may have taken our own tools for finding vulnerabilities in foreign networks,” Dr. Schmidt told USA Today at the time. “They hacked our hacking capability. It's very early, but the level of immediate reaction suggests a very, very serious intrusion.”

Mike Lawlor on NBC Connecticut.
Mike Lawlor, J.D. recently spoke to NBC Connecticut.
‘I'm concerned about the years to come’

News outlets around the country and the world have been featuring members of the University’s National Security Department, particularly since the period leading up to the presidential election.

Faculty have done hundreds of interviews since early November, speaking with outlets of all sizes, including those that reach national and international audiences. Howard Stoffer, Ph.D., an associate professor of national security, spoke with Newscabal UK News about the chances of a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Some faculty members, including Chris Haynes, Ph.D., wrote op-eds, such as a piece he co-authored about the Georgia run-off election in January that was featured in the Washington Post. An expert on immigration, political framing, presidential elections, race, and ethnicity, Dr. Haynes has discussed topics such as former president Donald Trump’s legacy and Trump’s second impeachment trial with news outlets around the country.

When the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building in early January sparked nationwide concern about national security, news outlets reporting on the violence and its impact included insight from experts such as Mike Lawlor, J.D., discussing the complexities of the criminal charges faced by those involved, Dr. Schmidt explaining that the “No. 1 national security threat has been domestic extremist groups,” as well as Jeffrey Treistman, Ph.D.

“I'm concerned about the years to come because many of these groups now are extremely motivated to take action and perhaps even deadly action,” Dr. Treistman told NBC Connecticut.