MTSU President Calls For Forrest Hall Name Change, But Calls Out 'Unruly' Debate

Apr 28, 2016

The controversial issue of renaming MTSU’s Forrest Hall is now heading to the university’s governing body, the Tennessee Board of Regents.

This week, MTSU President Sidney McPhee accepted the recommendation of a university task force to change the name of the school’s Army ROTC building. It currently bears the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Civil War general with ties to the KKK.

However, McPhee expressed disappointment in the behavior of students on both sides of the debate during three public forums. He called them "unruly" for interrupting speakers with angry outbursts.

“I know it’s a heated, controversial topic,” he said. “People are very passionate about their position on General Forrest, so the hope was that individuals would state their positions and respect — not disrupt — the process.”

In accepting the recommendation, McPhee pointed out that the state and university have changed significantly since the building was named in 1958. He also asked that a historical project of General Forrest’s life and legacy be created and housed at the school.

The Board of Regents may deliver a decision over the renaming as early as June. If approved, the issue ultimately goes to the Tennessee Historical Commission.

No alternative names for the building have been made public to date.