MURFREESBORO, Tenn.— Middle Tennessee State University’s ROTC building, Forrest Hall, is named after the Civil War commander Nathan Bedford Forrest, but the mention of his name brings a lot of controversy with it.
In 2015, there were marches, protests and uproar about changing the name of Forrest Hall.
Upon the spark of this controversy, President Sidney McPhee appointed a task force of students, faculty, and community members to decide whether the name was to be changed or not. Derek Frisby, the chairman of the task force, says that Forrest’s past is the reason why people are requesting the name change.
“Forrest’s legacy is very complicated,” Frisby explains. “He also has a legacy that deals with the South and slavery.”
Those who are in favor of the name change, like MTSU student Arionna White, point out that all of Forrest’s past has to be considered when making the ultimate decision.
However, Joseph Suvak, who is not in favor of the name change, thinks that the name of the hall is a key part of history and that there is no reason to change the name now.
Opinions from both sides were heard at the second task force meeting at Lane Agri-Park on Wednesday.
The first task force meeting was in December 2015, and there will be a third meeting held in March.
President McPhee has given the task force until April to make their decision, and once the decision is made, the request will have to be approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents.