The Tennessee Board of Regents met on Friday morning (6/24/16) and agreed to MTSU's request for a name change to Forrest Hall. The building, named after Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, houses the ROTC offices and classrooms at the local university.
This past April, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee accepted the recommendation by the Forrest Hall Task Force to change the name of the building. After President McPhee endorsed the name change, the recommendation was sent to the Board of Regents for their stamp of approval.
McPhee, in a letter to Derek Frisby, chair of the task force and a global studies instructor, said "the values and goals we share in 2016 as a comprehensive university with international reach are not best reflected by retaining a name affixed in 1958 when we were a small local college that rarely extended beyond our region.
At this point, it is unclear if the TBR will submit a request to the TN Historical Commission before the July 1, 2016 period. It also remains to be seen what the TN Historical Commission will require from MTSU/TBR in such a request or if they will approve a name change.
Why a Name Change?
Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate officer praised for his tactical methods, has also drawn attention recently because of his early ties to the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. Due to the negative attention of Forrest, an MTSU committee held multiple public meetings to decide if the name of the Forrest Hall ROTC building should receive a new name. The committee decided that it should receive a new name this past April of 2016.
Forrest Hall was built in 1954 to house the ROTC program, but wasn't dedicated until 1958, when the name became official. It was chosen because of Forrest's notoriety as a military tactical genius and his ties to the middle Tennessee region.
Past meeting held in Murfreesboro where students and citizens interrupted the event to voice their opinion that the name should be changed.