MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee State University is open to a discussion on renaming Forrest Hall.
The building, named after one-time Ku Klux Klan leader and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest in 1954, houses the campus’ Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
MTSU President Sidney McPhee said Wednesday debate about renaming the hall surfaced through the years, but “in light of the horrific killings in Charleston” they decided it is “right and appropriate to reconsider the matter.”
According to the statement, there’s always been debate about the school’s ties to Forrest that have risen periodically through the civil rights era and beyond.
The university removed a 600-pound bronze medallion of Forrest from the Keathley University Center in 1989.
Officials noted opposition to the name of Forrest Hall heightened in 2006-07 when a number of students petitioned to change it due to Forrest’s ties to the KKK. Others supported keeping the name.
MTSU’s announcement comes in the wake of a national conversation surrounding Confederate symbolism following the mass shooting in Charleston.
In Nashville, lawmakers have called for the removal of Forrest’s bust from the state Capitol.
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