MTSU considering options after Historical Commission blocks plan to rename Forrest Hall

(Photo: WKRN)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Middle Tennessee State University will have to figure out a new approach to renaming Forrest Hall.

The State Historical Commission denied the University’s request Friday.

MTSU President Dr. Sidney McPhee said he is disappointed but will be meeting with other university officials in the coming days to determine the next course of action.

“We felt we made a very compelling argument on why the name change was in the best interest of the university, so we are disappointed that our request failed to receive approval from two-thirds of the commission as required by law.”

The building is named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate General and one of the founding members of the Ku Klux Klan.

A task force recommended the name change, and the Tennessee Board of Regents unanimously recommended the name change and sent the plan to the historical commission for approval, as required by law.

The movement to rename the building picked up steam after white nationalist demonstrations became violent in Charlottesville, Va. The same groups planned marches in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville on October 28, and were met with overwhelming opposition from residents

Those who want to keep the building named after Forrest believe it is part of Tennessee history and should not be change. 

Several Tennessee cities are dealing with controversy surrounded the removal of Confederate monuments and statues.The Sons of Confederate Veterans are protesting the sudden removal of Statues of Forrest and Jefferson Davis in Memphis last last year, claiming the city violated the state’s Heritage Protection Act and numerous state laws.

It is not clear what options are available to the Middle Tennessee State University, which could well appeal the decision in the courts.