Forrest Hall Task Force meets for first deliberation, discusses name change


The Forrest Hall Task Force met on Thursday night to discuss the potential name change of MTSU’s ROTC building.

This was the first deliberation meeting of the committee following the three open forums held for community input since November.

Chairman Derek Frisby asked the committee to avoid debating “good Forrest vs. bad Forrest,” and to focus on making one of three recommendations: to keep, change or contextualize the name.

Members of the committee quickly began discussing contextualization as a happy medium, suggesting that a plaque or exhibit be added to the building to add historical perspective to the name.

Faculty senate president Tricia Farwell disagreed, questioning the effectiveness.

“How many people would actually stop and read the little plaque,” Farwell asked, suggesting that contextualization would not be effective. “We have students who feel the need to walk the other way and as a faculty member, that breaks my heart.”

Alumni representative Tony Beard agreed with Farwell, suggesting it be a student vote.

“[Alumni] aren’t students here anymore; it’s not our building,” Beard said. “The decision needs to reflect the current students, the future leaders of the community.”

Frisby disagreed, saying a student vote was impractical because of the “extraordinary apathy” on campus about the issue. He then added his opinion on the recommendation.

“I said I wasn’t going to give my personal opinion, but I don’t think saying that we want to change the name so that we can dishonor Forrest is going to pass the [Tennessee Historical Commission],” Forrest said. “So I think we should suggest a name change to honor someone who has epitomized what it mean to be a Blue Raider.”

Frisby detailed Joe Nunley’s involvement on campus and in the military, suggesting the name be changed to Nunley Hall. There was no immediate opposition to Frisby’s suggestion, though community member David Ogg suggested the name be changed simply to ROTC Hall.

“We already have the R, the O and the T,” Ogg joked.

The discussion shifted drastically from whether to rename the hall, towards what to rename the hall after Frisby’s suggestion until Senator Bill Ketron disagreed.

“If you take down the name you’re destroying history,” Ketron said after refuting audience claims that he is a bigot. “My vote is we keep the name.”

History professor Mark Doyle disagreed with Ketron, highlighting the importance of interpreting history.

“As an institution, we have the right to reevaluate who we honor as we grow and change…we’ve changed a lot as a university since Forrest Hall was named,” Doyle said. “The idea is definitely not to rewrite history. [The history department] as 36 history professionals, decided unanimously to write that letter, recommending a name change.”

The meeting lasted over two hours, and ended with two of the ten audience members waling out, calling Ketron a bigot.

The committee will meet again at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday before they make their final recommendation to MTSU President McPhee,

For live Forrest Hall updates, follow Sarah Grace Taylor

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To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com

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1 Comment

  1. Rob Mitchell
    April 15, 2016
    Reply

    Part of a complete education is teaching young adults how to properly conduct themselves and how to properly discuss differences. Additionally their conduct has placed them in direct violation of the public conduct articles of the Board of Regents. I request immediate and appropriate actions against up to and including suspension or expulsion. The individuals publicly slandered our sitting State Senator, Bill Ketron. They accused our University President, of being only interested in doing what the donors want and of being “for sale”.

    The protesters are not exhibiting behavior which portrays our university in a positive light. Their actions are orchestrated with the intent to disrupt and intimidate. This should not be permitted to continue. Perhaps a reminder of their educational contract may be in order?

    Below are the sections of the Tennessee Board of Regents Disciplinary Rules which these behaviors have violated and each student agrees to abide by when they requested admittance to our university:

    “Institutions are pre-authorized to implement any or all of the disciplinary offenses, in the form set forth immediately below, without need for prior review or approval:

    1.Threatening or Disruptive Conduct. Any conduct, or attempted conduct, which poses a threat to the safety of others or where the student’s behavior is disruptive of the institution’s learning environment.
    2.Disorderly Conduct. Any individual or group behavior which is abusive, obscene, lewd, indecent, violent, excessively noisy, disorderly, or which unreasonably disturbs institutional functions, operations, classrooms, other groups or individuals;
    3.Obstruction of or Interference with institutional activities or facilities. Any intentional interference with or obstruction of any institutional, program, event, or facility including the following:
    1.Any unauthorized occupancy of facilities owned or controlled by an institution or blockage of access to or from such facilities,
    2.Interference with the right of any institution member or other authorized person to gain access to any activity, program, event or facilities sponsored or controlled by an institution,
    3.Any obstruction or delay of a campus security officer, public safety officer, police officer, firefighter, EMT, or any official of an institution, or failure to comply with any emergency directive issued by such person in the performance of his or her duty;
    4.Failure to Cooperate with Institutional Officials. Failure to comply with directions of institutional officials acting in the performance of their duties;
    5.Attempts, Aiding and Abetting. Any attempt to commit any of the offenses listed under this section or the aiding or abetting of the commission of any of the offenses listed under this section (an attempt to commit an offense is defined as the intention to commit the offense coupled with the taking of some action toward its commission). Being present during the planning or commission of any offense listed under this section will be considered as aiding and abetting. Students who anticipate or observe an offense must remove themselves from the situation and are required to report the offense to the institution;”

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