By SCOTT BRODEN
MTSU’s Student Government Association voted Thursday to rescind an earlier resolution that asked the university to consider renaming Forrest Hall.
The issue arose when student Amber Perkins presented a petition to the SGA with 205 names requesting to rename the building, named after controversial Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.
The vote to rescind came after student Matthew Hurtt presented a list with 1,350 names on it, said Gretchen Jenkins, the student senator who sponsored the vote to rescind the previous decision.
“When we first voted on it, I voted against changing the name because I didn’t think we should make a haste decision,” said Jenkins, a junior political science major. “People were making it out to be race issue, which it’s not at all. I think it’s a matter of history and people not understanding history.”
She hopes the university can hold symposiums about Forrest to better inform the students about Forrest’s place in history.
“He was not the grand wizard of the KKK that everyone makes him out to be,” Jenkins said. “People don’t understand that you can change the name of a building, but it’s not going to change history and it’s not going to change what happened.”
A meeting is scheduled for today between students, SGA and MTSU administrators to develop a campus-wide forum for debate on the issue.
Student Government Association Attorney General Lora Hortert said she’s excited that MTSU is having a debate about this issue on campus.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to learn more about history,” said Hortert, a junior political science major. “Student government is here to represent all students, and it’s great that both sides have gotten so involved.”