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Building Named After Civil War Hero With Possible KKK Connections Draws Controversy


After 205 members of the Middle Tennessee State University community signed a petition to change the name of the school’s Forrest Hall, the Student Government Association agreed.

Now students are launching a counter-petition aimed at keeping Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s name on the military science building.

Forrest was a native of Chapel Hill, Tenn. and believed by many to have been the best cavalry general of the Civil War. But many also think he helped found the Ku Klux Klan.

The new petition states that Forrest’s involvement in the creation of the Ku Klux Klan is unclear.

“Some reports suggest his involvement was critical, while still others note he was not involved at all,” it reads.

MTSU sophomore Matthew Hurtt, one of the organizers of the petition drive to keep the name, says people were upset by the student government’s action.

“We thought that 205 signatures was not a significant representation of the MTSU community,” he says. “If so many people are disgruntled about this, we thought we could do a counter-drive.”

Student Senator Steve Disser, who wrote the motion calling for the name change, says he respects the right of dissenting students to circulate the counter-petitions.

“Any student can bring a petition with 50 names and present that to the Senate,” he says. “I just hope that at the end, the general feeling of the entire student body is represented in whatever decision is made.”

— Associated Press

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