MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – You don’t often see a funeral taking place right in the middle of a college campus, but students at Middle Tennessee State University are hoping to get the name of Forrest Hall changed held a mock burial.
At high noon, a group of about 40 people prepared for a funeral of sorts.
“Today, we’re having a burial for Nathan Bedford Forrest,” explained student Dalton Winfree.
The participants said they are hoping to put the issue to rest with the burial.
“We’re out here to push them to make a decision faster and to make the decision in our favor,” said student Lauren Shuler.
The group marched across campus, their voices ringing out, chanting, “Black Lives Matter” “This is What Democracy Looks Like” and Change that Name.”
They carried the coffin to its final resting place; the building that bears the name of Forrest, a Confederate General and the first Grand Wizard of the KKK.
“We think it’s a striking visual. It’s 2015 and it’s time to bury him,” Shuler said.
A task force committee made up of a wide variety of people has been appointed to study whether or not the name should be changed.
The committee has until April to make a recommendation.
“We want it done now; we don’t think we need to wait any longer,” student Joshua Crutchfield said. “We don’t think racism should be debated at this point.”
The group said they’re not here to rewrite history, but they do want this corrected.
“We hope this burial will show that there is only one way to right this wrong,” Winfree said.
MTSU President Dr. Sidney McPhee looked on not wanting to disturb the demonstration.
“I have no plans to change the deadline at this point,” McPhee said. “I’m open to a deliberative and transparent process. There are different voices with regards to this issue so it’s not a simply issue; there are other students who feel strongly as the student on the other side.”
The group said they are in it for the long haul, and won’t give up until the name is changed.
MTSU officials said after the committee makes its recommendation to Dr. McPhee, he will review it.
If he approves a recommendation to change the name, it will be forward to the Tennessee Board of Regents.
The name change could however, ultimately require legislative approval.
The task force will meet in early December.