MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Out of an abundance of caution and the safety of students, the president of Middle Tennessee State University has decided to lock down residence halls on campus all weekend.
This in response to the White Lives Matter rally scheduled to take place in downtown Murfreesboro on Saturday.
It’s not unusual for dorms on campus to lock the doors on weekends starting at 11 p.m. Friday nights. Students have to use their student ID, which serves as a key card and swipe to enter the building.
But come this Friday, the lockdown will begin a lot earlier.
On the campus of MTSU, students were alerted Thursday evening that residence halls on campus will lock from 5 p.m. Friday evening to 6 a.m. Monday morning.RELATED: City of Murfreesboro releases plans for white nationalist rally
“In my first class today, there were a lot of people wondering why was he doing that and concerned about the campus and whether or not they would feel safe,” said student Josh Overton.
The MTSU campus is roughly two miles from downtown Murfreesboro where the White Lives Matter assembly is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
“It makes me feel safe and it provides a safety for people on campus who are not from this area,” student Devin P. Grimes told News 2.
University President Dr. Sidney McPhee didn’t want to take any chances. He wrote an email to the campus community, which reads in part, “The MTSU Police Department and our partners from city, county and state law enforcement have not received any verified information regarding any potential activities on campus related to the protests.”
Dr. McPhee continued, “However, as the downtown rally approaches, we are monitoring a variety of sources, including from social media, about potential concerns before, during and after Saturday and we are ready to respond if situations warrant.”Click here to read the FULL LETTER.
Student Samantha Goldmann thinks you can never be too careful these days, especially with everything that happened in Ferguson, Missouri.
“… And he’s trying to look out for the better interest of the community,” said Goldmann. “But I think it’s important that the community also doesn’t try and fire back against the protesters just let them do their thing, leave, because if you feed into it it’s just going to give them power.”
Since MTSU is a public university with an open campus, students will not be forced to stay inside for three straight days. They, as well as visitors, will still be able to come and go as they please.
“I think it’s divided 50/50, like a lot of students are planning to go downtown and a lot of students are planning to stay inside,” student Kendrick Williams said. “My advice to students who are going downtown go in groups, don’t be by yourself, stay protected, stay safe. Don’t do anything that could upset our peers or the people around you.”
President McPhee also cancelled the Contest of Champions band competition and postponed the Expanding Your Horizons science event; both were scheduled for Saturday on campus.
The band competition brings in about 3,300 students from all over Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.MORE: Events canceled, roads closed due to white nationalist rallies Saturday