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Preparations for Saturday’s downtown protest rallies

Update Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017

To the University community,

We have received word from the City of Murfreesboro that the organizers of the protest planned for the downtown square this afternoon decided to cancel. As of 4:15 p.m., the remaining protesters and counter-protesters assembled were leaving the square. Fortunately, no related activities occurred on our campus.

We will continue to monitor the campus closely. However, assuming all remains well, this note will be the last I will send on this matter until next week. We owe our thanks for the proactive work done by our city and county leadership, campus officials, and law enforcement, which I feel made a difference in the outcome of today’s events.

Sincerely,

Sidney A. McPhee

President

 


 

Update Friday, Oct. 27, 2017

To the University community,

A quick update: It’s just before 10 p.m. Friday and it is quiet on the beautiful campus of Middle Tennessee State University. There were no protests.

My thanks to the dedicated officers of the MTSU Police Department, who provided safety and security for our students, faculty and staff. My deepest appreciation for the assistance from the fine officers of Austin Peay State University, Tennessee Tech University,  and Tennessee State University; the Murfreesboro, LaVergne and Cookeville police departments; and deputies from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

The largest gathering on campus tonight was at the Student Union Building for the Fall Festival, sponsored by our Student Programming and Raider Entertainment. I had an opportunity not only to chat with our students, but also enjoy music from student performers, visit the craft and game tables, and walk through the haunted house.

My thanks to all for showing the world what it means to remain True Blue.

Sincerely,

Sidney A. McPhee

President

 


 

Update Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

To the University community,

The City of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County issued a statement that says both protesters and counter protesters, as groups and individuals, are expected to assemble on the downtown Murfreesboro square between 1:30 p.m to 4 p.m. Saturday. You can read the full statement by clicking here. ​​MTSU has not received verified reports of any related activities set for campus on either Friday or Saturday. Nevertheless, we are aware, and are closely monitoring, social media comments and posts that have referenced our campus. As such, we want to put forward information that states clearly our expectations of conduct and behavior:

— The MTSU Police Department, and all law enforcement agencies acting in concert with our officers on our campus, will take immediate law enforcement action at the slightest indication of disruption or violence. We will do so to uphold the rights of citizens and ensure their safety.

— Any student, visitor or guest found to be in violation of laws related to weapons, or MTSU’s policy on weapons,which you can read by clicking here, may be subject to immediate law enforcement action.

— Any student, visitors or guest found to be in violation of MTSU’s safety policy on open flames, which you can read by clicking here, may be subject to immediate law enforcement action. The policy prohibits the unauthorized possession, ignition, or detonation of any object or article that would cause damage by fire or other means to persons or property.

— Any student, visitor or guest found to be in violation of Tennessee state law against civil rights intimidation, under statute 39-17-309, which you can read by clicking here, may be subject to immediate law enforcement action. The law defines as civil rights intimidation when anyone injures, threatens to injure, or coerce another with the intent to unlawfully intimidate another from the exercise of their constitutionalrights. The statute also includes any action to damage, destroy or deface any real or personal property.

The University remains open Friday. However, we are closing all parking on Military Memorial (behind McCallie Dining Hall and Forrest Hall) and in the Jones parking lot after 4:30 p.m. today. No one will be able to park in these locations Friday and any vehicles there after 2:30 p.m. Friday will be towed. In the interest of reducing tension and avoiding conflicts, the City and County are strongly encouraging community members to avoid the downtown square on Saturday. I concur with this recommendation.

You can read my previous notes about this weekend by clicking here. The groups initiating Saturday’s rally do not reflect the values of our University and we are heartsick that so many of our plans and activities set on campus have been disrupted out of an abundance of caution. Nevertheless, we share the commitment by our partners and friends in the City and the County governments both to the Constitution and to ensuring the safety of our community.

I urge us all to remain True Blue.

Sincerely,

Sidney A. McPhee

President

 


 

Update Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017

To the University community,

I wanted to provide you with an update regarding Saturday’s planned protest rally in Murfreesboro. In consultation with law enforcement officials, the University has decided to cancel Saturday’s Contest of Champions band competition and postpone the Expanding Your Horizons science event due to the protests scheduled or planned for the downtown area. We decided it was wise to reduce traffic to the surrounding area Saturday and these decisions will allow our police and other security personnel to be available elsewhere on campus if needed.

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. 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. Meanwhile, we are also reaching out to sponsors of on-campus activities on Friday and Saturday to ensure they are aware of the situation.

As I said in my earlier note, please do not hesitate to call 615-898-2424 (Ext. 2424 for on campus phones) if you need assistance or see anything that causes concern for your safety — or 911 in emergencies. Also, if you’re not already receiving text alerts and/or voice alerts from our MTSU Alert4U and Emergency Response system, please consider signing up for the service by visiting http://www.getrave.com/login/mtsu. You can log in with your Pipeline credentials to change or update your notification preferences. MTSU residence halls and apartments will lock at 5 p.m. Friday and will remain locked until 8 a.m. Monday. Residents should plan to carry their keys and IDs.

Again, we all must remember what it means to be True Blue and conduct ourselves accordingly.

Sincerely,

Sidney A. McPhee

President


Update Monday, Oct. 23, 2017

To the University community,

As we approach Saturday (Oct. 28), the day when outside groups plan to hold protest rallies in the region and our city, I want to assure our students, faculty, staff and alumni that the MTSU Police Department and our partners in law enforcement agencies in the city, county and state are prepared and will continue to keep our campus safe. While we are not aware of any plans for associated activities on our campus, we remain vigilant.

Local authorities have advised downtown merchants to close Saturday and the morning Farmers Market on the square has been cancelled as result of the planned rallies. Officials are strongly advising citizens to avoid the downtown area on that day. It is also anticipated that regular traffic routes will be disrupted as well. Students seeking services from that area should consider going before or after Saturday in order to avoid delays or difficulties.

Please do not hesitate to call 615-898-2424 (Ext. 2424 for on campus phones) if you need assistance or see anything that causes concern for your safety – or call 911 in emergencies. Also, if you’re not already receiving text alerts and/or voice alerts from our MTSU Alert4U and Emergency Response system, please consider signing up for the service by visiting http://www.getrave.com/login/mtsu. You can log in with your Pipeline credentials to change or update your notification preferences. MTSU residence halls and apartments will lock as usual on Friday night and will remain locked until Monday morning. Residents should plan to carry their keys and IDs.

While we detest actions and behaviors that are contrary to our True Blue values (you can read about our values here), we also respect the First Amendment, which allows the freedom to express all views – even those that may be repugnant to what many of us hold dear.

I do ask that each of us remember what it means to be True Blue and conduct ourselves accordingly.

Sincerely,

Sidney A. McPhee

President

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