Middle Tennessee State University officials canceled the Contest of Champions ahead of a White Lives Matter rally in Murfreesboro.
According to MTSU Police officials, a possible torch rally is in the works for Friday at Forrest Hall on campus - one day before the rally to be held in the square.
A second rally was also set on the same day in Shelbyville.
MTSU President, Sidney McPhee, sent the following letter to the university community in light of the march and rally:
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[getrave.com]. 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.
Sidney A. McPhee
A torch rally was held at the University of Virginia the Friday before a white supremacist demonstration turned deadly in Charlottesville.
MTSU said the rally is not a university-sanctioned event.