The college canceled Senator Jeff Flake’s appearance at the Colonial Theatre Monday for Forbes 30 Under 30 event citing safety concerns surrounding a potential protest, according to President M. Lee Pelton.
The student-led protest is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 1. Senior Erin Swauger began organizing the rally on Friday over Facebook at 2 p.m., and by 8 p.m more than 1,000 people listed themselves as interested in attending. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, Boston Socialist Alternative, and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts contacted Swauger to help organize the demonstration.
“The Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit panel discussion with Senator Jeff Flake and Governor John Kasich has been canceled,” Pelton said in a statement. “Emerson is grateful for the support of the Ambassador Theatre Group in this decision.”
In a statement on Twitter, Matthew Hutchinson of Forbes Media said pending scheduling, the panel with Flake will be moved to a larger and more secure location at the Under 30 Village located in City Hall Plaza.
Flake was scheduled to speak at a panel on Monday at 11:30 a.m. called the “Future of the Republican Party,” according to the event agenda. Pelton said the event with Flake and Kasich was unlikely to occur due to safety issues surrounding a potential student-led protest.
“It is highly unlikely that the event with Senator Flake and Governor Kasich will occur in the Colonial because it’s a safety issue,” Pelton said in an interview. “My principal job is to make sure our students are safe.”
Pelton said the college found out on Friday that Forbes invited Flake to speak on a panel at the 30 Under 30 Summit in the Colonial Theatre. In a statement, Pelton said the company that manages Colonial Theatre, Ambassador Theatre Group, rented the space to Forbes, who in turn invited Flake to their event.
“We are seeking to exercise our right as the owners of the Colonial to have the panel canceled for safety reasons,” Pelton said in the statement.
Senator Flake of Arizona voted to approve Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday. Flake announced he would vote against Kavanaugh’s nomination if the White House did not agree to an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations into the sexual assault allegations.
President Trump acknowledged a Senate request for an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s background on Friday, including an examination into the sexual assault allegations made against him.
Riane Roldan, Shafaq Patel, and Dylan Rossiter contributed reporting to this article.