Emerson to house staff member on campus as part of election day precautions

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Photo: Domenic Conte

Boarding on the Paramount theatre.

By Maximo Aguilar Lawlor, Multimedia Managing Editor

Additional college staff members may stay in the Colonial Building this week to provide support to residential staff in the event civil unrest follows the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

At least one staff member will spend the night in a vacant apartment above Colonial on Tuesday. Six staff members from Campus Life and Student Affairs volunteered to stay on campus in the nights to come. The staff apartments, traditionally reserved for Office of the Arts staff, are not attached to the student dormitory portion of the building. 

“We plan for one a night,” Vice President for Campus Life Jim Hoppe said in an interview. “But we can adjust that up or down if needed. If there’s not a need for it, then we won’t have somebody stay.”

Administrators had not decided which staff member will be staying on campus Tuesday night as of publication, Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp said.

“We do have a plan in the interest of providing support for our community and for our campus to have staff remain on campus in spaces we have identified,” Muurisepp said. “We’ve scheduled out one per night, and we will increase that [number] should we need that.”

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Campus buildings will be restricted to tap-access from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday, President M. Lee Pelton wrote in an email Tuesday. All in-person Flex classes will also shift to all online from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 10 p.m. Wednesday. Multiple campus buildings’  windows have been boarded up as a precaution. 

Muurisepp said administration came to the decision to house someone on campus to provide immediate assistance if needed.

“The [residence assistants] have their role, the [resident director] on duty has their role, the admin on call have their roles, so it’s not to take over for any of them,” Muurisepp said. “Should something happen quickly, one of us should stay on-campus just in case.”

Due to the location of Emerson’s campus in bustling downtown Boston, Muurisepp said he and fellow administrators are prioritizing the well-being of students, faculty, and administrators. 

“We always keep in mind the safety of our community,” Muurisepp said. “You step foot outside of our buildings, and you’re in the Boston community. We don’t know of any specific concerns or worries, but we obviously want to be prepared.”