Citing 'Safety Reasons,' Emerson Gets Panel Featuring Sen. Jeff Flake Relocated

For "safety reasons," a scheduled appearance of Sen. Jeff Flake at the Colonial Theatre in Boston Monday has been relocated at the request of Emerson College, the liberal arts school announced in a statement late Friday evening.

The Arizona Republican dominated headlines Friday. As the lone swing vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he voted along party lines to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to a Senate floor vote — while also asking for an FBI investigation into the allegations of sexual assault the federal judge faces. He asked that the FBI inquiry delay the full Senate vote for no longer than a week. Ranking Republicans in the Senate, as well as President Trump, agreed to Flake's proposal Friday afternoon.

Monday's panel, which also features Ohio Gov. John Kasich and is part of a Forbes 30 Under 30 event, has been relocated to "a more secure location in Boston," Emerson College President Lee Pelton said in the statement. He told WBUR that once the college got wind that people planned to protest Flake's event, Emerson officials decided to ask the event be moved out of the Colonial Theatre, which it owns.

"It appeared that a thousand or more people had expressed some interest [in protesting]," Pelton said. "... This nomination process has captured the attention of a divided nation, and I think it would be unreasonable and really fool-hearty to think that this protest would be anything other than a very large protest."

Forbes said in a statement at 7:30 p.m. that it was still "in the process" of moving the panel to Boston City Hall Plaza.

"This was not a speech issue. This was a safety issue," Pelton said, adding that the school "has always been encouraging of different points of views and political affiliations. We welcome all of those different perspectives to our campus."

Before the Senate panel's vote Friday, CNN live video of two women confronting Flake as he tried to depart in an elevator went viral. The women — who both said they were survivors of sexual assault — strongly criticized Flake's anticipated vote to approve of Kavanaugh's nomination a day after one of his accusers delivered emotional testimony before the committee.

This article was originally published on September 28, 2018.


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