The college invited community members to an upcoming meet and greet with representatives of the two new security companies on campus, WesCon Protective Services and Northeast Security.
Emerson College Police Department, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Student Government Association will host the event on Sept. 25 in Center Stage from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The new businesses replaced Securitas, the college’s security company of 13 years, in July.
ECPD Chief Robert Smith said the change stemmed from a desire to hire locally based operations that reflected the college’s commitment to social justice.
“If we get locally based companies, if any issue arises where we really wanted to discuss [it] with the person that owns the company we can talk to them face to face,” Smith said.
WesCon is a minority-owned company, and Northeast aligns with the Service Employees International Union, an organization for the rights of workers. SEIU includes a branch of Emerson staff members.
“We wanted companies who understood that we weren’t just looking for people to watch the front desk but also serve as a member of our community and help our students when they need assistance,” Smith said. “Our security team is a critical piece of campus.”
Smith said colleges and universities usually hire multiple security companies. Emerson has not done so before.
WesCon services the Ansin Building and the Union Bank Building. It will also work The Commons at 172 Tremont St. when it opens in spring 2019. Northeast covers all other campus buildings. Smith said they did not assign the buildings this way in the contract negotiation for any particular reason
Former employees of Securitas could apply for positions with the new companies. Smith said most of the people who applied received jobs, but he did not provide an exact statistic.
The college formed the Security Services Vendor Selection Committee with students and staff members from the Social Justice Center, Campus Life, and Academic Affairs in January. After accepting applications from about 13 security companies, holding Q&A sessions with applicants, and conducting campus tours with each of them, the college settled with WesCon and Northeast.
Erik Muurisepp, associate dean for campus life and member of the selection board, said the college wanted companies that fit in with the community.
“As an institution, we are always trying to make sure that we’re committed to diversity and inclusion and socially just practices,” he said. “We want to make sure that a security firm could understand that and also embody that.”