Pub. Safety aids celebrity, politician campus visits

by Beacon Staff • April 9, 2008

"It is very exciting and sometimes you can go home and tell your family who you met that day," Bornstein said.,As Emerson's leadership in the arts and communication grows, more public figures are attracted to the campus' facilities. And that's just fine with Scott Bornstein, deputy chief of public safety.

"It is very exciting and sometimes you can go home and tell your family who you met that day," Bornstein said. "It is great to be on duty when politicians or celebrities are here."

Sen. Edward Kennedy is on campus regularly using the school's film equipment, and State Sen. Marc Pacheco discussed global warming with students in the Greene Theatre last week.

Kennedy uses the journalism lab on the sixth floor of the Walker Building to film his monthly television program "Capital Perspective," and public service announcements that focus on issues in Massachusetts.

Chief George Noonan, Director of the Department of Public Safety, said celebrities and politicians are offered Emerson police officers as escorts around campus.

"We always help as best we can as a courtesy," Noonan said. "We are not always providing security but more of a convenience to make it a nice visit."

Kennedy works with the Television, Radio and Film Department to shoot and edit his productions.

According to Lance Kyed, Director of TRF productions, Kennedy has filmed about 24 broadcasts in the past four years, aired on 220 cable access stations across the state.

"I think this involvement is great and gives Emerson the chance to work on something very valuable," Kyed said. "It is great that the department gets to help out with the public service announcement."

In addition to providing a wide range of media services, the college also offers security details when needed for visiting dignitaries.

Emerson public safety bases the level of security depending on the respective individual's preference.

"There are so many variables involved when dignities come to campus," Bornstein said. "It depends on the circumstance but we always try and support their needs."

Bornstein said the details of security measures taken to accomodate important visitors could not be disclosed.

Facilities and safety are not the only resources the VIPs use when on campus.

Students have also become a valued resource for politicians like Kennedy, whose production staff is mostly Emerson students.

Undergraduates operate cameras, give technical direction, aid editing video, perform audio engineering and operate the teleprompter, Kyed said.

"With the exception of some of Kennedy's staff, Emerson students are working on the rest of the production," he said. "Participating in the show gives students the chance to work with experienced people in the field."

Radio major Sabrina Rufo said she worked with Kennedy last spring semester, directing three of his productions.

"It was a huge honor working on the show and I really enjoyed the content," the senior said. "This adds exceptional appeal of Emerson because interesting people are coming here and adding to the professional environment."

In addition to the senators, director Martin Scorsese used Emerson-owned editing equipment during the filming of Oscar award-winner The Departed.

Alicia Silverstone, Jason Biggs, John Ritter, Henry Winkler and Denis Leary have also spoken at Emerson or used the performance areas.

"The people choosing to come here has put us on the map," Bornstein said. "That is the great thing about Emerson and it is not the case for other colleges."

Bornstein said he thought the biggest big-wig to grace Emerson's campus was 2004 presidential candidate and Sen. John Kerry, speaker at the 2006 commencement ceremony.

"He was in the mainstream media at the time because of his Senator status and after his campaign for presidency," Bornstein said. "He required higher security than just Emerson police officers and had a detailed exit and entry plan."

Mayor Menino has also made appearances at Emerson, including making his state of the city address five years ago in the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

"It is an honor that people are coming to use our facilities and adds to the professionalism on campus," Rufo said. "It is putting the school in a positive spotlight."