Noonan spends day hosting ‘sidewalk retirement party’

by Evan Sporer / Beacon Staff • December 15, 2011

One day after George Noonan was fired from Emerson College, the former director of public safety was back on Boylston Street—where he patrolled the college’s campus for years—hosting what he described as his retirement party.

“Since they took away my retirement party, this is my ex-chief sidewalk retirement party. That’s what I’m putting it out as,” said Noonan. “It’s been nice. A lot of people out, it was really, really busy this morning. I’m enjoying the heck out of the whole thing,”

In an email to the student body at 12:55 p.m. yesterday, Vice President of Public Affairs Andrew Tiedemann stated Noonan had been terminated and Scott Bornstein, deputy director of public safety, would take over the position.

Noonan said he cannot disclose the reason for his termination at this time, as he plans to take Emerson College to court.

Courtney Swift, a junior broadcast journalism major, said when she was exiting the Little Building this morning at approximately 9:45 a.m., she noticed Noonan.

“I remember seeing [him] there and thinking, ‘Why are you here?’” said Swift.

Swift, who is a resident assistant, was with a number of other RA’s who stopped to talk to Noonan. Swift said that Noonan seemed upset, and described his termination to the group of students as “purely administrative.”

Noonan said he planned to stay on Boylston Street, where he expected to be greeted by many students, until 3:30 p.m.

The 65 year-old has been an orientation week staple during his time at the college, appealing to students with his serious, but endearing demeanor.

“I do the song and dance and tell everybody how to be safe, but I try to be entertaining at the same time,” said Noonan. “So every single student here has seen me there and I’ve always done a lot for the students. I mean, that’s what we’re here for.”

Swift, who met Noonan last fall at a lunch held for RA’s and the Emerson Police Department staff, recalled her first encounter with Noonan.

“He gave out his phone number to the whole table,” said Swift, who sat with Noonan that day. “And he said if we were ever in any trouble to call him. He seems like he had the students best interest as a focus.”

Noonan said the only drinks he would be serving at his retirement party would be the rain, as he welcomed any and all students to come say their goodbyes or speak with him.

And according to Swift, Noonan was actively looking for party guests.

“He asked if any of us were Tweeters,” said Swift. “And he said, ‘I’ll be between 150 [Boylston]’, and then he motioned towards [the Ansin Building].”

Heidi Moeller, Beacon Staff, contributed reporting.