Emerson College faculty overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday calling on president Lee Pelton and Emerson’s board of directors to reconsider a proposed plan that would transform the historic Colonial Theatre into a flexible dining hall/performance space.
The resolution states, in part, that the “plans were developed without sufficient input from faculty, students, alumni and other city, regional and national stakeholders,” and it calls “on the administration of Emerson College and its Board of Trustees to pursue alternative plans for a dining hall and the restoration or reconstruction of the Colonial [Theatre] in concert with faculty and other stakeholders.”
The resolution passed by a vote of 84 to 12, with eight abstentions, according to Robert Colby, chair of the faculty assembly, who said it followed a presentation of the plan in question by Pelton to the assembly.
“That speaks to me to the widespread faculty concern that this is the wrong choice for the college,” said Colby, a performing arts professor at Emerson. Colby added that copies of the resolution would be sent to Pelton and the board and that he and four of his colleagues would present their concerns to Emerson’s board on Wednesday.
Andy Tiedemann, Emerson’s vice president for communications, said the board would not be voting on any plan for the Colonial this week. He also issued a statement that read, in part: “The Board of Trustees is grateful for the faculty’s perspective on the future [of] the Colonial as the College continues its thoughtful and deliberate process to develop a number of options. No final decisions have been made and the College will continue to engage Emerson faculty and students, the City and various stakeholders in a community engagement process.”