Macalester offers to relocate students, employees as protests continue

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Wallace Hall at Macalester. Photo by Abe Asher '20.

Abe Asher, Managing Editor

Macalester is offering to relocate its students and employees away from their residences in the Twin Cities for at least Saturday night as protests continue to rage following the murder of George Floyd.

“We are aware that some of our employees live in areas where they feel unsafe due to the social unrest currently ongoing in the Twin Cities,” Vice President of Administration and Finance David Wheaton wrote in an email to faculty and staff just past noon on Friday. 

“We want all of you to be safe,” he continued. “The college will make temporary housing arrangements available in a local hotel, free of charge, to any employees and their families who feel unsafe in their homes.”

Several hours later, students received a similar email from Dean of Students DeMethra Bradley, who directed students to call Macalester Public Safety if they would like to be relocated.

Faculty and staff who wish to be relocated are being encouraged to make arrangements with two hotels in Burnsville, a Minneapolis suburb located south of Bloomington. 

In an email to The Mac Weekly, Wheaton wrote that the hotels in Burnsville were selected because they lie close to the intersection of I-35E and I-35W, making them relatively easy to reach from both Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

If employees would rather move to a hotel in a different location, they have the option to do so and will be reimbursed by the college. 

According to Wheaton, no student or employee expressed any concern about their personal safety to the college. Instead, he and his colleagues decided to make their unprecedented offer proactively. 

“The idea was entirely spontaneous, suggested in a senior staff email thread this morning after last night’s continuing disturbances,” Wheaton wrote. “It was simply a gesture to the members of our community who might be affected by this evolving situation.” 

Wheaton wrote that the relocation is “intended to be a short term measure,” and that the college will reevaluate on Sunday. 

“We’re hoping that it won’t be necessary for more than one night,” he wrote.  

At this time, Macalester has no plans to board any college buildings, even as businesses on the commercial stretch of Grand Ave. just past Macalester Street have all boarded their windows to protect against property damage.

The Mac Weekly will have more reporting as this story develops. 

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