Many voices bounced off the mural-painted walls in the Church of the Advocate on Jan. 28. Those voices—comprised of students, alumni and faculty—were united in discussion about the consequences and effects of one of the most important decisions the university currently faces: the possibility of building a stadium near Main Campus.
The organization that led the group, “Stadium Stompers,” gathered approximately 50 people at 1801 Diamond St. to discuss possible ways to make a statement in response to the Board of Trustees’ ongoing talks about a proposed on-campus stadium, and to explain why it shouldn’t be built.
Community members at the meeting planned different ideas for protest outside of the Student Center Monday, preceding Temple Student Government’s student forum.
Members received petitions calling against a new stadium to be returned at the next “Stadium Stompers” meeting on Feb. 11.
Stadium Stompers leader and 2015 alumnus Pele Irgangladen told The Temple News there was no formal invitation sent to Temple’s administration or Board of Trustees to attend Thursday’s meeting, but there were requests to TSG to circulate the information about the meeting.
Meeting attendees addressed several issues a possible stadium could create, including parking, noise and tailgating. They argued these factors would be disruptive to community life.
Irgangladen said the decision against a stadium would not fix all of the problems in the relationship between Temple administration, but it would be a step in the right direction.
“A stadium is a symbol of Temple saying, ‘We can do whatever we want and we don’t really care about the consequences,” he said.
Some community members stated during the breakout session they were worried they could lose their homes to eminent domain.
Charlotte Savage, the block captain of Page Street between Norris and Diamond streets, said her taxes this past year more than doubled this year, and believes it is due to Temple’s recent growth west of Broad Street.
“The history on my block is that my neighbors have been on my block, some of them 40, 50 years,” Savage said. “I have two retired school teachers, and a lot of senior citizens on fixed income, pensions. Where’s the money supposed to come from with that kind of increase?”
Savage added recent foreclosures have occurred on her block, and her home was vandalized by a student in the past. She said cups are frequently littered on her block after parties.
She described evenings after concerts or events are held at the Liacouras center as “hell” and expressed concern for what nightlife would be like if there were a stadium built.
Anthropology professor Wende Marshall attended the meeting on Thursday and helped lead parts of it.
“I think Temple is a malevolent force in the community and I’m really excited to see that community members are fighting back,” Marshall said. “The community members should have a right to determine what their neighborhood looks like and not be swallowed up by Temple.”
“Temple’s not being straightforward with the community,” Savage said. “[As community members], we’d like to be heard. We’d like to be more involved and I think we have that right to be involved. It’s almost like Temple thinks we don’t exist.”
“Will we win? All I can do is pray about it and be active in it.”
Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gill_mcgoldrick
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