Parents and alumni supporting the T7 Council – the name of the group organized against Temple’s recent athletic cuts – were unable to attend a Jan. 23 meeting of the Board of Trustees’ budget and finance committee since it only met in executive session, which is closed to the public.
The budget and finance committee occassionally meets jointly with the executive committe, but the two were scheduled to meet separately last Thursday. George Moore, Secretary to the Board of Trustees, said in an email that the meeting of the executive committee was rescheduled to Feb. 5, since the Chairman Patrick J. O’Connor was “out of town.”
The leaders of the “Save Temple Athletics” Facebook group, which has nearly 5,000 members, had posted statuses urging members to demand a meeting with the board on Jan. 23. The Twitter account @SaveTemple7 urged the Board of Trustees to meet with the T7 on that date via the group account’s description box.
In October 1970, amid accusations that it lacked transparency after a sudden tuition increase, the board began to allow student and faculty representatives at general meetings, which are typically held each semester, provided that these representatives did not attend each meeting and there was a “rotation” of representatives.
Public sessions of the Board of Trustees’ general body typically are held following a round
of committee meetings, including the executive session, which remains closed as part of the 1970 agreement.
Public sessions of the Board of Trustees’ general body typically are held following a round of committee meetings. Votes on issues at public sessions are typically unanimous, and deliberations are held within the committees, including the executive.
“Approval of faculty and student representation at board meetings in no way limits the right of the Board of Trustees to hold executive sessions,” according to the minutes from Oct. 13, 1970.
Moore said that the matters discussed at executive sessions are announced during the committee’s next public session. He offered an example of an announcement: “The committee met in executive session on [a date] regarding a personnel matter.”
Members of the T7 like Susan Borschel, a lawyer from northern Virginia whose daughter Sylvie is on the women’s gymnastics team, said she was frustrated by the fact that the meeting would have been closed if it had been held.
“To the extent that it covered anything at all about those [cut] athletic teams, it should have been open,” Borschel said. “And anyone who wanted to come that was tied to Temple should have been allowed there.”
“I can’t think of any society or government that works well when the people that take in the money and control it and make decisions with it are doing it all in secret,” she added.
The members of the group will have another chance to voice their opinions at a special meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28,in the Liacouras Center. President Theobald invited the coaches and two athletes from each of the cut sports to the meeting, as well as three representatives from the T7 council. Athletic Director Kevin Clark, Chairman O’Connor and Athletics Committee Chairman Lewis Katz will also be in attendance.
Joseph Hindelang, a former baseball player in the 1960s for Temple and baseball coach at Penn State said he and three other parents and alumni attempted to gain entry to Sullivan Hall at the time of the canceled meeting.
Hindelang said that just inside the entrance to Sullivan Hall he spoke to Bill Bergman, who was appointed special assistant to Theobald in July 2013.
“[Bergman] told us Tuesday would be our time to meet, that coaches with students would each get their 15 minutes, then the T7 would get their 15 minutes,” Hindelang said in an email. “I asked who would be present, would there be enough trustees present for a vote? Bill said, ‘No, there will not be a vote.’”
Joe Brandt can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @jbrandt7.