Opinion

10 biggest Temple News stories of 2013

The Temple News’ editorial board reviews the year’s most important campus news.

Athletics cuts seven sports

After a move to the American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East) to increase football and basketball-based revenue, the university announced at the end of the fall semester that it would cut seven non-revenue sports – men’s and women’s crew, men’s gymnastics, baseball, softball and indoor/outdoor men’s track & field – in an effort to spread the $3 million saved across the remaining non-revenue sports. The move affected nine coaches and more than 200 student athletes. Newly-appointed Athletic Director Kevin Clark told athletes days before the start of finals and has said that fundraising by individual teams will not bring back the sports. The athletes will be allowed to keep their scholarships for the remainder of their academic career or be allowed to transfer without sitting out a year.

Neil Theobald become’s university’s 10th president on Jan. 1

Theobald, the former senior vice president and chief financial officer at Indiana University, assumed his role after Ann Weaver Hart left for the University of Arizona and former Provost Richard Englert served a one year interim term. Theobald’s most significant policy move has been the implementation of a decentralized budget, which will be phased in in 2014, and which will hold the individual colleges and universities responsible for allocating the majority of their tuition and fundraising dollars to fund their own programs. Theobald also completed searches for four vacant deanships and appointed Kevin Clark, a former colleague who Theobald brought with him from Indiana, to the position of Athletic Director.

University’s response to day-long standoff criticized by students

After a student with a reported mental-illness barricaded himself inside his North Willington Street house with a handgun, police and SWAT team officers had to close off large portions of the mainly residential-student block on October 13. The university sent out only three TU Alerts during the situation and failed to notify students of alternate housing options. In the aftermath, many students questioned the university’s response, and administration officials said they would conduct a review.

Sex Assaults on the rise around campus 

During 2013, reported sexual assaults on and around Main Campus rose by four from 13 to 17 according to Campus Safety Services. In addition, the reported number of assaults in residence halls tripled, from two in 2012 to six in 2013. Police attributed part of the rise to a rise in off-campus parties with Temple and other university students in the area around Main Campus.

Spring Fling canceled

President Theobald announced in August that the university would discontinue to decades-old tradition of Spring Fling, citing missed classes and excessive student drinking in recent years which had separated the event from its original purpose to involve students at the mainly commuter school with on-campus activities. In addition, the 2013 event was marred by the death of Ali Fausnaught, a 19-year-old West Chester Student who fell off a roof-top while posing for a picture at an off-campus party. Officials denied that the incident led to the canceling of the event. Despite promises for alternative programing, no such events have been formally announced.

Construction of Morgan Hall plagued by string of unsolved arsons

In the month of February, the construction of the 27 story, $216 million Morgan Hall was hampered by a string of seven reported arsons. The small fires occurred mostly in waste bins, and caused $100,000 in damage along with three smoke-related injuries, according to Temple officials. Despite an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and a $15,000 posted reward, no suspect was ever caught. Morgan Hall opened on time for the fall semester.

Athletes’ cases show inconsistencies in Code of Conduct

Multiple current and former members of the Temple Owls football team faced criminal charges in 2013, and the results of their cases showed conflicts with the Student Code of Conduct hearing process. Praise Martin-Oguike was charged in spring 2012 with the rape of another student. Texts from the accuser were shown as evidence by his attorney James Funt, who said they proved Martin-Oguike’s innocence and that the the accuser tried to blackmail him into a relationship. Despite the texts, Martin-Oguike was kicked of the team and expelled from the university in 2012, and not reinstated when his case was thrown out in court in October. Kamal Johnson, a former starter, was also charged in 2012 with assaulting his girlfriend and keeping her locked in his room. Johnson ultimately pled guilty to three misdemeanors, but despite his conviction, was allowed by his Student Code of Conduct hearing to remain at the school and on the team. Wyatt Benson, another former-starter, was placed in an Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition program in November for a misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident at party at the University of Pennsylvania in April. While he was allowed to remain a student, he is no longer a member of the team. A fourth former player, Olaniyi Adewole, had his case on assault charges moved to February 2014, he is no longer at the university or on the team.

Building security reviewed after attack on professor

On Oct. 29, an 81-year-old professor was attacked and robbed inside his office on the second floor of Anderson Hall. He sustained injuries to the face and brain, and recovered at Temple University Hospital. A suspect, 45-year-old Darryl Moon, was arrested a few days later. Campus Police were not able to determine how the non-student gained access to the hall, which is guarded by a security officer at the front entrance. In response, Campus Safety Services stationed extra officers at the second-level exits, and conducted a review of security at all the Main Campus halls which led to a series of recommendations, including card-swipe access at all entrances similar to the kinds installed at the TECH Center and residence halls.

Campus Safety Services and state crack down on student drinking

In the fall semester, Campus Safety Services initiated a crackdown on student drinking that led to more than 300 arrests or citations throughout the semester in residence halls and in off-campus student areas. Acting Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said the crackdown was done to deter the dangerous drinking behavior he said campus police correlate to more serious crimes. Leone said police also attributed part of the problem to an influx of college students from nearby universities coming to the area around Temple to drink with friends on the weekends.

Former athlete sues university for $10 million

In September, Ebony Moore, a former record-breaking thrower for the women’s track & field team, sued the school for $10 million for abuses she said she was subject to by members of the coaching staff and athletic department administrators. The case was moved to federal court, and Moore has no responded to multiple requests for comment by The Temple News. According to legal documents published in Municipal Court (the case’s original jurisdiction) Moore had not hired and attorney.

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