Among the papers, the parties, the books and the beer, the Temple community had other worries this semester, including eviction, violence and a threat of a professor strike.
So, this holiday season, students, administrators and professors alike should be hoping to find more than new laptops and iPods wrapped up as gifts. The Temple community should be hoping for quick change and solutions to some of its most serious issues by the start of spring semester.
Students living in Yorktown could still face eviction six days before Christmas.
Off-campus dwellers worry that new legislation proposed in response to the Yorktown issue could allow the university unlimited access to their lives, while others think twice about answering their front doors after a string of near-campus home invasions.
Seniors, especially, fear the threat of a professorial strike that could potentially mean suspension of some classes for a period of time.
The fight over illegal student housing in Yorktown, continuing contract negotiations between the Temple Association of University Professionals and the university and violence in the community are issues that will be no easy feat to solve. But if this university is to move forward as a community and an educational institution as early as next semester, there needs to be a way to work them out.
TAUP professors will add fair raises and better health coverage to their wish lists this season, while the university hopes to convince them a merit-based pay system will suffice. Negotiations are set to continue during winter break, and students will return in January in hopes that no professors are on strike and classes will go on as planned.
Either way, the university and TAUP should come to some sort of agreement before the Spring 2009 semester. Students do appreciate what professors do and in most cases, are supportive of their fight for what they see as “fair pay,” but most of all, we just want to take our classes and graduate on time.
Some Yorktown community members are hoping to have Temple students out before the holidays, while students scramble to find places to live in the spring, so they can still attend school.
The obvious compromise here is not to go Big Brother on all off-campus students, requiring them to register their addresses and vehicles but to address individual problems community members have.
Drunk, rambunctious or loud students in the community? Keep a better eye on them, not everyone. Ask them to tone it down a notch, then if it’s too much, go ahead, evict them. But don’t displace an entire community of students mid-year. Is it really worth interrupting someone’s education? Many are not so sure.
While administrators and university police have been right to aid students by giving advice and offering on-campus residences for evictees, people should be asking why this happened in the first place.
As far as community violence goes, police protection aside, students should be educated as to where to look for off-campus housing. Students come to Temple from all over the world, and while it is their right and privilege to live in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia, they should have ways to find out what they’re getting themselves into, so to speak, in certain communities.
Yes, it’s been a stressful semester to be a Temple student. But here’s hoping.
And, on the bright side, remember this – Philadelphia is taking the recession much more lightly than most other places, and college students have been less affected than young working professionals. Hey, if you never have a boom, you can’t quite have a bust.
Morgan Zalot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.