Be accessible, O’Connor

The chairman of the Board of Trustees declined an interview with The Temple News on Monday.

The Temple News has covered the efforts of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance to unseat Patrick O’Connor as chairman of the Board of Trustees since late September. FMLA has taken issue with O’Connor for serving as former trustee Bill Cosby’s lawyer in a 2005 sexual assault case.

In an effort to be balanced, The Temple News asked O’Connor if he would like to address student concerns or detail what he has contributed to the university. He declined Monday through a university spokesperson without explanation.

This silence is disquieting.

Sexual assault is an issue that cannot be ignored at Temple, and O’Connor shouldn’t ignore students who are concerned about his defense of Cosby, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 50 women, including former Temple employee Andrea Constand.

The Temple News is concerned that O’Connor’s refusal to be interviewed is a predictor that he will address students’ concerns the same way and push them to the side. What does it say about the Board’s attitude toward backlash when the most powerful representative avoids answering questions?

It says to us that the Board doesn’t want to communicate with students when they raise legitimate concerns to the university. It says to us that the Board isn’t doing its job in improving the university for students.

The Temple News acknowledges the immense responsibility of the Board and the many decisions it makes for students, but to be truly effective, the Board also needs to be accountable and accessible.

Students are clearly trying to hold you accountable, Chairman O’Connor. It’s time to respond.

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