Board approves increases in Temple housing and meal plans rates, construction

President Richard Englert announced Temple is working with the City of Philadelphia on a plan for the university to be a “point of distribution” for COVID-19 vaccines.

Temple University President Richard Englert addresses the Board of Trustees at their virtual meeting on March 16. | SCREENSHOT / ZOOM

Temple University’s Board of Trustees authorized a 2.9 percent average increase in student housing rates and a 3.9 percent average increase in meal plan rates for the 2021-22 academic year at its virtual meeting Tuesday afternoon. 

Trustees also approved $3.5 million to fund the design and construction services for creating a Center for Anti-Racism on the first floor of Anderson Hall and renovating the Africology and African American studies department’s space on the sixth and eighth floors of Gladfelter Hall. Temple first announced plans to establish the Center for Anti-Racism on Sept. 16, 2020, as part of the university’s $1 million anti-racist initiative, The Temple News reported

President Richard Englert opened the meeting announcing Temple will partner with the Lenfest Foundation to establish the Lenfest Center for Community Workforce Partnerships, which will help North Philadelphians prepare for and find employment opportunities. 

“Our goal is to link our neighbors with job opportunities within the university, within our health system and within numerous partner organizations and companies, both ones we do business with and other partners,” Englert said.

Temple is also working with Philadelphia officials to develop plans for the university to become a “point of distribution” for COVID-19 vaccines for the Temple and North Philadelphia communities in the near future, Englert said.

Additionally, the Board authorized its officers to borrow $30 million to help the university operate from April 1 through June 30. 

Here’s what else happened at Tuesday’s meeting.

Housing and Meal Plan Rates

Housing rates will increase by up to three percent depending on the residence hall and type of room students live in, according to the room and board rates budget proposal for fiscal year 2022. Most rooms will increase by 2.75 to three percent, while single one bedroom apartments in Morgan Hall North will increase by 2.5 percent and single one bedroom apartments and single efficiency apartments in the School of Podiatry will increase by two percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, according to the budget proposal.

Rates for traditional suites in White Hall, 1940 Residence Hall and 1300 Residence Hall will increase by $144 on average, while rates for apartments in Temple Towers, 1300 Residence Hall, Morgan Hall and the Podiatric School Residence Complex will increase by $169 per semester on average. 

Housing rates were proposed for the 2021-22 academic year for peer mentor, resident staff and single deluxe rooms at Johnson and Hardwick halls, but not single, quad-lounges or double rooms.

The university plans to continue to use Johnson and Hardwick halls for quarantine and isolation housing, but may only use one hall for the summer and fall, The Temple News reported.

Temple will use the revenue from the increased housing rates to offset the losses anticipated in its overall housing budget during fiscal year 2022 as the university continues to de-densify residence halls in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines, according to the budget proposal. The Office of University Housing and Residential Life also plans to reduce its expenditures to offset these losses by decreasing its staff’s salaries, wages and benefits by 14.2 percent through “positional changes and eliminations,” according to the budget proposal. 

Temple plans to provide 4,329 bed spaces in university housing during the 2021-22 academic year, which is 200 fewer than in the 2020-21 academic year, according to the budget proposal. University Housing and Residence Life attributes this decrease to its decision to lease fewer third-party bed spaces, according to the budget proposal.

Eighty-six percent of Temple’s on campus student housing will be for freshmen. The university will provide just 379 beds in university housing for sophomores, juniors, seniors and transfer students.

Temple implemented the 3.9 percent increase in meal plan rates to satisfy its contractual agreement with Aramark, according to the budget proposal. 

Reappointments and Resolutions

The Board reelected Bret Perkins, a 1991 business and management alumnus, to serve as a commonwealth trustee through October. 

The Board approved a resolution of appreciation for the Lenfest Foundation. In the resolution, the trustees approved the establishment of the Lenfest Center for Community Workforce Partnerships.

The Board also approved a resolution of memoriam recognizing the contributions of former trustee Ronald Donatucci, a 1970 liberal arts alumnus who served as a commonwealth trustee from May 4, 2006, until his death in November 2020. 

Facilities and Construction

The Board approved an additional $9 million in funding for a construction project intended to renovate the College of Education and Human Development. This project will include major interior demolitions in Ritter Hall and Ritter Annex, including turning Kiva Auditorium into the dean’s suite and installing new windows, lighting and plumbing systems in the renovated spaces.

Trustees approved an $8 million project to replace damaged pavement on Liacouras Walk between Montgomery and Cecil B. Moore avenues and improve the area’s general flow and accessibility. The project is part of the university’s master plan to turn the repaved walkway into a new space called Liacouras Walk South, which will include an adjacent plaza and green space.

The Board approved nearly $5 million in additional funding for a project to renovate the ground floor of Speakman Hall, bringing the project’s total cost to $7.9 million. 

The Board also approved an additional $1.6 million in funding for a project to renovate offices on the first and second floors of Carnell Hall, including the University Bursar’s rear offices. 

Trustees authorized an additional $1 million in funding for a project to renovate Shusterman Hall, like by installing a new fire protection sprinkler system.

Additionally, the Board approved revisions to the university’s Policy for Use of University Facilities by External Groups, which was last revised in December 2020. 

Alumni Relations and Development

The Board approved the establishment of the Jonathan Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting in the Klein College of Media and Communication, which will be funded through a nearly $1.2 million donation from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, a foundation from Oakland, California that seeks to advance social justice through investigative journalism. The center is intended to support students pursuing careers in investigative reporting and promote social justice through their work.

Trustees approved the establishment of the Charles Schwab Foundation Scholars in Financial Planning Endowed Scholarship Fund, a $500,000 fund in the Fox School of Business that will provide scholarships for two full-time undergraduate students majoring in personal financial planning who have demonstrated financial need.

The Board also approved both the creation of an endowed professorship in the Beasley School of Law and a donation to name the office of the director of the Joyce Salzberg Center for Professional Development in the College of Liberal Arts. 

Academic Affairs

The Board approved a proposal to transfer the tenure tracks of 82 professors in the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, who will begin working in their new primary departments on July 1. 

In the Boyer College of Music and Dance, the Board approved the establishment of an optional concentration in interdisciplinary studies for the Bachelor of Science in Music Technology. 

In the College of Science and Technology, the Board approved the establishment of a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and a Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity. The Board also established concentrations in Applied Ecology, Climate, Environmental Geochemistry and Hydrology for the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science.

In the College of Education and Human Development, the Board restructured the Master of Education in Secondary Education program to allow students to pursue an English as a Second Language certification while completing the requirements for their primary concentrations in English, mathematics, science, social studies or world/foreign languages.

In the Beasley School of Law, the Board approved a proposal to rename the Master of Laws in American/International Law as the Master of Laws in American and International Law, and a proposal to rename the Master of Laws in American/International Law-China as the Master of Laws in American and International Law – China. Trustees also terminated the Master of Laws in Law program for international students.

Officer Reports

The Board approved a recommendation from Ken Kaiser, Temple’s chief financial officer, to receive an investment report from the last quarter of 2020 and the grants and contracts awarded from October through December 2020. 

The Board also approved a recommendation from Board Secretary Anne Nadol for the degrees-in-course date for approved students at Temple University Japan to be May 6 while their degrees will be presented to them on June 6. The recommendation additionally included having the degrees-in-course dates for approved students in the Kornberg School of Dentistry and School of Pharmacy be May 6, approved students in the Lewis Katz School of Medicine be May 7, approved students in the School of Podiatric Medicine be May 10 and approved students in the Beasley School of Law be May 20.

Closing Remarks

At the end of the meeting, Student Body President Quinn Litsinger, a junior political science major, shared his optimism for the future with the Board and asked trustees to take two factors into consideration when planning for the 2021-22 academic year. 

First, Litsinger encouraged trustees to not increase tuition rates for the 2021-22 academic year, saying that tuition affordability has “never been a more salient issue for students.” 

The Board voted to freeze tuition rates for the 2020-21 academic year in May 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the second consecutive year undergraduate tuition rates were frozen for in-state students, The Temple News reported.

Second, Litsinger encouraged trustees to keep class sizes from increasing during the 2021-22 academic year. 

“If this trend continues, very gradually as it may be, the quality of education received by Temple students in classrooms will be diminished,” Litsinger said. 

The Board’s next meeting will be on May 11 at 3:30 p.m.

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify the range of housing cost increases for the 2021-22 academic year and available housing options for first-year students in Fall 2021.

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