A meeting change will give student activists time to prepare their case.
Temple’s Board of Trustees Investment Committee, expected to discuss a student-proposed issue soon, recently canceled its Oct. 26 meeting.
Ray Betzner, vice president of university communications, said the meeting was a draft meeting and never final.
A group of students, now known as Temple Community Against Mountaintop Removal, fighting against the financing of companies affiliated with mountaintop removal coal mining, is waiting for the committee to examine its case.
Brianne Murphy, a senior religion and visual anthropology major, suggested she is calling on the Board to use Temple’s relationship with PNC Bank as a means of influence to pressure the bank to stop financing companies associated with the practice.
“Temple could be one of the institutions to set an example and say, ‘We’re not going to stand for this,’” Murphy said.
The group protested the Board’s Oct. 11 meeting to bring the issue to light.
Betzner said that he hasn’t seen the agenda of the committee’s Nov. 30 meeting to know if the issue will be discussed.
Murphy said she believed the next meeting will be private.
Murphy said the delay will provide time for her group to prepare.
J. William Mills, a board member who serves on the Investments Committee, is president of the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region of PNC Financial Services.
Betzner said he was not sure of the Board’s policy in regards to potential conflict of interests.
“The view would then be: People who are on bank boards should not be in investment decisions,” Betzner said.
Murphy, aware of Mills’ job title, said she hoped the Board would publicly address any such conflicts.
Murphy said she’s inviting all Board members, including President Ann Weaver Hart, to a Nov. 4 teach-in lecture on the subject.
“It’s not like they’re our enemies,” she said. “We’re trying to form this relationship with them and see each other as allies.”
Matthew Petrillo can be reached at email@example.com.