Temple University’s Board of Trustees is back at it again with its secrecy. This time, it comes in the form of Dennis Alter’s abrupt, unexplained resignation from the Board on March 12.
But no one knew about it until a week later, when The Temple News broke the story, though we were at the Board’s public session last Tuesday. Alter had resigned during the Board’s private Executive Session, where only trustees are allowed, and despite holding a public session immediately afterward, the Board decided not to tell anyone it would be one member short.
We wonder, when exactly was the Board going to tell us about Alter’s departure? At its next meeting in May? Or did it just expect the Temple community to look at the list of trustees and realize Alter’s name is missing from the top?
Surprise or even non-announcements are one of the Board’s favorite things to do. Three years ago, the Board’s Summer 2016 session included a surprise announcement that the trustees unanimously voted no confidence in former president Neil Theobald. There were a lot of questions surrounding that ouster, many of which are still unanswered.
So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, here we are, once again demanding that the Board of Trustees is transparent with the rest of the university. You know, the one it is entrusted to run.
We have questions. Why did Alter resign? Does it have anything to do with the fact that he and two other defendants had to shell out $23.5 million in 2015 to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for his failed Advanta Bank? Did other trustees pressure Alter into the decision? Did they try to convince him to stay?
This is what we want to report to you, Temple, but our Board is silent and seems to think we’re unworthy of the truth. We’re stuck with a university that won’t take any actual steps forward with transparency.
We ask the Board to be open and transparent this time around, but whether it is or not, The Temple News will be here, always digging for the truth.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Gillian McGoldrick, a member of the Editorial Board reported the accompanying news article. She played no part in the writing of this editorial.
CORRECTION: This article misstated the amount of the FDIC’s settlement with Alter and Advanta Bank Corporation. Alter and two other defendants settled for $23.5 million.