The Board’s locked doors

The Board of Trustees’ most important subcommittee should be subject to public oversight.

When the Board of Trustees executive committee meeting was suddenly canceled last Thursday, Jan. 23, it came as little surprise to anyone, especially the T7.

The group, formed in support of the seven sports teams  that were cut after a similar meeting of the board’s athletic committee on Dec. 6, had called on the committee members to include them in the discussions of the board’s most powerful subcommittees.

Executive sessions of the board’s committee meetings have always been off-limits to those outside the university’s highest governing body, representing an unacceptable gap in transparency at a time when more than 200 student-athletes are left with questions about the process behind Temple’s decision-making.

That gap has widened even further when one considers the schedule the board adheres to, which can be called inconsistent at best. Close to half of the 12 subcommittee meetings scheduled between October and now have been either rescheduled or canceled.

The reason for last week’s cancellation, as stated by the board’s secretary, George Moore, was because Chairman Patrick O’Connor could not be in attendance.

When the athletic cuts were announced in December, newly appointed Athletic Director Kevin Clark told the affected students that they could come to him for answers to any questions they may have regarding the status of their respective teams. However, the majority of the questions levied at the board have remained unanswered.

During a trustee meeting on the morning of the cuts, Temple News reporters were asked to leave the room for approximately 15 minutes before a final decision was reached. Since then, student-athletes and reporters alike have been denied requests to speak with board members.

At the first public board meeting following the cuts, on Dec. 10, the trustees in attendance elected to breeze through the entire affair in less than 20 minutes. Despite the fact that student-athletes and coaches had filled the meeting space on Morgan Hall’s 27th floor, the affected parties were not given a  chance to offer public comment.

Board Chairman Patrick O’Connor instead directed questions to his secretary’s office, an entity infamous for ignoring phone calls and leaving emails unanswered.

A governing body that holds its most important meetings behind closed doors and is subject to sudden cancellation is yet another example of the lack of transparency that permeates Temple’s Board of Trustees.

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