Building Character

Aspects of the university that need improving should be re-evaluated.

Aspects of the university that need improving should be re-evaluated.

In the past few years, speakers welcoming the freshman classes at student convocations have made the suffix “-est” a popular ending to words in their speeches.

The newest class is the largest, smartest bunch. Temple’s Student Factbook reported the GPA for each freshman class has risen steadily from 2.05 in 2001 to 3.37 in 2008. No one’s lying: According to quantitative data, students are accepted from a more intelligent draw every year.

As Temple receives more applicants – in 2008, it received 18,670 applications for first-time first-year students alone and accepted just 11,349 – and more students choose Temple, being accepted has become a competitive game played in an increasingly larger playing field.

To accommodate the growing numbers, the university has done its job to house freshmen that choose to live on campus. In Fall 2001, Temple opened the 1300 residence hall. Jay Falkenstein, the associate vice president for facilities at the time, said it would allow the university “to admit 1,000 more students.”

But in subsequent years, as class numbers increased, Temple began renting space in the Edge at Avenue North and renovated Temple Towers to accommodate additional students. Within a few years, the metal piles at 1600 N. Broad St., will be student housing.

While The Temple News applauds the university for building on Temple property instead of expanding into the community, construction – a theme of Temple’s 20/20 plan to build up, not out, and improve Broad Street – accompanies a hefty price tag.

We understand that a university is a business. Businesses need to grow, expand and, more importantly, make money. But if the university simply admits fewer people, fewer students will enroll and request on-campus housing.

We also understand anything new and shiny can sell a product. To ensure Temple remains a commodity, updates like the Tyler School of Art and Temple Towers renovations are necessary. Though a new
library on Broad Street will be a great addition, The Temple News would like to know whether there is damage to Paley Library or if it has outgrown its book capacity. If the

answer to both questions is no, we question the necessity of such an expensive plan.

University officials sometimes forget that students made the decision to come to Temple with the understanding that they would receive a quality education in exchange for payment. While students
will enjoy the additions to Temple, we wonder if enough money is being allocated to the needs of academic departments.

The university is business smart for building during a recession and planning for the future, but it is imperative that the university maintain its primary role, as a higher learning institution. If there is enough money to build physical structures, there must be a sufficient amount to build upon Temple’s craft –  academics.

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