President Theobald has flouted his goal to build an on-campus football stadium when speaking in front of potential donors, but his administration has remained largely silent on details when the idea has been discussed publicly elsewhere.
In an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education on April 10, Theobald said the Philadelphia Eagles are attempting to hijack negotiations to use Lincoln Financial Field by nearly doubling Temple’s rent and charging $12 million up-front to pay for stadium upgrades. The Eagles called his apparent bluff, claiming they have not met with Temple’s administration in more than a year.
Now Theobald’s administration is sealing its lips. Interview requests that we extended to Theobald and Athletic Director Kevin Clark last week were denied.
The university needs to stop acting coy about building an on-campus stadium, which would likely be built west of Broad Street. It should engage in discussions with the community if it has serious intentions of building such a burdensome project in the middle of a residential community.
The university should have realized the importance of strengthening community relations after the controversy surrounding the dismissal of African American studies professor Anthony Monteiro, who has enjoyed vocal support from community leaders. While the nonrenewal of Monteiro’s contract was not a decision directly made by Theobald, the president has nonetheless suffered from its backlash.
In March, when responding to a protestor who asked why the president had never visited the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection located directly beneath his offices at Sullivan Hall, Theobald said it was because he had “never been invited.”
The uproar following his response forced his quick and awkward exit from the room.
Theobald still has a lot of learning to do when it comes to understanding and dealing with the North Philadelphia community. If he continues down the path he is headed with the football stadium, he is only setting himself up for future failure and embarrassment.