Welcome back! As we return from winter break to a new semester and a new year, I want to reiterate my December message that the safety and security of Temple University students, faculty and staff is of paramount importance to me and will continue to be a top priority in 2007.
The shooting incident last month outside
the new Pearl Theatre at Avenue North which involved parties unrelated to Temple nevertheless highlights the security challenges facing Temple and every major urban college and university in America. Be assured, however, that Temple University takes seriously our responsibility for the well-being of our community. We are committed to securing and maintaining the exciting, stimulating and rich urban life of our vibrant campus.
You should know that last June, Temple added funding for six additional police officers, largely in anticipation of the opening of Avenue North. We did so although we already have the fourth-largest sworn police force in Pennsylvania, including nearly 500 sworn officers and independent security guards who police the campus and its environs. I am pleased to report that since the incident in December, additional steps have been taken by Temple. They include the following:
• We immediately initiated discussions
with Mayor Street, the Philadelphia Police
Department and other city officials to explore ways the University can work together with the City of Philadelphia to enhance the safety of our community.
• We convened the first meeting of a Task Force on December 14 that included representatives of the Philadelphia Police Department (23rd District), City Managing Director’s Office, Tower Investments (the owner of the Pearl Theatre and Avenue North complex) and the Philadelphia School District Police. The main objective of this group is to coordinate security in and around Avenue North and along the commercial corridor of Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Additional meetings have taken place in January and they will continue on a regular basis.
As a result of these discussions and meetings, the City has provided uniformed officers detailed specifically to the Avenue North facility and is considering the feasibility of installing a new mini-police station in the vicinity of campus.
• The Department of Campus Safety Services has increased its uniformed patrols in and around Avenue North and the commercial
corridor along Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
• We are currently in discussions with Tower Investments regarding the feasibility
of installing a security kiosk on Oxford Street near the entrance to the Theatre to serve as a constant presence at that location. In addition, we are adding security kiosks at new locations on the Main and Tyler campuses.
One will be located at the southern end of Liacouras Walk on the Plaza outside of Ritter Hall on the Main Campus and another will be located outside of President’s Hall on the Tyler Campus.
• We installed low-level video cameras
on the northeast corner of Broad and Oxford
streets to capture views east and west on Oxford Street and north and south on Broad Street.
• We recently approved an upgrade to our entire closed circuit television system, which is comprised of over 400 cameras on the Main Campus that are monitored at the central communications center in the Office of Campus Safety Services.
• We have extended our high-intensity
lighting program to the 1400 block of Oxford Street, which illuminates the entrance to the Pearl Theatre.
Temple is already one of the safest large urban campuses in the nation. We are diligently working to ensure that it remains so, and I reiterate my pledge and commitment to you that my administration and I will take appropriate steps to provide secure and safe environment at Temple.
I extend to you my warmest wishes for a successful spring semester and look forward to a wonderful 2007.