Community Visions: Bringing big brother back

City Councilman Darrell Clarke introduced a bill that would put Temple students under increased surveillance. The law shouldn’t be necessary, but it may be the only measure that works.

Off-campus housing is freedom. Freedom from quiet hours, resident assistants, guest sign-ins and bag checks.

Freedom may no longer be available in off-campus housing. City Councilman Darrell Clarke introduced a bill that would require all off-campus Temple students to register their addresses with the university. If they drive a car, they will also have to provide Temple with valid insurance and registration papers and the plate number, makes and models of the cars.

In addition, students’ landlords must also keep records of the plate numbers, makes and models of their cars. Once students are registered, they will be given a sticker from Temple, which has to be placed on their car.

If students fail to provide the information or do not attach the sticker, they can be fined anywhere from $50 to $150. Every day they do not comply is considered a separate violation.
“The university is supposed to keep logs of disciplinary problems with students,” said William Carter, Clarke’s director of legislative affairs.

Temple must keep records of disciplinary problems with students. If a resident is cited three times, the university must notify the Philadelphia Police Department as to whether the student was referred to the University Disciplinary Committee.

“It’s really about increasing the dialogue between the responsible parties,” Carter said. “[The university is] charged with coming up with some disciplinary codes for students who are habitually violating the conduct.”

Some of those habitual violations include parking tickets. If you’re running late to class, you’ll have to think twice about parking illegally: if you are given three citations, Temple will refer you to the UDC.
The new law deals with three violations. If you are cited three times with quality of life violations like drunkenness or excessive noise, your landlord has to take measures to curb the behavior. This can mean a last-chance warning, or it can mean eviction.

Temple has yet to come out for or against the bill.

“We are working with Councilman Clarke and we have no formal position on the legislation right now,” said Ray Betzner, director of news communications for Temple.

The legislation seems geared toward several communities around Temple, even though it applies to the entire fifth district. Yorktown and Jefferson Manor residents have been campaigning for enforcement of current laws, which already make it unlawful for Temple students to live or park in those communities.

This law may have been inspired by the tediousness of the Department of Licenses and Inspections’process for inspecting and citing city code violations. Some students living there have not received citations or even been visited by inspectors.

Ideally, one would hope that L&I would simply do its job, but history suggests that even if that does happen, it will take months anyway.

The law will take at least a month, and probably more, to pass. In the meantime, let’s hope Temple is coming up with a better strategy for housing and parking. It shouldn’t be up to students to stumble around the logistics of living at Temple and to hope they don’t get evicted or fined $150.

Stephen Zook can be reached at

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