Leadership is not picking up the pieces when it all falls down. Leadership is making sure it doesn’t all fall down.
Unfortunately, Temple is not being a leader when it comes to the Yorktown evictions. Its official stance is that students should be talking to their landlords and trying to find a resolution. If students wake up with no home on Dec. 19, Temple will find them housing.
Temple’s position is not enviable. It sits between flustered students and irate parents on one side, and a law that is already on the books on the other side. What’s worse, a new, even stricter law may be passed soon.
As unpleasant as Temple’s position may be, it is there nonetheless. The important part is finding its way out. To do that, it cannot keep playing defense. So far, Temple has removed off-campus listings from its housing Web site.
More needs to be done. In addition to, or even instead of taking all but a few listings off the Web site, add information on what students are getting into when they move into Yorktown and Jefferson Manor. Provide a map of exactly where students can or cannot live.
Currently, Temple’s student housing Web site includes in its resources a list of Philadelphia neighborhoods, detailing characteristics of each. Amazingly, North Philadelphia, Kensington, Frankford and Port Richmond are all included in one category, with only a paragraph to describe them. If students do stumble upon this list, they will be no better off than if they read a rudimentary tourist guide to Philadelphia.
More parking is necessary for both on- and off-campus students. There are more cars in Yorktown during the day than there are at night because so many commuters end up parking there. Campus fills up early in the morning, and the parking lots are expensive.
Even though it may be a burden to take on the cost of parking, Temple needs to do it. If our tuition must be raised, so be it. Students who park in Yorktown and get fined are paying for the parking now, so they might as well pay higher tuition and get parking for a lower cost.
Temple cannot take on this burden by itself, though. Students need to realize that they are parking in places they shouldn’t be parking. Even if they are unknowing victims at first, continued disobedience is not a realistic option. Long-time residents shouldn’t have to park on another block just because a student is running late one day.
Temple needs to take a stronger leadership role in the Yorktown problem. At the same time, students need to follow the rules they are stepping into.
Stephen Zook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.