Representatives from across Temple and the community will meet to mend relations.
In light of complaints from area residents about unruly students and days after a bill was introduced into City Council that seeks to ban students from living in areas near Main Campus, a new task force to deal with community issues and concerns was created.
The Community and Student Issues and Concerns Task Force was formally incepted on Sept. 28 by President Ann Weaver Hart.
The committee, chaired by Dean of Students and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Stephanie Ives, will address student behavior both on and off Main Campus.
“Temple has really changed from a commuter school, to very much a residential campus…we estimate that 12,000 or 13,000 students live on or around campus,” Ives said.
Hart asked Ives to lead the meetings, a request that Ives called “an honor.”
Appointed members come from university counsel, government, community and public affairs, Campus Safety, Student Affairs (Student Activities, Dean of Students, Housing and Residential Life), athletics, community members, community realtors, and undergraduate students, according to a letter from the Executive Office of the President.
Temple Student Government will appoint student representatives to the committee, one from TSG, and one non-affiliated student.
According to Hart’s letter, the force is charged with developing recommendations for a comprehensive approach to policies, programming, services, and assessment with respect to student behavior, safety, awareness, and related concerns.”
Student Body President Colin Saltry stressed the need for student input on the committee.
“As much as we love the administration, they don’t live in this neighborhood,” Saltry said.
However, Ives said that committee meetings will not be open to the public.
“The task force meetings are really working meetings. We will, however, engage in a larger consultative process, which could include…outreach in more public fashions,” Ives said.
Ives added that she didn’t want to speculate on how the committee would incorporate public input because its members have not yet met.
“But because it is important to include a larger consultative mechanism, I can definitely foresee that we would gather information and feedback in a more public context, to help us with our information gathering,” Ives said. “We could have town hall meetings, we could have focus groups, we could have individual interviews. It’s just different methods of collecting qualitative data.”
Saltry suggested the best way for students to give direct input to the committee is through TSG representatives.
“That’s why we’re here,” Saltry said.
Senior religion major Lindsay Ward said she felt student input in the committee was a good idea to enhance communication. Ward lives in South Philly, and said she had problematic experiences with hostile neighbors.
“It’s about blending cultures,” Saltry said.
Saltry said TSG members discussed the task force at a monthly meeting with administrators.
“The concerns that both our students and our permanent residents around the Temple campus face primarily focus on safety issues, and then, quality of life issues, such as noise in the middle of the night, trash, alcohol consumption…those are our jumping-off points,” Ives said.
The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 11. Interim reports will be given every two weeks, beginning on Oct. 15.
By Jan. 16, the final report is scheduled for submission, according to Hart’s letter.
“It’s growing pains, what Temple’s going through,” Saltry said. “This won’t stop the growing pains, but we want to [resolve] the issue.”
Amelia Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.