In this letter of address, President Ann Weaver Hart is urged to become a more transparent leader for the class of 2015.
President Ann Weaver Hart, where are you?
I looked for you last week at Convocation–the university’s official opening ceremony–but you weren’t there, which really surprised me. I thought, besides graduation, Convocation was the one other time you ever show your face to students.
You see, I had already stopped looking for you at sporting events during my freshman year, and no longer expected you to be walking around campus, meeting students, as they hurried by the Bell Tower to their classes.
Now, as the first week into my last year at Temple drags by, I don’t think I’ve seen you since my own Convocation three years ago–besides that time I spotted you eating in a very fancy Rittenhouse restaurant.
You’ve been so disconnected with me and my Temple brothers and sisters that it breaks my cherry-and-white heart. I know you’ve been really busy with the 2008 recession and last year, dealing with the commonwealth threatening to salvage public education and all, but what about me? How successful could your fight have been when you don’t make yourself known to the people you’re fighting for?
It’s unclear whether your lack of interest in the student body is due to self-righteousness or shyness, but you should represent all of Temple–not just make nice to its donors, dine with government officials or chat with the Temple Student Government. You should appreciate your students and interact with us– outside of timely Web videos.
I’m an incredibly proud Temple student, but your obviously introverted personality coupled with an arrogantly seclusive attitude clearly represents a dishearteningly unsupportive mockery of a leader. The university’s schools and colleges have accomplished recognition on their own, but there’s no doubt it’s bound together by the relationship of its president. Your superficial relationship toward students needs to take a more relatable approach, like your predecessor, David Adamany.
I’m not exactly sure what Adamany was like, but I hear he was amazing.
“He whipped everyone into shape, starting by rebuilding campus, but had a poor relationship with faculty and staff,” alumnus Sean O’Connell said. “But that’s going to happen if you raise standards.”
O’Connell told me that Adamany was often seen on campus interacting with students and taking in Temple’s distinct campus culture firsthand.
It worries me that, yet again, incoming freshmen won’t remember your sweeping Meryl Streep silver hair or that cheerfully screeching voice. You dress impeccably classy and always appear elegantly kept from what I’ve seen in Philadelphia Magazine. As much as I hate to think that our relationship is ending when it never really began, I’m hoping that could all change for future students.
Hart, you haven’t really lived up to your position, or even your name. You’re the university’s ninth president and its first female president. The title comes with a lot of social and political responsibilities. A part of your core duties as a leader of any public institution should center on accessibility and transparency. Politically, we’re your constituents, and while you may have fought for us when the commonwealth recently tried slashing appropriations, I don’t really know you. In fact, I don’t know anything about you. Yes, you appear to be a very friendly grandmother-type, boss-lady. You seem like you could really relate to students. But the class of 2012, at least, will never know.
I strongly encourage you to change your approach to student relationships, starting with the class of 2015.
My class would have loved you.
Sincerely, Matthew Petrillo
Matt Petrillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.