Richard Englert, Temple’s acting president, told The Temple News Editorial Board last week that students don’t need to be concerned with his role at the university.
In an interview at his office in Sullivan Hall, Englert told The Temple News that as acting president, there is “no difference in authority” compared to his predecessor, Neil Theobald, who is now on faculty in the College of Education.
The Board of Trustees dismissed Theobald as Temple’s president in July, over concerns about a $22 million deficit in a merit scholarship program and his decision to fire the former provost, Hai-Lung Dai.
In the interview, Englert mostly discussed how he was introducing himself to students, faculty and administrators, and ensuring that the year started off smoothly — shepherding along some construction, ensuring that residence hall move-in was planned for. Later in the year, he said, he may have to make some decisions about the potential on-campus football stadium, but not until a study into its feasibility is completed.
Later, the conversation turned to the administrative transition, which Englert said he wanted to be “smooth.” Englert said he felt students likely wouldn’t feel much of a difference. But he balked at a question on whether or not there was enough communication from the top about the changes. The Board of Trustees sent two emails to students this summer that mentioned the leadership change, one on the day the Board voted “no confidence” in Theobald and one, days later signed by Englert, telling students he was honored to “step into the role of acting president.”
“This isn’t false modesty,” Englert said. “Students aren’t really that interested in me, who’s sitting in this chair. They’re interested in the faculty, their classes, what the campus looks like.”
“I never cared who was president,” Englert later added. “And I haven’t heard of any students not coming here because of [the changes this summer].”
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