TSG representatives and administrators continue to push state legislature to pass Temple’s funding.
Temple, along with three other state-related institutions — Lincoln University, the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University, is still without approved commonwealth appropriations, weeks after most state agencies received necessary funds.
Last spring, Temple administrators passed a budget that gave the university its lowest tuition increase in 13 years, 2.9 percent. Trustees said if appropriations are not approved in time, they might need to raise tuition for the upcoming spring semester. In addition to a tuition increase, more across-the-board cuts are possible.
Temple Student Government Vice President of External Affairs Anthony Leyro said students should remember it’s not a conflict with passage of the state budget.
“We want to remind everyone that just because our state budget got passed, didn’t mean our appropriations got passed,” said Leyro. “It’s still up in the air, so [administrators] just want us to put a little pressure on the representatives to vote on it and get it passed because they are trying to tie it to [casino] table games.
“And we believe there’s enough money in the pool for our appropriations to get passed,” he added.
Leyro and TSG Vice President of Services Jon DeSantis worked on the One-Thousand Voices Campaign, an initiative to get 1,000 signatures and letters to sent to senators, state representatives and the governor, this summer when this issue first came up. The pair eventually went online with the campaign, posting links on Facebook and Twitter.
The two TSG executive board members eventually went to Harrisburg to conduct a press conference with Penn State and handed out 3,000 letters to senators, representatives and the governor.
Leyro is not the only one urging communication with state-elected officials. TSG Senate President Jeff Dempsey said TSG will pull its resources to lead students and show them what their powers are through the voting process.
“Temple is already appealing [to state-elected officials], so students might have to look ahead to the upcoming primary election to influence action,” Dempsey said. “There is an election season coming up in May. Maybe student government can step up and inform students about how they can affect the political system.
“Look at your classes,” he continued. “Most of your fellow peers aren’t from Philadelphia.They’re from a different part of Pennsylvania or a different part of the world, and some aren’t ready to register to vote yet.
“We need to localize our efforts a little bit more and hit up these politicians that should be working for us,” Dempsey added.
TSG isn’t the only entity appealing to state-elected officials. On Oct. 21, President Ann Weaver-Hart – along with President Ivory Nelson of Lincoln University, the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Penn State Chancellor Graham Spanier – wrote and signed a letter urging state officials to pass the commonwealth appropriations.
They write that the four state-related universities “have become a destination of choice for many of Pennsylvania’s most committed and talented high school students. These 158,000-plus Pennsylvania students (including more than 130,000 undergraduates) and their families continue to be directly impacted by the delay and uncertainty created by the lack of a final appropriation for each university.”
Before concluding the letter, the four university leaders wrote: “We respectfully request that all reasonable and appropriate measures be taken to finalize the budget and the appropriations of Pennsylvania’s state-related universities in order to minimize the financial harm and uncertainty impacting our students and their families.”
The State General Assembly meeting Nov. 9 was the next opportunity for action, however, there is not yet an update on the situation.
Joshua Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.