Great cities, great universities

“Great cities need great universities, and great universities need great cities,” was one of the first sound bites President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart gave us when she arrived for her first tour of Main Campus.

“Great cities need great universities, and great universities need great cities,” was one of the first sound bites President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart gave us when she arrived for her first tour of Main Campus.

But almost one year into her presidency, that assertion is no more sound bite than it is a monumental commitment.

We must hold Dr. Hart to that affirmation
and aid her and this university in making sure that Temple will serve as an anchor to making Philadelphia – all of Philadelphia, not just Center City – a great city.

Great universities are so because they possess a staunch belief in their students’ and faculty’s abilities. They are indebted to them, holding them responsible for their actions.This year alone, by our records, we have seen an unnecessary rise in underage drinking on this “dry” campus.

Not a weekend went by without some underclassmen getting busted for covertly trying to ferry 40-ounces of beer or Captain Morgan’s rum into any given residence hall. The day after Spring Fling, eight undergraduates were arrested for underage drinking. If you think we’re kidding, check out the crime reports posted on our Web site to see for yourself.

Two Temple students were accused of sexual assault this year. One of two rapes allegedly occurred in an underclassman residence hall. By our accounts, this sort of crime has escaped this university in recent years.

So, as Temple’s on-campus student
population gets younger and younger and more upperclassmen venture into the city for housing opportunities not afforded to them by Temple, something has to give.

This university must facilitate a mandatory program for incoming students, informing them about the dangers of drinking underage and the implications that type of behavior will have on their futures. It must hold student leaders accountable for their actions because as we have all seen, by way of recent headlines, what happens when universities fail at this goal. If we must spell out, we’d hate to see this university’s name dragged in the mud for the actions of a lousy few.

Great universities foster community
development, unity and empowerment.
Temple must make this goal a priority. Angry comments appearing on our Web site in response to a columnist’s view on the complications of off-campus living in Yorktown exhibits that this university still has a way to go in getting this community to stand behind it.

It means continued efforts to show this North Philadelphia community that it makes Temple and that Main Campus does not make it. Hart said this in her inaugural speech in March: “I pledge that Temple will be a committed partner and investor
in our shared community, and we look forward to a future together with anticipation and excitement.”

Let’s hold her and this university to that pledge.

We must continue these partnerships
and create new ones with zest and increased sensitivity to the needs of this important community. Temple students participate in Temple Tutors, a program geared toward
mentoring area students and helping these future leaders with homework.

In the quest to unite the North Philadelphia community and the city of Philadelphia in its mission to once again be a great American city, this university must first achieve that unity from the halls of the Howard Gittis Student Center to the brick-covered walkways of Liacouras Walk. This newspaper’s coverage of the formation of a Black Student Union here illustrated the urgent need for a united campus.

The uncontested election of the three top offices of Temple Student Government illustrated to us the even more pressing need to create a student body that is not only social and vibrant (check us out at our annual Spring Fling), but also politically conscious and motivated – a student body committed to, in the words of TSG, “end apathy.”

But most of all, this university must work toward erasing the negative and often inaccurate stereotypes about this community that pervade this large, urban campus. For this is the true path to community
unity and henceforth community empowerment that will take this once prideful community back to its roots. That is what will make an even greater university and a greater city.

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