The recent decision by Temple’s administration to exclude juniors and seniors from housing in school residence halls came as a shock to the Temple community, with little prior notice for students. More importantly, it raises serious questions about the path the University has chosen to take in expansion and growth.
Over the past decade, Temple has worked mightily to overcome its image as a commuter school. New dormitories were offered such as Temple Towers and 1300. Housing was created for students in satellite spaces like Presidential City and Franklin House.
Private developers built apartment spaces on the edge of campus like the Kardon Building and the promised University Village and Oxford Village developments. But all of this still isn’t enough. And demand far exceeds supply for students wishing to live on campus.
With more and more students from outside the Philadelphia area applying and being accepted to Temple University, the school owes it to them to offer on-campus housing if they so wish for the rest of their college careers. Instead, the juniors from Maryland, Massachusetts and the other 47 states are being pushed out of the housing they assumed Temple would offer for four years, just to make room for the newest set of out-of-state students.
Unfortunately, the impression this gives is of a cash-hungry university more eager to accept every possible incoming freshman and transfer student than to offer them both educational and extracurricular options students at other state and state-supported universities take for granted.
While Temple’s growing enrollment is both proof of the quality of education offered here and of Temple’s reputation, it also raises the very real question of whether more students are being accepted than Temple can adequately serve.
As housing for upperclassmen is being taken away, Temple is continuing with plans to bring the Tyler School of Art to Main Campus and embark on a massive expansion of the Fox School of Business.
Both are high-profile moves that will undoubtedly benefit the school as well as attract new students. However, with no plans for new residence halls, these moves will only increase the gap between housing supply and demand (something any Fox School student could see).
Such poor planning is sadly all too familiar. From the insanity of keeping a mostly commuter school open during snowstorms that preempted SEPTA service and shut down schools throughout the tri-state area to the bitter fight to prevent our own graduate school alumni from teaching here, some elements of Temple’s administration have pursued a piecemeal approach to interacting with the student body that is puzzling and disappointing.
And the announcement that upperclassmen will be shut out of on-campus housing just confirms what many of us have suspected for a while: Temple just isn’t thinking smart.