Student protest is part of the history of our university—dating back to the late ‘60s when Philadelphia students walked out of classes across the city and marched to the School District of Philadelphia demanding better facilities, African-American history courses and the right to wear traditional African attire in school. You can read more about this in the April 2014 story, “A History of Protest.”
History may repeat itself this academic year, however it may not be as organized 50 years later.
Protesters were present at the December 2015 Board of Trustees meeting, at the student forum last week and again at yesterday’s Board meeting. Chanting, expletives and rattling fences have become commonplace for any meeting between administration and students.
Lack of focus and disorganization yet again presented itself at yesterday’s meeting, only making it harder to understand the real discussion at hand.
We believe student protest is important. It keeps the university grounded in a sort of social checks and balances. Whenever there is a protest on campus that is fair and organized, students can be sure student journalists will be there to let their voices be heard by administrators.
But the protests we’ve observed lately are problematic. The Temple News has previously editorialized on the lack of structure and focus exhibited by protesters, namely mentions of police brutality and minimum wage concerns in a dialogue about the stadium. But we’re worried about more than just that.
Our biggest concern is the seemingly indifferent nature of the protesters to pursue educated answers to their concerns. The Temple News has been reporting on the proposed stadium since October—the very day it was announced. Other media outlets in the city are doing it well, too, and there are nameless students searching for these answers independently.
We were anxious for the Temple Student Government student forum last week. We hoped it would ease our concerns, as well as the protesters. While there, we heard students clapping, chanting and shouting expletives in demand of answers from President Theobald and Athletic Director Pat Kraft. What we failed to hear, however, was a moment of silence for administrators to answer these questions. We were listening, and hopeful for answers.
It’s discouraging when students pose questions, and fail to look for answers. The Temple News is in search of the answers and we hope you—student, faculty, staff and community members—will come to us for them in the midst of the proposed plan for an on-campus stadium.