On July 7, President Richard Englert announced his plan to retire by the end of the 2020-21 academic year, The Temple News reported. Englert is Temple University’s 11th president and has been the president since 2016.
Englert will remain the president until the Board of Trustees can find a successor, but hopes to retire by the end of this academic year, said Board of Trustees Chairman Mitchell Morgan.
As the Board of Trustees searches for the next president, the Editorial Board would like to remind the university that student input and participation is critical in finding one who reflects student interests and needs.
The Editorial Board wishes to outline suggested attributes for a new university president, and we ask the Board of Trustees to critically consider them during their search.
- As the Editorial Board is opposed to the construction of a new on campus stadium in North Philadelphia, we ask our new president does not support this project and is committed to curtailing plans for its construction.
- In this manner, we believe that the university’s new president should live within Philadelphia city limits, or specifically, North Philadelphia. If the university’s new leader has this connection to the community, they will have the context, compassion and creativity to lead in a way that positively benefits this city and its residents.
- The Editorial Board fundamentally believes active student participation in the Board of Trustees’ decisions is essential to the university’s operations. We insist our president works to increase student input in these conversations by amplifying student voices to the Board and facilitating student dialogue with the president and the Board of Trustees with town halls and designated office hours.
- Similarly, we ask for a president who is committed to increasing university funding for offices and departments that directly benefit students’ everyday lives. We specifically encourage the president to consider greater funding for Student Health Services, Tuttleman Counseling Services, the Office of Equal Opportunity Compliance, the Wellness Resource Center and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership.
- The Editorial Board watched how the university’s slow and sometimes inconsistent decision-making process has affected the student body this year. Specifically, Temple was one of the last Philadelphia-area colleges and the last state-related university to close at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also watched the university’s slow decision to cease funding the Philadelphia Police Foundation. We need a president who is unafraid to make clear, consistent and swift decisions that positively impact students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community.
We ask the Board of Trustees to interview and seriously consider a diverse range of applicants to find a president who adequately reflects the vast Temple student identities. To achieve this, we call on the Board of Trustees to publicize a shortlist of its final candidates and include student input in this final decision.
The appointment of a new university president is an opportunity to pave a positive new way forward for Temple, but this is only possible if the Board of Trustees actively seeks student input and works to strengthen the relationship between students, faculty, administration and the North Philadelphia community.
Student input is vital: this must be a community conversation, not a closed-door decision.
Jack Danz, News Editor, did not play a part in writing this editorial.