In an email memo from President Theobald last month, students were informed that Temple’s U.S. campuses would be closed Friday, Sept. 25 because of the papal visit.
Now, the university is considering closing Main Campus the following Monday due to transportation restrictions. The Benjamin Franklin Bridge closes to vehicles at 10 p.m. Sept. 25 and is scheduled to reopen at noon Sept. 28. SEPTA will resume normal operations Sept. 28 after limiting its regional rail and subway services for the weekend. Temple’s regional rail station is scheduled to be closed for the weekend.
Bill Bergman, special assistant to the president, said although Temple is looking into how it will operate that weekend, no plans have been set to shut down Monday.
“We will take into consideration what the city looks like,” Bergman said. “We know some businesses are closing that morning, but we are still in the process of deciding.”
Two university officials confirmed via email that the university plans to operate normally Monday.
“Operations as normal on Monday at this time,” director of emergency management Sarah Powell said. “We are monitoring the situation.”
In an interview last month, Jim Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations, discussed how the university is preparing for the papal visit. Main Campus was closed mostly because of transportation issues that would result, he said. Ambler Campus will be closed because of transportation issues between there and Main Campus, and Harrisburg’s campus didn’t have any classes scheduled.
Universities around the city have been collaborating in preparation for the visit, Creedon said.
“We’re seeing what they’re doing, and bouncing ideas off each other to see what will work best,” he said.
Drexel has cancelled classes Friday, Sept. 25 and Monday, Sept. 28, and will only be “operating with Essential Papal Visit Personnel,” according to the university’s Provost website. The University of Pennsylvania has cancelled classes Friday, along with the Community College of Philadelphia.
St. Joseph’s University has cancelled evening classes that Friday, and La Salle University will still have classes as scheduled Friday and Monday.
Creedon said “it’s way too early” to determine specific security measures that will be taken around Temple’s campus, and that those decisions will come closer to the event.
He added it’s tough to determine what areas could be issues around campus, but said a likely crowded spot will be the Cecil B. Moore station—one of the few stops on the Broad Street Line that will accept southbound passengers during the weekend.
In an interview last month, President Theobald told The Temple News he will come to Main Campus Thursday night and spend the weekend at an “undisclosed location” because transportation between Center City and Temple will likely be difficult.
Creedon said a barbecue with Theobald will be held on campus at 4 p.m. Saturday for students and faculty, and the university is still in the process of scheduling other events for students during the weekend.
As of now, students will still have to return to classes Monday, Bergman said.
“All options are being considered revolving around the city given that weekend,” he said. “So we are looking into it and will decide in the next couple of weeks.”
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.