Editorial: Open Doors

As the semester comes to an end, the Temple News would like to advocate for an open door policy.

President Ann Weaver Hart’s successor has yet to be selected. A task force evaluating student-community issues and concerns won’t release its report until a new president reviews it. We’re also not sure why a survey testing the GLBT climate on campus concluded last spring, but is just set to be released this week.

As the university ends the spring semester, The Temple News recognizes there are many questions left unanswered.

Since being accepted as the next president of the University of Arizona in September, Hart has remained silent about her time at Temple and her future plans. The Temple News has requested an interview with the departing president multiple times, but has received virtually no response.

And while Temple ends the year with a degree of uncertainty, we at The Temple News also wanted to point out the doors that have been closed this year – in a physical sense.

Top officials at the university deliberate and negotiate decisions that affect students and faculty, with little to no input from those two groups. Most actions are made from behind closed doors – whether it’s to axe a major or build a new facility.

Often times, Temple generates a faux sense of public engagement. During executive sessions of the Board of Trustees, the holds short open meetings to the public before or after the real conversation is had. There is no way for students to formally address the board at its meetings, either. The task force this year operated in a similar fashion, meeting privately throughout the fall. None of its reports or findings were released. This model is the antithesis of an institution of free-flowing information that allows for any genuine dialogue.

The university wrongly claims that students are represented in these types of private meetings by one or two representatives. It’s also impossible for a Temple Student Government president to represent the more than 36,000 students attending Temple. If Temple wants its students to advocate for money in Harrisburg, it should provide them with open ears in North Philadelphia.

The Temple News advocates for more openness to students and their input at all levels of the university, and hopes that with new leadership will come more transparency. After all, it’s hard to expect doors to be open across the university when its president’s are shut.

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