As the watchdog for the Temple University community, we at The Temple News are put in the very unique position to learn and analyze information about the university. It is, in essence, our job to know what’s going on.
Today is the first day of the Temple Student Government elections, and although we have never officially endorsed a slate before, we feel that we not only have a responsibility to our readers, but also to our community to share the knowledge that we have.
Each slate, “Owl Evolution” and “Building Temple Tradition,” both have shown a passion for promoting change in the university, as well as an understanding of the responsibility that will come to those who are elected.
After attending the debates and reviewing each slate’s platform, we have chosen to endorse “Owl Evolution,” under the leadership of Raysean Hogan, Juan Galeano and Priya Patel, as the slate best suited to lead our university into 2007.
We present this endorsement with the understanding that “Owl Evolution” is not without its weaknesses, and “Building Temple Tradition” is not without its strengths. The students on both slates have run a fair and decent campaign, and have presented quality ideas for improving the university.
Next year, this university’s administration will undergo a tremendous change as President David Adamany retires, and as a new president is named. We believe that “Owl Evolution,” is the slate best suited to usher in that change. Now more than ever, it is imperative that the student body be represented by a slate that has specific goals to improve TSG’s relationship with the administration.
Along with the retirement of President Adamany, Howard Gittis, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, will also be retiring at the beginning of the academic year. This presents the perfect opportunity for the student body’s representatives to initiate a relationship with the Board of Trustees, essentially some of the most powerful people at the university.
In their platform, “Owl Evolution” proposes initiating an annual meeting between the Board of Trustees and the student government. We feel that the establishment of these meetings is long overdue, and should be a chief priority of the incoming slate. It is encouraging to know that “Owl Evolution” feels so strongly about building their relationship with the Board of Trustees that they put the initiative on their platform, thereby making themselves accountable for overseeing this implementation.
“Owl Evolution,” of course, is not without its faults. There is a concern that Hogan, the current president of the Main Campus Program Board, is not as familiar with the practices and procedures of TSG as past presidents have been. Hogan is not an active member of TSG and, until recently, had not attended many general assembly meetings. Patel, the “Owl Evolution” candidate for vice president of academic affairs, is also not an active TSG member.
However, their slate is strengthened by the inclusion of Galeano, the current diversity chair of TSG. We feel that although this is the slate’s Achilles’ heel, procedural knowledge can be learned – new ideas and initiatives cannot.
In order to run for office, each slate had to present a platform, highlighting the key points of their campaign. “Building Temple Tradition” listed 18 platform points, a meager offering compared to “Owl Evolution’s” 37-point platform. Although quantity in no way reflects quality, “Owl Evolution’s” slate demonstrates both of these. Their platform lists points that are not only specific and of great concern to the university, but also ambitious and, in our opinion, highly achievable.
During the first debate, each slate was asked what the most important points in their campaign were. “Building Temple Tradition” presidential candidate Ryan Feldman said that it was most important to their slate to “improve the experience of every student at Temple.” Although this is an excellent point, the following ways that Feldman described to do this left us wanting more substance. According to him, that included improving Homecoming and Spring Fling, implementing a “TSG-Fest” and building school spirit.
Certainly, improving these activities wouldn’t harm the university, but as a university of this size, with this reputation, we feel that there are far more important issues that the candidates should be more concerned with.
Both slates mention the importance of building alumni relationships. We agree that in order for the university to continue to move forward, alumni support is needed. “Building Temple Tradition” is right to say that boosting student morale and support for Temple is crucial to improving alumni relations, but it is far more important that students receive a solid education and the necessary tools required to thrive after college.
“Owl Evolution” has introduced solid ideas for issues that greatly affect students, such as academic advising, class scheduling and housing. These are issues that affect student’s lives daily, not just once or twice a year. Improving the quality of the university as a whole is the only way to garner alumni support.
We offer this endorsement for another, more selfish reason. As students of this university, these elections affect us, much as they affect every other student here. Regardless of the outcome, we will have to live with the decisions that the elected party makes.
We have chosen to endorse the slate that we feel is best prepared to lead us into the new academic year, but we would also like to offer a challenge to whichever slate that wins: live up to your platform. Do what you promised to do. If we endorsed you, earn it. If we didn’t endorse you, make us eat our words.
Just as American citizens should not take their right to vote for granted, neither should university students. As students, we are given the ability to choose our own representation and to be our voice of the university. We have the chance to make a decision based on the knowledge that is provided to us.
We have the right to make an appropriate decision based on what we know is right for our own school. After all, no one knows better than we do.