The Pan-African Studies Community Education Program, which provides low-cost, non-credit, classes for Philadelphia residents, is celebrating its 40th anniversary as part of Temple University this year. But for some participants, it doesn’t feel like PASCEP is recognized as an important piece of the Temple experience after classes were moved from Main Campus to a university building on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 15th Street in 2008.
Longtime PASCEP instructor Carl Ivey said Temple’s decision to move the program off campus was like “a slap in the face.” This wouldn’t be the first time Temple delivered disappointment to North Philadelphia residents. The program is now kept alive through a handful of individual faculty members and volunteer instructors’ personal dedication to educating the community.
A cornerstone of this university’s mission is providing an education to working people in the community who can’t afford a full-time, traditional learning experience. PASCEP embodies just that. The program is Temple’s hidden gem, and the university should promote, tout and fund this program more actively.
With Black History Month coming to a close this week, it’s important the university reflects upon its own contributions to the North Philadelphia community, which is steeped in civil rights-era history and Black excellence. Temple should recognize its role in lifting the community up by increasing low-cost academic offerings and giving PASCEP the support it deserves to make a difference in residents’ lives.