Temple’s Political Science Society hosted a one-hour discussion about the proposed on-campus stadium on Wednesday, with more than 25 students in attendance.
President of the Political Science Society and a senior economics major Taylor Taliaferro presented the details of the stadium and points of contention, and then posed questions to the entire group about how the stadium will affect the community and the university.
PSS is the only nonpartisan political organization on campus. It hosts weekly meetings for students to discuss local, national and international politics.
Since 2015, the university has received mixed reviews from community residents, students and faculty about its on-campus stadium proposal — some of them vehemently opposing the proposal.
Earlier this week, Dozie Ibeh, the associate vice president of Temple’s Project Delivery Group, and Bill Bergman, the vice president of public affairs, released additional details about the stadium that were supposed to be presented at Englert’s town hall.
Members from the three tickets running for 2018-19 Temple Student Government Executive Branch elections — IgniteTU, UniteTU and VoiceTU — also attended the PSS meeting on Wednesday. All three teams and the current TSG administration oppose the university’s stadium proposal.
Some students at Wednesday’s event said the stadium would help to improve the football program and save the university money.
Other students expressed their concerns regarding the surrounding community being gentrified and disturbing residents with partying, garbage and pollution, which are already major concerns for community residents.
“The efforts that are already in place for cleaning up the streets are very poor at best,” said Ben Griffin, a senior history major. “No one’s going to want to clean up after tailgates around campus, [Temple] is not going to be able to handle the amount of garbage that’s going to be dumped on the streets.”
“Temple students bring party culture that is disrupting to the community members, and a lot of excess waste and trash,” said Nathalie Bessette, a sophomore political science major. “Honestly, we’ve all been out on a Saturday and realized how disruptive people can be, and there are families that live here.”
In the newly released plans, the university highlighted “game-day fun zones” where students will be able to tailgate and gather before football games that are all on Main Campus. Some students at the event said they think this will only further disrupt the surrounding community.
Tabby Miller, a statistical science and data analytics major, said building the stadium will save the university money because it will no longer be renting out Lincoln Financial Field — something President Richard Englert said last year would save the university $2 to $3 million annually.
“Whether or not if you agree with if its morally right with the community, the reason that Temple is [building the stadium] is because it’s a good financial decision,” Miller said.
Several students agreed that the community should be included in the conversation, and the university should be doing more to invest in the community.
Yasmine Hamou, a junior political science major, said the university is not prepared for the stadium because it does not have answers to the questions being asked by students and community members.
“The university needs to step up and have these conversations and learn how to really resolve this type of conflict, or find some middle ground and talk with the community because they don’t know how, and it’s crazy,” Hamou said.
Students also said city officials and the university need to make an effort to listen to community residents, like Sam Trilling, a journalism and political science major and the secretary for PSS.
“Including the community in the conversation is not the same as having the communities reflect the policy,” Trilling said. “You can include someone in the conversation, but at the end of the day [officials] can continue and not act on anything people are saying.”