Hart addresses student concerns at yesterday’s TSG meeting.
President Ann Weaver Hart addressed the Temple Student Government General Assembly yesterday, Oct. 10, to directly answer students’ questions.
Hart mentioned financial aid and the decrease in work study opportunities, building up Temple’s academic reputation and student housing issues in her near 45-minute speech.
TSG Student Body President Colin Saltry said some of the most common questions related to financial aid and Hart’s successor next year, but Hart said she has no role in choosing her successor.
“In higher education, it is a custom–unlike in major corporations–for faculty, staff, students and primarily trustees to be solely responsible for the selection of the new president. In that cultural norm, it would be considered inappropriate for me to get involved in picking my own successor or even actively engage in that process,” Hart said.
When discussing the university’s financial aid situation, Hart apologized on behalf of the university for problems with the enterprise database system, Temple’s computer program to process financial aid requests.
“[It was a] perfect storm of increased need for financial aid, increased dollars, over $3 million being available just for our institution, increased demand, and a database that was taking much longer to confirm,” Hart said.
Temple switched from ISIS, the previous outdated software system that was developed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1985, to Self-Service-Banner this fall in an attempt to modernize the system.
Many students received letters saying their registration would be canceled before receiving their bill from the university due to ISIS’s inability to process financial aid. Hart said that to rectify the problem, the financial aid office would work on Saturdays to answer the approximately 8,000 calls that had flooded phone lines, with some people being transferred from other parts of the office to help.
“I’ve worked at four universities. This is now the fourth time I’ve had to go through an enterprise database system switch,” Hart said.
Hart also mentioned the Community and Student Issues and Concerns Task Force and the 20/20 plan, which she said, while flexible, was developed with full neighbor participation, however, not full neighbor approval.
“Every university that has a major residential life component with which I have worked, and this is my third, has gone through those growing pains of working out how to best live together, recognizing that we are at very different stages of our lives.”
Hart added that she does not know how the project will influence her successor.
Sophomore Marianna Morris said the speech was informative.
“She’s a really good public speaker. She addressed questions really well,” she said. “There’s only so much she can really touch on because she is basically the leader of the entire university, so they can’t expect her to know everything.”
“I wasn’t expecting anything, so everything was, like, a plus for me,” freshman Neil Graywal, a public health major said.
Of the nine questions asked, four were from TSG representatives.
Saltry said that any questions not answered yesterday would be sent to Hart, with replies to come in the next week or so.
Amelia Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.