We wish to respond to the false claims made in the editorial “Dissing Orientation” [Nov. 6, on a student group criticizing Temple’s past].
Many of the claims in the editorial are open to interpretation, but one of its central assertions is objectively false. The author claims that “[I]t is lazy and disingenuous to suggest Temple has thrown people out of their homes … Hooter has never put an eviction notice on a rowhome.”
Temple University used eminent domain to literally evict 7,000 people from their homes from 1955 to 1969. The Independence Blue Cross Recreation Center, Student Center, Gladfelter and Anderson halls and Paley Library (not to mention several promising-looking parking lots) are among the things built where houses once stood.
If the author of “Dissing” had come to the DISorientation, he would know that the Progressive Student Coalition presented administrative documents, newspaper articles from a number of sources, community press releases of the time and other documentation to demonstrate Temple’s past policies.
It’s extremely disingenuous to claim that our group did not contact community members for its presentation because the presentation was a historical one about the 1950s, 60s and 70s. I suppose, we should have taken a time machine back to North Philly in 1959 and canvass Columbia Avenue [now Cecil B. Moore Avenue].
We did do the next best thing, which was to use all of the historical data, including voices of the community at that time, to present a grounded historical presentation of fact. We make no claim to know what the community needs now, but we do advocate that Temple administrators not repeat their past, in which they utterly ignored the community and chided themselves in letters to one another on their ability to “conquer” North Philadelphia. We will indeed be making an outreach effort this Saturday at the Church of the Advocate this Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
These are common sense goals that anyone should support.
Temple Progressive Student Coalition