Hopefully, Councilman Darrell Clarke’s proposed bill will create a dialogue, in which adminstators will actively participate.
When District Councilman Darrell Clarke introduced legislation seeking to ban student housing in a large area around Main Campus, a conversation between two factions of the North Philly population became obviously necessary. It became clear that the students and the long-time residents living in the area need to open up communication, some way, some how.
And while members of both groups need to step forward in order to mend relations, there’s one party that has been essentially absent from the conversation: Temple.
Although administrators have been told time and time again that some students are a nuisance to the community, the university has been successful in remaining a bystander in the situation.
While efforts such as the Good Neighbor Policy and the creation of a new task force, as reported by Amelia Brust on page 1, demonstrate that Temple undoubtedly is tied to its students’ dwelling campus, administrators have had a hands-off approach to Clarke’s bill.
Holding private Task force meetings reiterates Temple’s disregard for the need for an open forum.
After the bill was introduced, Assistant Vice President of University Communications Ray Betzner said the university did not have a stance on the bill because it dealt with land not owned by Temple.
This response paints Temple to be unassociated from the issue at hand. Yet, the proposed ordinance specifically singles out students as being intolerable citizens.
Temple doesn’t operate or handle students housing off campus, but it’s undoubtedly linked to them.
With the current bill in City Council, this is the time when Temple should publicly stand up for its students rather than remain silent.
Students come to Main Campus knowing that housing isn’t guaranteed and that living off, but near, campus is a practical option in order to attend Temple.
In addition to working with community leaders, administrators need to be vocal to politicians and work to help develop alternatives to a quick-fix ordinance that could have serious economic repercussions on the area.
Last week, Betzner said that the university expected its students to be good citizens in the city and that, for the most part, they are.
This opinion needs to be voiced to citizens and, more importantly, to City Council. The efforts underway by the university need to be discussed in an open forum, not in closed-door meetings.
By standing on the sidelines, administrators are publicly denying association from their own constituents.