Students and community members met Thursday night in the Church of the Advocate to discuss their concerns and next steps for the possibility of an off-campus stadium that would be located at the university’s proposed site of Geasey Field.
The meeting’s main focus was planning for the group’s next meeting—which is set as an open forum with Temple’s Board of Trustees and local politicians. Invitations are being prepared for these groups to attend the meeting, Stadium Stompers leader and sophomore English major Philip Gregory said.
“We’re inviting [the Board of Trustees] and letting them know that this time it’s not just going to be an attack on them,” Gregory said. “We actually want to hear answers, we actually want to know what they’re going to do.”
Only about 10 community members came out to this meeting out of 30 total people. Some attendees were students and others were members from 15 Now.
The meeting lasted about two hours and included public comment, small groups for planning and status updates by each small group.
“We plan on staying on [the Board of Trustees]. Putting up flyers, canvassing, talking to teachers, talking to students, talking to community members– because a lot of people don’t know about [the proposed stadium],” Gregory said of next steps.
A student from Students for Justice in Palestine and Students Without Borders invited community members to a panel to be held in an undeclared location in the Student Center March 8.
Gregory said the total number of signatures on petitions for the stadium the Stadium Stompers had circulated is still unknown. A call was also made by meeting attendees for Beasley School of Law students to aid the Stadium Stompers in “exposing” Temple’s wrongdoings.
Rapper TANABLACK G.O.D, who lives in on 19th Street near Montgomery Avenue, brought a videographer and filmed some of the meeting to add to his video for his song “Let Us In.” This track uses protests from the recent protest outside of the Board of Trustees meeting.
TANABLACK G.O.D said he created this track to evoke emotion of worldwide struggles of the African-American community.
“I used to sell dope in this neighborhood,” he said. “I used to carry guns in this neighborhood, I got locked up in this neighborhood. And now I want to make a change in this neighborhood.”
“I don’t think everyone is against [the stadium],” student and community member Glenda Bryant said. “A lot of students are here for the semesters, and then they go home to some other state. Yea, that whole team spirit ‘Ra Ra’— of course [students] are all for it … but if you live in the community you may have different concerns.”
Community resident Ruth Birchett said she has been attending these meetings to continue a legacy of her father, who fought against Temple when they moved west of Broad Street. Her family has owned a home on the 1900 block of Norris Street for 65 years.
“I am so thrilled as a long time community member that we have Temple students who are really [standing up for community],” Birchett said. “And I think that’s awesome, we’re not accustomed to that.”
Birchett noted her concerns with the stadium, including the issues of parking and an increase in trash in the North Philadelphia area.
“To the students who want a stadium I would like for them to consider that their time at Temple university is short term. Our lives in this community are long-term,” she said.
Gregory said students should ask questions and not accept that the stadium will be good “just because someone told you it will be.”
“We’re not in the sticks like Penn State, we are in North Philadelphia,” he said. “We’re a staple of North Philadelphia. And while Temple does define a portion of this community, the community still is around.”
Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gill_mcgoldrick.