Student Body President discusses Temple’s reopening on CNN

Quinn Litsinger criticized Temple’s decision to hold a hybrid of in-person and online learning for the fall semester, echoing an official TSG statement from earlier in the week.

Student Body President Quinn Litsinger speaks with Jim Sciutto, an anchor for CNN, regarding Temple University's decision to hold in-person classes in Fall 2020 on Aug. 26. | CNN / COURTESY

Temple University Student Body President Quinn Litsinger appeared on CNN Wednesday morning to discuss Temple’s resumption of some in-person learning this fall and student behavior.

Jim Sciutto interviewed Litsinger about Temple’s return plan and Temple Student Government’s recent push for fully remote learning.

“The university has put into place a lot of wonderful measures to ensure public health on campus, but at the end of the day, you can’t police every decision that students make, that community members make,” Litsinger, a junior political science major, said during the interview. “Sooner or later, cases are going to go up that could’ve been avoided if we went all online.”

Litsinger also said universities should not fully blame student behavior for the spike in COVID-19 cases on college campuses nationwide. There are 25 active COVID-19 cases among Temple students and employees as of Aug. 26, The Temple News reported

“I don’t think pointing fingers at student behavior is necessarily the right route to go about it when, again, it’s rather predictable that students would be acting in this way,” Litsinger said in the interview.

TSG called on the university to close on-campus housing and transition to virtual classes for the fall semester in a press release on Aug. 21, The Temple News reported

The university has no comment on Litsinger’s appearance, wrote Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News. 

Some members of the Temple and North Philadelphia communities have protested the university’s decision to resume in-person operations for the fall semester over the past few weeks, including on the first day of classes.

A CNN producer emailed Litsinger at 9 p.m. Tuesday night asking to interview him the following morning, Litsinger wrote in an email to The Temple News. Litsinger was nervous about the appearance, and said it was a “blessing in disguise” the producer gave him such short notice because it shortened the amount of time he felt worried. 

“The pressure I felt to make sure that I made good use of the platform I was being given and adequately represent the sentiments of students, faculty, and community members within such a short span of time, and within the confines of however Jim wanted to focus the interview, was quite large,” Litsinger wrote.

Litsinger has received entirely positive feedback from students about the interview so far, he wrote. 

“It seems we have the attention and support of the student body right now, which are the most powerful tools we could have to effect change,” Litsinger wrote. “I hope students continue to reach out to us about issues they feel passionate about.”

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