Student, community organizations protest outside Board meeting

Temple’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance led the rally on Tuesday against the naming of O’Connor Plaza.

FMLA members hold up signs during their protest outside the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday. | GENEVA HEFFERNAN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

On Tuesday, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance rallied outside of the Board of Trustees meeting to protest the naming of O’Connor Plaza and the lack of on-campus resources for survivors of sexual assault.

FMLA was joined by other university and community groups like the Socialist Students of Temple University, IGNITE at Temple University — a women’s advocacy group on Main Campus — and the Temple University Hospital Nurses Association.

“We really want to make it apparent that this is something we care about, that a lot of people care about and they need to start listening to us,” said Elizabeth Olson, a member of FMLA heading the O’Connor campaign.

Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor, which the plaza is named after, defended former trustee Bill Cosby against former university employee Andrea Constand, who accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 2005.

The groups demanded the university remove O’Connor from the Board, establish a 24-hour rape crisis center and make the Board more transparent and democratic.

“As frontline healthcare providers, Temple University Hospital Nurses Association calls on Temple University to fully fund a rape crisis center,” Mary Adamsom, a representative for the group and a registered nurse at TUH, said to the crowd. “There is no higher good than providing healthcare to those in need.”

Jackie Wiggins, a Stadium Stompers leader and longtime community resident, was present at the rally and attended a portion of the Board of Trustees meeting. She said she wanted to support on-campus resources for sexual assault survivors and continue her resistance of Temple’s proposed on-campus stadium.

Pranita Kumar, IGNITE’s treasurer, told the crowd Temple should not have spent money renovating O’Connor Plaza, but should have addressed issues with Tuttleman Counseling Services like long wait times.

“Personally, I think O’Connor is using his wealth as a Band-Aid,” Kumar said to the crowd. “A new plaza for the students, and they’ll forget everything because we’re all that materialistic. Sorry Mr. O’Connor, not everyone is as materialistic as you are.”

“Our health is more important than his wealth,” she added.

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