Students call for justice

The Million Student March occurred Nov. 12.

Erica Mines chants “Missouri, we are with you” at the Million Student March Nov. 12, which started at the Bell Tower and ended at City Hall. | Geneva Heffernan TTN

Students gathered to march to Sullivan and City halls Thursday as part of the Million Student March and to deliver a list of demands to Temple administration.

Million Student March was a nationwide movement for students to demand debt forgiveness, free tuition and a $15 minimum wage for all university workers.

The protesters also delivered a letter with Temple-specific demands to Special Assistant to the President William Bergman. Seven requests were outlined and explained in the letter.

The protesters first demanded the university “respect the rights of Adjunct professors and all other workers to unionize.” Starting Nov. 9, adjunct faculty have been given the opportunity to cast anonymous votes on whether or not they can join the full-time faculty union at Temple.

David Chatfield, an adjunct professor at Cumberland Community College and Lincoln University, has been working with the adjunct faculty at Temple and United Academics of Philadelphia to organize the unionization and delivered a speech at the rally.

“Adjuncts have been terribly abused by Temple,” he said.

A university spokesman said in an email that “Temple University treats all of our employees fairly and provides competitive compensation. No full- or part-time regular employee at Temple makes less than $15 an hour.”

The spokesman added student workers receive varied hourly wages and contracted employees are not included, as their salaries are set by the independent contractors they work for.

Lydia Lynes, a senior social work major and policy director at Student Activists for Female Empowerment, drew up the demand for an expanded sexual violence support center on campus.

“The Wellness Resource Center doesn’t have continuous access, it’s overbooked,” she told The Temple News. “They can’t do justice to everything thing they do because they have so many services.”

The letter delivered to Temple administration also demanded the university follow all recommendations set by the Title IX investigation, which has not yet concluded.

Divestment from Israel was brought forth by the Students for Justice in Palestine at the rally. They demanded Temple sever all ties with companies that support or benefit from the “illegal military occupation of Palestine.”

They also called for the university to involve itself in endeavors to support Palestinians and to criticize U.S. Foreign Policy.

Former African American studies professor Anthony Monteiro also delivered a speech to students gathered at the Bell Tower. He brought forth the demand to rebuild the liberal arts program and for Chairman of the Board of Trustees Patrick O’Connor to resign.

Monteiro said because O’Connor is representing Bill Cosby in court, he is making Temple unsafe for women, gay people and transgender people.

He also criticized the proposed construction of a football field, saying the idea was “dead on arrival.”

“It’s time for Theobald to put students and education in front of profit,” Monteiro said during his speech.

An increased investment into the surrounding, non-Temple community framed the last two demands from protesters.

“Theobald and the trustees need to make a full relationship with the community before building the stadium,” said Isabella Jayme, a junior communications major and president of Temple Socialists. “We need a pathway project for Philly citizens so they can access higher education.”

Jayme added Temple’s Good Neighbor Policy is ineffective because it only encourages students to be a part of the community and does nothing to create action. She added Theobald and the Board should attend community meetings to learn about the issues citizens face and Temple’s involvement.

“Temple gets people from all over the country and the world,” Jayme said. “But those who live only a couple of blocks away can’t get an education.”

Julie Christie can be reached at or on Twitter @ChristieJules.

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