Temple, be transparent regarding safety incidents

The Editorial Board urges Temple to improve communication about safety issues.

On the morning of Jan. 16, the Temple University Police Department responded to an incident on the 1000 block of Montgomery Avenue in which a Temple employee was stabbed in the arm. The stabbing was referred to as an “unprovoked incident by an individual who appeared to be in mental distress,” according to a message to the Temple community. 

The university was unclear if the suspect’s initial intent was a robbery, but the victim’s wallet was taken sometime after or during the incident, Jennifer Griffin, vice president of public safety, told The Temple News. Temple’s message did not mention that the suspect fled with the victim’s wallet, and was seen later that day using the stolen credit card at a store on Jefferson Avenue. 

Temple’s Department of Public Safety has not released a follow-up update on the incident, and the suspect has still not been apprehended. The information Temple shared was not updated, despite the danger the situation poses to all students, employees and community members on and around Main Campus. 

The Editorial Board urges DPS to be more straightforward with information regarding safety concerns and to share updates consistently on platforms that will reach all students. Temple students deserve to know the exact details of what happens around Main Campus, including police report facts and any updates they have on the case.

DPS may try to relay information to students as quickly as possible, but they should also prioritize accuracy by reviewing security footage and talking to TUPD and PPD personnel to ensure students are receiving up-to-date and factual information.

If Temple initially believed the incident to be unprovoked, and then later found out there were additional details, DPS should have promptly sent out an updated report so students could be aware of what’s going on.

In addition to the Temple Now message, a TU Alert was sent to students for an assault, but there was no update shared after the area was cleared that informed students the suspect was not caught. Updates on the assault were not shared on or reposted on Temple’s official social media accounts. 

Temple Now should not be the main communication channel for safety incidents. In comparison to social media, most students don’t check it regularly and students have no way of knowing when it’s updated because it doesn’t issue alerts. 

Given how essential student safety is, the university must ensure they are sharing detailed, factual and up-to-date information on various platforms like social media and Temple Now about issues happening on and around Main Campus. 

To truly protect its students, Temple should be forthright about the reality of on-campus crime and not dismiss incidents as isolated, unprovoked or due to mental distress. Being dismissive of the truth only lessens the safety of the campus community and the trust students can have in Temple’s DPS to keep them safe and aware. 

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