The Temple University Board of Trustees voted at their meeting on Tuesday to formally adopt the operating budget for the 2020-2021 academic year that was approved at their last meeting in May, which freezes undergraduate and graduate tuition for the upcoming academic year. This is the second consecutive year that the Board has frozen undergraduate tuition for in-state students.
The Board also elected two new voting members and approved multiple campus renovations, which will create temporary classrooms and reduce the density of student housing for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Tuesday’s meeting was quickly followed by an announcement from President Richard Englert that he will retire from his presidency this year. Englert, who took over the job in 2016, will not leave his post until the university has found a successor, but hopes to retire by June 2021, The Temple News reported.
During the meeting, Englert discussed preventative measures Temple has taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as campus reopens, like installing plexiglass shields, placing hand sanitizer dispensers across campus and hanging signs to remind students of the university’s four health pillars: the use of face coverings, frequent hand-washing, maintaining a safe distance and self-health monitoring.
Englert praised the university’s response to the pandemic, like the decision to convert the Liacouras Center into a makeshift surge facility and the College of Public Health’s creation of a contact tracing certificate program.
“In the face of a pandemic, historic economic uncertainty and significant social upheaval in our city and beyond, the Temple community continues to step up, continues to help others and continues to lead the way through trying times,” Englert said.
Englert also announced the Middle States Commission on Higher Education formally reaffirmed Temple’s accreditation as a credible academic institution last week after an extensive self-study and visit last February. The university’s next accreditation will take place during the 2027-28 academic year.
Here’s what the Board voted on Tuesday:
NEW MEMBERS AND RE-ELECTIONS
The Board elected State Sen. Patrick Browne, a 1993 Beasley School of Law alumnus, to serve as a voting trustee through 2022, and former Philadelphia mayor John Street, a 1975 Beasley School of Law alumnus, to serve as a voting trustee through October.
Additionally, trustees reelected Ronald Donatuci to serve as a voting trustee through Oct. 2021 and Patrick Eiding through Oct. 2023.
BUDGET AND FINANCES
Under the operating budget the Board adopted on Tuesday, undergraduate and graduate tuition prices will remain the same, with the exception of a small increase for the Kornberg School of Dentistry. The adopted proposal also reduced the budget by 5 percent from the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
The budget projected Temple will have 1,400 fewer undergraduate students during the 2020-2021 fiscal year due to increased graduation rates and the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget included a $15 million COVID-19 reserve in anticipation of any further increased expenses throughout the year.
The Board also approved Temple University Health System’s 2020-21 operating budget proposal.
The Board approved a $3.25 million proposal to lease additional bed spaces at off-campus residences like The Nest, The View and University Village during the 2020-21 academic year to reduce the density of students in residence halls.
The Board approved plans to establish the Center for Integrated Lymphatics Research Fund, a new research center on Lewis Katz School of Medicine’s campus that will be funded through an alumnus donation. The center will assist in research about the lymphatic system and help cure human disease.
The Board authorized Temple’s facilities committee to move forward with a project to replace two of the three existing boilers at the Health Sciences Campus’s central steam plant boiler. The project will cost close to $13 million.
The Board also authorized the facilities committee to design 10 temporary classrooms on the second and third floors of Paley Hall for the start of the Fall 2020 semester. The project will cost $3.3 million and will allow the classrooms to accommodate 50 to 70 people per room while maintaining six feet of distance.
The Board also approved repairs to Anderson Hall’s central steam plant. The project will cost up to $3.7 million.
The Board authorized the facilities committee to proceed with a project to add a new chiller to the Liacouras Center Chilled Water Plant, which will cost up to $2 million.
The Board approved the replacement of Wachman Hall’s switchgear power system. The budget for the replacement project is $1.5 million.
The Board also approved the facilities committee to begin phase two of four of a $4 million renovation project to Mitten Hall’s ground floor. This phase of the project will relocate the Diamond Club from Mitten Hall’s ground floor to the Esposito Dining Center.
The Board authorized the facilities committee to begin the first phase of the planned $2.5 million renovations on Ritter Hall and Ritter Annex. During this phase, the university will hire a professional design service to draft plans for consolidating the College of Education and Human Development’s faculty offices and administration to the lower four floors of the annex and office wing.
The Trustees approved a resolution to amend the language used to describe the second phase of a $5.3 million renovation project on Temple Rome’s campus. The renovation will turn Temple Rome’s library and computer lab into a “modern, accessible and inviting teaching and learning center.”
TEMPLE STUDENT GOVERNMENT
Student Body President Quinn Litsinger concluded Tuesday’s meeting by introducing BloomTU, the new Temple Student Government administration, to the Board. Litsinger said TSG has worked toward combating racism in the Temple community since May by advocating for the university to require students to take a mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training course before arriving on campus.
TSG met with administrators to encourage the university to divest from the Philadelphia Police Foundation, Litsinger said. Shortly after, Englert announced on June 26 that Temple will no longer financially support the Philadelphia Police Foundation. TSG also met with Campus Safety Services to develop guidelines for students to hold protests safely in the fall, Litsinger said.
TSG is improving its ability to listen to student feedback by hosting community forum sessions and assembling a committee of the presidents of Black student organizations on campus, Litsinger said.
Litsinger closed by encouraging the Board to continue listening to students throughout the year.
“As students combat the mental health ramifications of the isolation that has come from COVID, the financial ramifications of our economy’s shutdown, and confront the instances of oppression within our society, more so than ever I encourage you all to continue to consider student feedback in your decision-making,” Litsinger added.