Bruce Stronach sat alone in the Student Center yesterday. Stronach was asked there to speak to Main Campus students interested in whether he would be a suitable replacement for the retiring dean of Temple University Japan.
We suppose not so many were interested.
But, student apathy isn’t anything new. The exciting current of campus involvement that has struck North Broad Street for the first time in recent memory is only an increase when compared with our own commuter past, not other universities of our size or caliber.
When addressed about this recent surge in student activism at Temple, President Ann Weaver Hart smiled but had bad news.
As a student population, our interest in university affairs and the world around us is still dismal in comparison with what she experienced while president at the University of New Hampshire. We’re losing to the Wildcats.
The tired, old excuse about Temple students commuting and working too much to care is losing its solvency. There are 10,000 of us living on or near campus. Temple students have been getting steadily wealthier and, as a likely result, are becoming possessors of more free time with each incoming class.
There are only two students on the 16-member search committee.
Moreover, there were no representatives from Temple Student Government to speak to either Stronach or Matthew J. Wilson, the other candidate for TUJ dean. He was alone on Main Campus a week ago. If a true transformation is to be had, our student leaders need to enact this change.
Instead, it appears that TSG was derelict in its responsibilities to, as its mission statement reads, “serve the student body by organizing and representing its voice on academic and student life issues.” We need our student leaders and administrators to look beyond Main Campus. That earlier this month Temple was celebrating its global presence seems almost laughable now. Our students are stuck in a decidedly Philadelphia state of mind.
Our most public student leaders, like TSG President Juan Galeano, need to rise above the routine and rhetoric and engage students in all the important decisions, dilemmas and debates of our time. At Temple. In Philadelphia. Around the world.
Not just those that are sexy, like when someone hangs a noose from a tree as was done in Jena, La., last year, but those that matter most to the Temple community.
TSG was involved in the process to find a replacement for our last president, David Adamany. Former TSG President Oscar Chow was on the search committee that recommended Hart. But, our student disinterest in matters of lower profile but marked importance begins with the absenteeism of our student leaders.
Like when candidates to lead a burgeoning foreign campus of ours are fighting to play with an operating budget in near excess of $600,000 more than 6,000 miles away and they sit alone in our student center.
There are scarce more than 20 deans in the Temple community. Another one will be chosen later this year, without enough student voices.