Trustees: Stop disrespecting neighborhood with proposals

Justin Nelson, a North Philadelphia community resident, criticizes the university’s proposed on-campus stadium project.

In my humble view, what needs to be addressed in regards to the football stadium awaiting to be built is a collaboration between the Board of Trustees and those of the neighborhood, directly. Need to remove all of the “middle of the field” people, like the churches and the City Council, speak directly with each other, those suburban white people with the neighborhood Black people, the majority who have been residing in the area for over 30 years and own their homes, where the stadium to be built is proposed. Need to then get a consensus, as those “under the age of 35” will not comprehend the gentrification nor the experience the rise in property taxes.

Those white suburban trustees, none of whom reside anywhere in North Philadelphia, can easily want the stadium to be built. But again, this total disregard and total disconnect the trustees maintain, then wondering aloud why no construction is even in sight still — mind boggling. These trustees, highly intelligent individuals, privileged and well-to-do, having made no attempts at even a common dialogue (those so-called town meetings, all a waste of time as again, too many “middle people” involved), just a waste.

As for the trustees, they need to sit down among themselves, and keeping it all fair, should construct a board with regards to the stadium, and add several of those neighborhood residents to the board, along with the same trustees/white people who will together preside, addressing all pending issues, present and future, and the board needs to issue common stock shares as well, equally distributed, regardless of the “race disparity.” As for term limits, those same neighborhood residents who will be the ones to endure the “wild partying,” the “noise” and so forth, can at least enjoy equal dividends distributed, based on the Temple football team winning! 

In simple words, trustees need to be equally weighted financially and invested with the community, not just some “bribe” in constructing one building that is to provide “social services” for which the City of Philadelphia does already. A day care center? Really? This is like a dog to a bone, throw the neighborhood residents something they can chomp on so as Temple can put its full financials toward the stadium. 

There also needs to be revenue sharing, not equally distributed, but generous so as the neighborhood surrounding the proposed stadium, benefits. This is all about money, plain and simple, and the trustees are still disrespecting the area neighborhood, not to mention the residents, many of whom have been in their homes for over 30 years! 

Temple needs to offer the neighborhood youth jobs, not just summer jobs but jobs all year round, those between the age of 21 to 30 and there needs to be a race-injection, meaning white/Black people associated on the regular (it is urban and North Philadelphia, so need to be mindful of the overall race majority, Black people).

There is this one gentleman from Berean Presbyterian Church at Broad and Diamond, a trustee, he would make for a good advocate in regards to speaking in favor of the neighborhood, but again, a board needs to be constructed and those same neighbors need to be a full part of, term limits all around, Black neighbors and white trustees who will construct the board entirely; rotating the board positions, maintaining the white/Black mix, will then enable the stadium to be maintained, along with those services required for upkeep. It just all starts with a real dialogue, back and forth, full mutual respect, with the “first hand offered” by the trustees to the Black neighbors.

Justin Nelson is a North Philadelphia community resident. 

1 Comment

  1. Temple is a non-profit institution that has been in existence much longer than “30 years”. They don’t have shares to issue, nor is there any profit that is shared with its employees or Board members. Temple reinvests any earnings back into its institution. The members of the Board are volunteers and receive no compensation for their services – I’m not sure what profits you believe there are to share?

    There are plenty of full-time jobs available to residents and non-residents, and not just young adults (I wouldn’t classify someone 21-30 as a “youth”). Temple also provides hundreds of millions of dollars in charity care to the local community.

    You are correct that there needs to be better dialogue so that any concerns of the community are heard and addressed. But you seem to feel like this should be a money grab for the community, and that is laughable. Concerns around noise, disturbance, construction, etc. are certainly legit. Of course trying to engage the community in a meaningful discussion appears to be a bigger challenge that trying to solve those concerns. At the end of the day, Temple owns that land and can likely do what it likes. Maybe the community should consider an alternative way of engaging the board to get voices heard?

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