The Board of Trustees deferred action of the proposed on-campus football stadium in a public meeting held Dec. 8 in Sullivan Hall.
Chairman of the Board Patrick O’Connor said recent comments made by mayor-elect Jim Kenney to the Philadelphia Business Journal objecting the construction of a stadium on Main Campus are needed.
“We’ve had discussions,” O’Connor said following the meeting. “I’m not surprised, I welcome it. I think it’s a great opportunity for the mayor-elect to know more about Temple. I’m sure he knows a lot about it, but to know more about Temple, how this energetic football program has propelled Temple University.”
He said to the board during the meeting trustees have had “extensive discussions” about the stadium, and added some members plan to meet with Kenney to talk about it during the next couple of weeks.
The Inquirer reported the university planned to approve a study on the logistics of the stadium and preliminary designs, but the only discussions held by the board were the acknowledgement of Kenney’s comments.
“If the Eagles were living up to their commitment to Philadelphia and our public university, just as the Steelers live up to their commitment to Pittsburgh by renting their stadium for free to Pitt’s football team, there wouldn’t be a need for a stadium at Temple University,” Kenney told the Business Journal.
The outskirts of Sullivan Hall were surrounded with protesters of the stadium proposal whose chants could be heard in Feinstein Lounge on the second floor.
Immediately after the meeting ended, five attendees began a protest of the stadium, citing concerns with the university’s community relations and possible border expansion.
Tamron Hall—who was unanimously elected to the board in October—said, however, there have been open discussions about the stadium.
“This board, from my first encounter, have lived up to the openness that the Temple family deserve,” Hall told The Temple News following the meeting. “There’s transparency and openness on all topics I’ve been a part of thus far, so I’ve been very pleased.”
During the meeting, the board also raised a motion on to seek naming opportunities for the new athletic facilities on the former site of William Penn High School, and unanimously approved a monetary gift that will be used to fund an endowed chair in the School of Media and Communication.
Near the meeting’s conclusion, non-voting trustee and Student Body President Ryan Rinaldi spoke to the board about the football team’s success, and the growth of the university.
“This is arguably the best semester Temple has ever seen,” Rinaldi told trustees, citing the increase in applications and the “chip on our shoulder” mentality Temple students possess.
Following the meeting, Rinaldi told The Temple News there is a positive atmosphere among students about a possible football stadium. He added the discussion of it with mayor-elect Kenney will be an important part of the university’s decision.
Rinaldi also said he is talking with the university daily about the community’s concerns involving the stadium.
“Being heard in one aspect, and then knowing what goes on behind closed doors is another thing,” he said. “It’s important that as someone who gets to sit in these meetings and have these conversations with administration, that I’m a witness. The community is a big part, we are talking about different implications of a stadium on campus.”
EJ Smith and Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.