TSG hosts first community meeting

Students and community residents discussed the proposed on-campus stadium and issues with students who live off campus.

Student Body President Tyrell Mann-Barnes addresses a group of students and community residents at Temple Student Government's first community forum on Tuesday night at Amos Recreation Center on 16th Street near Montgomery Avenue | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Student Government hosted its first community meeting for students and residents Tuesday night at the Amos Recreation Center on 16th Street near Montgomery Avenue.

The goal of the meeting was to make “concrete action steps” to increase student awareness of the community’s needs, said Vice President of External Affairs Paige Hill at the meeting.

Residents discussed the proposed on-campus stadium, which came back into the spotlight after President Richard Englert announced that the university is still pursuing an on-campus stadium at the 2017 State of the University Address.

Residents said they were concerned with parking, noise and increased student partying along Broad Street near Norris where the stadium is proposed to be built.

Englert told The Temple News that the university is conducting “multiple” feasibility studies for the proposed stadium. During his speech, he said the stadium would be a “multi-purpose” facility that would contain classroom, research and retail space.

Veronica Ayala, a 2016 architecture alumna, said TSG should use its influence with Board of Trustees to advocate against the proposed on-campus stadium.

“This isn’t just an ‘Us versus them’ thing,” she added. “This will affect us all in a bad way. [TSG has] the resources to spread that to the student body.”

Residents were critical of TSG’s reasons for holding Tuesday’s meeting.

“You all need to be careful, as a student government, not to be henchmen for Temple University,” said Ruth Birchett, a 1977 childcare and early childhood education alumna who lives on Norris Street near 19th. “It is an insult for Temple to use students, well-meaning students, to come and have a dialogue with the community when Temple has refused to meet with the community.”

Residents also talked about how students treat area surrounding Main Campus.

Guadalupe Portillo, a Temple employee who lives on Norris Street near Broad, said she thinks students don’t respect the neighborhood and its residents because of their own “misconceptions.”

“I have known a lot of students that have no respect because they figure, ‘Oh, I’m just around here for four or five years, so it doesn’t matter if I act up or the things that I do,’” she said. “I think so much of it is a misconception of what North Philadelphia is all about. They don’t really know people around here.”

Residents said students on their blocks often forget to take out their trash, have loud parties and leave empty bottles and waste outside residents’ homes.

Multiple residents also said that students have urinated on their homes.

Jackie Wiggins, a 67-year-old resident who lives on 20th Street near Diamond and Stadium Stompers member, said she has received numerous citations from the city because the students who live next to her leave trash on their property, which blows over to hers.

“And then Temple students call this ‘the ghetto’ and tell us to move,” she added. “It’s not right.”

Kenny Johnson, a continuing studies student, said some of his professors have “encouraged the misconception” of North Philadelphia as “dangerous.”

“They tell students, ‘Watch out for the neighborhood. The neighborhood is bad, people who live here want to do you harm’,” he said. “That’s not true.”

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