TSG says it’ll plan community meeting with administration at second community forum

Community residents told TSG that they feel left out of university administration’s discussions about the stadium.

Community residents gathered in Amos Recreation Center on 16th Street near Montgomery Avenue on Jan. 30 for Temple Student Government's second community forum to discuss Temple's proposed on-campus football stadium. ALYSSA BIEDERMAN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Student Government leaders said they’ll work to arrange a future community meeting with university administration at TSG’s second community forum on Tuesday.

Faculty, students and about 15 community residents attended the forum at Amos Recreation Center on 16th Street near Montgomery Avenue to discuss the university’s proposed on-campus stadium.

Student Body President Tyrell Mann-Barnes said TSG will meet with President Richard Englert on Friday to propose a forum between university administration and the surrounding community — something residents said they wanted at Tuesday’s meeting.

On Tuesday, Englert sent an email to the Temple community, asking for student, faculty and community feedback about the proposed on-campus stadium.

“We need to listen more and become better neighbors by responding to their concerns on this and other matters,” the statement reads. “This facility would need to be good for our neighbors as well as for the university.”

Community residents who attended the forum voiced their concerns about the power the Temple administration has over the neighborhood, especially in regards to the proposed construction of a stadium.

Throughout the meeting, TSG members mainly remained quiet and listened to community residents about their experiences with Temple.

“Our job with this forum is to hold the administration responsible,” TSG’s Vice President of Services Kayla Martin said. “It should be easy to do with so many holds on the argument, as this forum has made evident.”

Some community residents said they have not been involved in discussions with administration about the proposed stadium.

“The administration can’t just keep saying ‘there’s people who want it.” 56-year-old Gail Loney, who is a block captain, said. “Who are they? Where are they?”

“I played in this playground, my children played in this playground, and my grandchildren play in this playground,” said Ruth Birchett, the block captain of the 1900 block of Norris Street and 1977 education alumna. “Englert doesn’t get to say if I have a say in whether they’re going to build a stadium here or not.”

Amos Recreation Center, which is adjacent to the area where the proposed stadium will be built, will remain untouched if it is approved, according to the project’s overview.

Mary Stricker, an associate professor of sociology and member of the faculty senate, said the faculty union and senate oppose the construction of a stadium.

“The administration has already made up their mind about the stadium,” she added. “It’s an insult to the community, to faculty, and will ultimately be a detriment to students as well.”

Jackie Wiggins, a community leader and member of the Stadium Stompers, said the she wants to talk to Englert about more than just noise caused by students, trash and lack of parking at the meeting.

“This is about our very livelihood,” Wiggins said.

Loney said the administration should also consider issues about construction damaging nearby homes.

“The university is making too much money on the campus for their little pittance of giveback to the community.” she said. “All we’re asking is for them to be a good neighbor. There is nothing good about this neighbor.”

The group discussed Temple’s mission statement, which mentions the university’s “ties to its community are strong and deep,” that date back to Temple’s founding in 1888.

“I grew up when this was the real ‘hood,” Loney said. “I have weathered the storm. I can say that mission statement no longer applies.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story inaccurately characterized TSG’s future discussions with President Richard Englert. It has been updated with the most accurate information.

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