Following Temple Student Government’s campus safety town hall on Jan. 23, TSG held a second forum Thursday, this time giving students the opportunity to participate in a Question and Answer session with President Jason Wingard, Jennifer Griffin, vice president of public safety, and Student Body President Gianni Quattrocchi.
“What we need most of all from our students is to hear their concerns, their feedback and what they like to see and also to keep in mind that what we do to address campus safety is a collaborative effort,” Quattrocchi said at the Temple Performing Arts Center Thursday.
In his opening statement at the town hall, Wingard highlighted his focal points for the student experience, including education, mental health and safety.
”So the number one question, coming back to it, that I have asked and that I know you all have asked, is what are we doing, Temple University to keep students safe?” Wingard said.
Here’s what happened at Thursday’s town hall.
Safety and Crime Prevention
Griffin shared that Temple police and security officers went through active shooter training during winter break. The campus safety communications team also practiced its protocols for responding and communicating during an active intruder situation.
When asked by a student if Temple could expand Campus Safety Service’s patrol zone, which extends from Susquehanna Avenue to Girard Avenue and from 9th Street to 18th Street, Griffin said an agreement with the Philadelphia Police Department prevents them from expanding the zone past a certain point.
“We work hand in hand with Philadelphia,” Griffin said. “We’re not going to expand, like I said. It is not within our resources. So, it’s about doing the job that we’re meant to do here and being responsive to that and then working with Philadelphia.”
Communication and Collaboration
In response to a student’s question about increasing campus safety’s presence on and around campus, Wingard asked the student for suggestions on how to better engage with the community.
The student suggested self-defense sessions for students and community members and the implementation of a freshman seminar to educate them on how to engage with and better understand Temple’s surrounding areas.
In an effort to engage with the community, Temple also works with early childhood centers and food pantries and provides mental health services and drug tests, Wingard said.
“We still have to work together, though, to build a collaborative and aligned organization,” Wingard said. “So there’s a lot of barriers out there such as being able to hire the highly qualified officers and staff that we really need. There’s a lot of barriers to the systemic dilemma that we are finding ourselves in.”
Campus Safety hopes to hold executive leadership meetings with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Philadelphia Police Department and Campus Safety leadership to discuss crime reduction strategies and future collaborations.
“Regardless of where we’re at with safety, how much better or how much worse we are compared to some universities,” Quattrocchi said. “Our top goal isn’t to win a competition, our top goal is to keep students as safe as possible.”
Griffin reminded students of safety resources available, including the RAVE Guardian app, FLIGHT shuttles, TUalert system and the Best Nest Program, which launched in November 2022, and provides students with off-campus housing resources like Best Nest certified listings.
She also reemphasized recent campus safety actions mentioned at the first town hall, including enhanced lighting and camera audits and plans to increase Code Blue phones and hire a director of messaging and communications for campus safety.
“We do have a lot of resources, we do have a strategy moving forward,” Griffin said. “We need to do a better job of communicating, communicating these things.”
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