As officials scrambled to set up alternative housing for students during the Willington lockdown on Oct. 13, Student Body President Darin Bartholomew was looking for a place to stay after being barred from entering his North Willington Street home.
“I stayed until about 6 [p.m.], at that point I decided I needed something to eat,” Bartholomew said. “I was getting restless and I decided to leave and I was personally displaced.”
Bartholomew said he wants to improve communication in the future so similar incidents don’t happen during emergency situations. Working with officials from CSS and university communications, Bartholomew is hoping to improve a response to situations like this through various avenues.
“They’ve been very receptive,” Bartholomew said. “Temple always handles situations like this very well, but there’s always room to improve.”
Starting at 9:20 a.m., Philadelphia police and firefighters along with Temple Police quickly blocked off the 1800 block of North Willington Street due to negotiations with an armed student officials described as “suicidal.” The residents on this block were given two options: stay in their apartment, or leave in which case some wouldn’t be allowed back until the standoff ended.
The situation went into the night with no resolution and displaced students had to look into alternative places to sleep that night.
Temple officials were contacted by four of these students, who were eventually put up for the night in the Conwell Inn. Students were offered space to stay at the Student Center, but no one took up that offer.
Bartholomew lives two doors down from where the incident took place and was one of the four students who found housing that night in the Conwell Inn at the university’s expense.
He said he contacted Dean of Students Stephanie Ives because he had heard through word of mouth that was what others were doing.
Two email alerts were sent out by the university regarding the standoff on Sunday, Oct. 13. The first was at 10 a.m. and the second around 7 p.m.
Bartholomew said he would like to see a better way for students to stay updated on the current situation from authorities. He also would like to find a way to inform students on what the procedure is in various emergency situations.
However, the talks for an improved system are ongoing. Bartholomew said he will be announcing what is decided in upcoming TSG General Assembly meetings.
He encourages student input in the open forum section of these meetings on Mondays at 4 p.m. in Room 200C of the student center.
Marcus McCarthy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Marcus.McCarthy6.