*updated Dec. 7
We continue to mourn the loss of senior Samuel Sean Collington, whose life was cut short by the gun violence that plagues our city, our region, and our nation. Since I learned of this tragedy, I have engaged with Temple leadership, city officials, and law enforcement in order to bring the full force of our academic and policy expertise to bear on this problem.
A student leader on our campus and in the city, Samuel was a beacon of hope who inspired his classmates and others to mobilize and take action to improve our community. To honor Samuel’s life of service and contributions, and those of others affected by violence, today I am announcing a series of actions that Temple University will undertake to enhance safety.
Over the next days and weeks Temple University will
- Increase our Campus Safety force by 50% and work with the Philadelphia Police Department to increase their presence off campus;
- Collaborate with city leaders to expand anti-violence initiatives to reduce shootings and homicides in North Philadelphia and across the city;
- Hold a forum for parents, students, and community members to have a conversation and share our plans on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. (View a recording of the forum.)
In addition, we will:
- Enhance and expand our safety infrastructure, adding and/or upgrading lighting, cameras, and emergency phones;
- Increase the availability of the FLIGHT shuttle service and implement improvements to our walking escort program;
- Organize instruction for students on safe behaviors;
- Expand our work with civic, business, and education leaders in the city to identify ways to keep our communities and campuses safe;
- Aggressively pursue federal and state resources available for safety enhancements; and
- Pursue the establishment of a university institute focused on violence reduction.
We also will continue to invest in, and support, programs that create educational opportunities, economic development, and research regarding substance use disorders, trauma, and violence reduction.
We will continue to engage city leaders, community organizations, parents, students, faculty, and law enforcement to harness the power of the collective will for change. The crisis is growing and requires collaborative effort across civic and business interests to stop the spread of violence. The answers can only be found together and through dedicated, prioritized cooperation.
We are committed to hearing feedback from our parents, students, and neighbors because we know there is more to do to enhance the safety of our community.
I deeply love this city and our university. We must come together with a shared purpose, and creativity, to devise new solutions.
Dr. Jason Wingard