Posted October 3, 2011

President’s Task Force to address community and student issues

President Ann Weaver Hart last week created a task force to address rising concerns prompted by Temple's growing residential population.

Over the past decade, the number of Temple students living in the neighborhoods surrounding Temple’s Main Campus has surged. As the community — both students and longtime residents — adjusts to this shifting residential mix, there have been increased complaints and concerns about safety, alcohol use, noise and property upkeep.

“These issues demand serious response and collaboration with students, landlords and community leaders,” said President Hart. “Such issues threaten the safety of our entire community, students and neighbors alike.”

The Community and Student Issues and Concerns Task Force will be made up of campus safety, athletics, community relations and housing staff; students; and community members.

Stephanie Ives, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, will chair the task force, which is charged with developing recommendations for a comprehensive approach to policies, programming, services and assessment with respect to student behavior, safety, awareness and related matters in the community.

“We’ve heard concerns from both students and community members. And we believe there is common ground: safety in the neighborhoods. That’s something we can all collectively rally around,” said Ives.

The group will convene in October and will meet bimonthly to make recommendations to the president on what Temple can do immediately to improve the off-campus climate and longterm regarding policy, programming and assessment. As it progresses, the task force will consult with appropriate university bodies and offices, including the Faculty Senate Community Learning Network Committee.

One of the first steps for the task force will be an environmental analysis to fully understand the extent of student alcohol use and the role it plays in personal safety, large house parties and quality of life issues. Additionally, the group will look at best practices at similar institutions to see what has worked. The task force will report to Temple’s leadership every two weeks, with final recommendations to be presented in January.

“We want to create an environment of civility and mutual respect where students recognize their role in creating a healthy and communicative relationship with the permanent residents and where incidents of bad behaviors are greatly reduced,” said Ives.