Photo by JD MOUSLEY
BY CHARLIE TAYLOR Today’s not-quite-open forum regarding the building of a new football stadium on Temple’s campus didn’t accomplish much outside of bringing simmering tensions between the school brass and neighborhood residents to the surface. At issue was the fact that neighborhood residents were not invited to the forum, with numerous students and residents showing up to protest the exclusion of the neighbors. The forum proved to be a rather contentious affair, and Temple President Theobald and Athletic Director Pat Kraft were only able to answer a few questions before the protests of Temple students ended the forum.
Here’s what we did learn: The stadium will take two years to build and cost $100 million – a large amount, but preferable to the annual $6 million fee Temple will pay the Philadelphia Eagles to use Lincoln Financial Field. In addition, Theobald revealed that 90% of the concessions and all of the parking fees go to the Eagles at the Linc. He says that when Temple has it’s own stadium, those fees will go to into Temple’s coffers. Theobald also revealed that the tentative location for the stadium is between Broad Street and 16th Street, and extends from Norris to Montgomery. Students were glad to hear that they would not be responsible for any extra payments.
However, they were happy about very little else and made that patently clear, repeatedly interrupting proceedings with chants of, “Where is the community?” These chants began in response to Theobald’s statement that building the stadium will take two years. A woman, describing herself as from the North Philadelphia area, asked, “Why do you have these meetings with just the students? You should have a meeting with the community before you make up your mind to build this. We don’t want the noise, we don’t want more parking, we don’t want the lights.” This statement sent the room into an uproar and effectively ended the meeting.
Afterwards, I asked Anna Barnett, a junior at Temple and member of 15 Now Temple (which advocates for a $15 minimum wage for Temple employees) what the next step was for the students opposed to the new stadium. Anna said that, “We have been having meetings every week and this forum was unexpected. Now, we have to keep organizing and prepare for the next meeting of the Board of Trustees.” Hopefully, the Board is prepared for the sound and fury of its student body.