Temple, Philly SVU Investigates Allegations Against AEPi

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Temple University has officially suspended Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Allegations against the fraternity first came to light earlier this month – but now, three cases are being referred to the district attorney’s office. While no charges have been filed at this time – the fraternity’s privileges have officially been suspended. AEPi National spokesman Jon Pierce told Temple Update that they suspended the chapter three weeks ago.

After receiving what they call credible reports from multiple sources – Temple and Philadelphia’s Special Victims Unit are investigating at least three cases involving sexual misconduct, drinking, and possible drugging inside the fraternity house.

“I was really shocked when the allegations came out – because I hadn’t heard about it up until this point so I was really surprised,” said junior Sarah Mackus when asked about the allegations.

The first incident reportedly occurred in February – where a 19-year-old Temple student said she was indecently assaulted by a fraternity brother. In March – another 19-year-old student told investigators she became dizzy and disoriented – before waking up in a bed with a fraternity brother – and believes she was sexually assaulted. Investigators have not yet released details from the third incident.

Temple greek life has been discouraging members from talking about the investigation, but one brother from another fraternity said that if true, these allegations are unacceptable.

“You can’t have this kind of thing happening on campus or anywhere there’s no place for it,” said Russell Lily, a senior brother of Kappa Delta Rho.

The allegations against Temple’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi aren’t the only ones plaguing the organization – just this year AEPi chapters at Washington University, Syracuse, and Florida State have all been under investigation. Pierce told Update those investigations are unrelated.

Alpha Epsilon Pi’s National headquarters said they have not seen any evidence from Temple and Philadelphia Police’s investigation, but they are hopeful to have a conversation with the university about the investigation and their findings in the coming weeks.

“You know about as much as me,” said Pierce by phone on Wednesday.

As the investigation continues, Temple is encouraging students to keep the following things in mind:

  • If you are of age and you choose to drink alcohol, do not leave any beverage unattended, and be wary of accepting drinks from others.
  • It is also important to look out for one another while socializing—when you go out with friends, make a pact to stay together and leave no one behind.
  • Remember, Temple University has a medical amnesty policy that states that no student will be subject to university discipline for seeking medical treatment for the effects of drug or alcohol use, and this amnesty will be granted to both the intoxicated student and the student seeking help for an intoxicated student.
  • If you are suspicious of what a drink might contain or concerned about the impact it’s having on a friend, seek medical help immediately. Signs to look for include dizziness and/or nausea, memory loss, breathing or motion difficulties, and acting disproportionately intoxicated relative to the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • Should you see signs like these, call 215-204-1234 immediately.

Temple Police is also increasing the presence of bike patrols around the 2000 block of Broad Street, where the AEPi house is located, during the investigation.

Students we spoke with said that they think the university is taking the right steps when it comes to discipling the fraternity.

“Not even just on campus but in our society on a larger scale I think disciplinary action really needs to be taken especially early on so I think that’s a really good step they made,” said Mackus.

“No one’s really sure what happened but I think when the truth comes out it’s going to be really shocking and really devastating for all of Temple I mean it already is and bad for fraternities everywhere,” said Lily.

If you would like to report an incident or an anonymous tip, contact Temple Police at (215)-204-1234.

Norristown Businesses Flourish as Cosby Trial Continues

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The Cosby trial has thrust Norristown into the national spotlight in recent weeks – and the crowds are making some business owners in the local community pretty happy.
Pauline’s Deli is just around the corner from the Montgomery County Courthouse, and has seen a large wave of new customers within the last few days of court proceedings.
Amy Gentile, a waitress, at Pauline’s Deli for just over a year, says that it’s been pretty hectic around lunchtime especially.
“We’ve been working like machines in here,” she said Wednesday during a brief lull in business before lunch time. “Lunch has been crazy and I believe it’s put us in a situation of…survival mode.”
When court adjourns for lunch, there is only a short window to grab a quick bite to eat – usually just about an hour.
“We’ve had some really great people come in whether they’re jury selections and we’ve had a couple celebrities.”
And it’s not just Pauline’s that is reaping the benefits of the celebrity court case.
Alma Laguna, who owns Las Palmas del Sur, says they have been located on Main Street in Norristown for about four years, and they have enjoyed the increase in business.
“We’re doing good on lunch normally but on those days, we’re doing better,” she said. “All these tables here – and so many to go orders.”
The end of the trial is still a ways away, but local restaurants such as Pauline’s and Las Palmas are ready and eager to serve the visitors.
“I’ve really enjoyed the guests – I’m here to serve them. While we’re here, come on in!” said Gentile.

Medical Marijuana Helps Temple Student Live Pain Free

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“I’ve been just a person breaking the law smoking weed but I’m doing it for a good purpose.”

Temple sophomore Ben Said was just fifteen years old when he was faced with unimaginable pain that doctors struggled to diagnosis.

Treated with chemotherapy drugs, doctors finally diagnosed him with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder.

“I was eventually faced with a choice of either going back to getting two needles in my arm each week, or trying this supposedly much safer alternative option,” explained Said.

Said received his medical marijuana card just two months ago – but has been treating himself for years.

“I felt like I was doing something wrong, like I was a delinquent of some sort ‘cause I was breaking the law,” he expressed.

But despite being legal, Said still hasn’t been able to get to a dispensary. Due to the high demand for product, he said that he has called dispensaries only to be told they are out.

“Right now it is pretty difficult for some patients to get to the dispensary,” said Dr. Roman. Not only is it difficult, but many doctors are still against using the drug to treat their patients, and it’s still very expensive.

Down in Old City, Dr. Matthew Roman’s medical marijuana clinic, Nature’s Way Medicine, helps his patients get into Pennsylvania’s program.

But with growing support, he expects those long lines and high prices to come down soon

“I think what has happened in the past is just natural growing pains of a new progress,” he explained.

For students like Said, access to medical marijuana near Temple is limited – but a new effort at Temple Med could change that.

A Temple official involved with the project told us that the university is partnering with Laurel Harvest Labs to study medicinal marijuana. Located in Lancaster County, the research facility has proposed to build an 8 to 10 million dollar facility in the Mount Joy Borough, according to Lancaster Online. We reached out to Laurel Harvest Labs, but have not heard back.

The source told Temple Update that the university and the lab would be applying for permission from the state in the coming weeks to begin the research.

Said, a film student, is currently working on a documentary that chronicles his journey that he hopes will be ready for release sometime next year. He’s spoken to doctors, fellow medical marijuana users, and even former cocaine dealers in Kensington.

“I am trying to explore the idea that further marijuana legalization will help end the opioid crisis,” Said told us.

You can watch a two minute cut of the documentary here.

Former VP Joe Biden Visits Temple University

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Former Vice President Joe Biden addresses the crowd Wednesday at Temple’s Performing Arts Center. Photo by Cassie Semyon

Former Vice President Joe Biden is known to be a jokester.

But his speech Wednesday to Temple students carried a heavier note. 

A captivated audience filled Temple’s Performing Arts Center Wednesday night as Biden addressed the issues of leadership, getting youth involved in their communities and politics, and duty.

While former Vice President Biden never openly addressed President Trump or the ongoing political turmoil, he did reference a teaching by Plato.

“The penalty good people pay for not getting involved in politics is people governing them who are worse than themselves.” 

The former Vice President listed those who have inspired him with great leadership and duty including the late Nelson Mandela, Senator John McCain, and President Barrack Obama. The latter drew great cheers from the crowd after admitting that “all the memes are basically true” and that “he [Obama] made the first friendship bracelet.”

Biden also spoke about his late son, Beau Biden, who passed away after a courageous battle with stage 4 glioblastoma in 2015 at the age of 46. Biden, a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, was a bronze star recipient and a former Attorney General of Delaware.

Vice President Biden recalled how Beau gave up his seat as Attorney General to serve in Iraq, telling his father “it’s my duty.”

“My son lived the values he annunciated,” said Biden, a big theme of the night. He recalled his father’s mantra: “Your word is your bond – it defines who you are.”

Mr. Biden wraps up his address at Temple’s Performing Arts Center. Photo by Cassie Semyon

“It’s about being able to put yourself in the other person’s place it’s about being willing to share credit and give recognition…being willing to submit yourself to criticism and ridicule…being willing to take a chance to change the culture…”

Biden also devoted a large portion of his speech to women and protecting them from sexual harassment and assault. As Vice President, Biden spearheaded the “It’s On Us” campaign that aims to end sexual assault on college campuses. Before that, in 1994, Biden authored the Violence Against Women Act.

“Women hold up half the sky,” Biden said, receiving loud cheers from the audience.

“The greatest sin of all that can be committed is the abuse of power – economical power political power psychological power physical power.”

Before he left the stage, Biden made sure to give a shoutout to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, sharing an anecdote with the audience about his grandparents. “My grandfather would say ‘keep the faith Joey,’ and my grandma would say ‘no Joey, spread the faith’ – go out and spread the faith!”

The speech, which ran for just over an hour, was put on by Temple’s Main Campus Programming Board, who traditionally hosts a spring celebrity speaker. Last week, students spent hours outside TPAC waiting for tickets, enduring rain, heavy winds, and even a severe thunderstorm warning.

Temple’s Alpha Epsilon Pi Social Privileges Revoked Pending Investigation

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Temple University’s chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity is under investigation and has had their social privileges revoked until further notice, according to Temple University Spokesman Brandon Lausch.

“When students came forward with reports related to Alpha Epsilon Pi, we immediately began an investigation that includes Temple Police,” Lausch said in the statement released to Temple Update.

Lausch did not go into detail as to what the allegations were, and said the university could not comment further, as the investigation is ongoing.

Jon Pierce, a spokesman for AEPi International, said they are cooperating fully with Temple’s investigation into the misconduct alleged against the fraternity.

“If someone was aware of this happening and didn’t report it, we will remove them and work with authorities,” said Pierce.

A statement from Temple’s chapter of the fraternity stated they had “no knowledge of the actions alleged about [the] chapter. If we determine that one of our members is responsible – or even has knowledge of whom internally or externally responsible – we will deal with them to the full extent of our powers.”

In an email obtained by Temple Update, Temple’s Panhellenic Association will no longer being associating with AEPi. This is the organization that oversees Panhellenic Greek sororities that are associated with Temple University, including Phi Sigma Sigma, Delta Zeta, Alpha Xi Delta, Alpha Epsilon Phi, and Delta Phi Epsilon. According to the email, “Panhel and IFC are working diligently with Student Activities to pursue action and report the multiple allegations where necessary. IFC is not taking this lightly and supports Panhel’s decision to cut ties with AEPi.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted? There are resources available to you:

Tuttleman Counseling Center:
1810 Liacouras Walk, 5th Floor
(215) 204-7276
www.counseling.temple.edu
Risk Reduction & Advocacy Services:
Donna Gray – Campus Safety
Broad St. & Polett Walk
(215) 204-5870
donna.gray@temple.edu
Title IX Coordinator:
Andrea Caporale Seiss
Student Center, Office 314
(215) 204-3283
Student Conduct:
Student Center, Office 318
(215) 204-3286
WOAR:
Woman Organized Against Rape 24 Hour Hotline
WOAR will provide location on campus to meet with students as needed
(215) 985-3333
Student Health Services:
1810 Liacouras Walk, 4th Floor
(215) 204-7500
Wellness Resource Center:
Campus Safety:

www.safety.temple.edu

Students, Staff Walk to End Sexual Assault

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Roughly one in three women will experience contact sexual violence at some point in their life.

Between one in sixteen and one in seventy-seven men will experience contact sexual violence during their lifetime.

These staggering numbers are just one of the reasons why Walk TU has become a staple to Temple University’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities.

“We want to make sure one – we are creating a safe space for survivors, and two – we are trying to reduce the likelihood that sexual violence is going to occur while here at Temple,” says Liz Zadnick, Assistant Director of Temple’s Wellness Resource Center.

This year, 185 walkers braved the cold and rainy weather to walk almost a mile around Temple’s main campus for Walk TU. Just last year, the event, which used to be called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” was changed to create a more inclusive environment for survivors.

One student, Elizabeth Leer, said she was happy to hear the name was changed in order to erase the stigma around sexual assault.

“I think it was a really good idea so that women can walk too and not just men walking for women,” says Leer.

The route started inside Founder’s Garden, and then continued up Pollet Walk. After marching along Broad to Cecil, the walk wrapped back down 12th Street, past the Bell Tower, and back to Founder’s Garden.

This year’s keynote speaker, Chimi Boyd-Keyes, M.A., spoke about how a friend’s daughter was sexually assaulted, and that’s how she began her work to end sexual violence. She also hosted a leadership workshop and a community presentation to shed light on sexual violence and prevention.

The Wellness Resource Center plans to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) with multiple events, including Denim Day, free STD testing, and the annual Clothesline Project, which has been relocated this year to the Bell Tower.

For more information on how to prevent sexual assault and what you can do to help someone or yourself, check out Temple’s Wellness Resource Center website.

President Englert Testifies Before Senate Appropriations Committee

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President Englert seemed confident Tuesday after his testimony before the Senate Appropriations committee.

He, along with his counterparts from Lincoln, Pitt, and Penn State Universities made the annual trip to the capitol to appeal for the continuation of financial support for state institutions. That state funding was in peril just a few months ago, when the state had yet to pass the funding for the state related schools.

Last year, Temple received 156 million dollars. Thats 11% of the university’s operating budget.

“There is no better investment for a commonwealth appropriation than to invest in higher education,” said Englert when asked how he thought the hearing went.

The hearing, which lasted over two and a half hours, included multiple questions from senators about campus safety, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the opioid crisis. President Englert told the committee that Temple University Police, which has the fourth largest police force in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, all carry Narcan, and have used it to save a life before.

Another notable moments from the hearing included President Englert highlighting Temple University’s first Rhodes Scholar, Hazim Hardeman. Hardeman is a first generation college graduate who grew up just blocks from main campus. Englert told the committee that success stories like Hardeman’s are all made possible due to the discounted tuition rates Temple is able to give to Pennsylvania residents as a direct result of state funding. “We provide to our full time in state undergrad students a $12,000 discount – it total $250,000,000 your 150 million appropriation leverages a significant saving for our students. without, we wouldn’t be able to give a discount to our in state students, which totals $48,000 over four years,” said Englert.

Committee Chair Senator Patrick Browne told President Englert and his colleagues from the other three institutions that although there is changing attitude in Harrisburg towards funding the state related schools, the universities should not expect to see an increase in their funding compared to the last fiscal year.

While state funding for the university is used towards education, members of the Stadium Stompers were in attendance Tuesday to ensure that their voices were heard by their representatives.

“We’re here to ensue that the elected officials of the commonwealth understand that we don’t want one dime of commonwealth dollars going towards the creation of a stadium in our community,” said Ruth Birchett, a lifelong resident of North Philadelphia. Birchett herself attended university, and still lives in the same home she grew up in. She told Temple Update she has been with the Stadium Stompers since early on in their campaign.

Another member of the organization, Jaqueline Wiggins, spoke briefly with President Englert after the hearing, and she asked if he would be attending their meeting on Thursday at George Washington Carver High School. She told us that President Englert did not plan on attending, but that she planned to attend the Temple town hall event planned for March 6 in Mitten Hall.

“We’re looking at the president of an institution who wants to build a 35,000 seat stadium in a highly residential high poverty area where the gentrification that is occurring is due in some part to Temple University students living off campus,” said Wiggins.

A Temple University spokesman told Temple Update Thursday morning that “The university is holding an informations session open to all on Tuesday. We will not be attending the protest against the university being held tonight.”

New Congressional Map Being Challenged by PA GOP

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All eyes have been on Pennsylvania this week after the state supreme court released their own version of the new congressional district maps.

2011 Pennsylvania Congressional Map

Back in 2011, a Republican majority drew the former map, which was considered one of the most gerrymandered in the entire country. Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the map “clearly, plainly, and palpably” violated the state constitution.

The Republican majority redrew the Congressional map and sent an updated version to Governor Wolf’s desk last week, which he later rejected.

This week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released the new Pennsylvania Congressional map that is set to take effect for the May 2018 primaries. This map not only re-shapes the districts, but it also renumbers them as well. If you live in Philadelphia, you may be seeing a shake up in your district and represenation. The first district – currently held by Representative Bob Brady, no longer encompasses parts of Philadelphia. The first district is now in Bucks county, while the second, third, and fifth districts divide Philadelphia.

The new, 2018 PA Supreme Court drawn map

That poses an interesting problem for those who were running for that first district seat. Some have decided they will challenge incumbents – such as Willie Singletary – who plans to challenge Representative Dwight Evans in the second district. Other, such as Nina Ahmad – have yet to declare whether or not they plan to run.

The deadline to file for the congressional ballot has been postponed until further notice amidst the controversy over the new mapping.

Pennsylvania Republicans filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay on the new map – a Hail Mary that seems unlikely to be successful. Republicans appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling on the old map last month, but Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. rejected the motion.

Dr. Robin Kolodny, the Chair of the Political Science Department at Temple University, believes all eyes will be turning to the Keystone State as the primaries, and midterms approach.

“This primary season and this general election is going to be intensely focused on by national influences there will be a lot more campaigning being done especially in the southeast corner of the state.”

No word as to how the Supreme Court will rule on this latest appeal by Pennsylvania Republicans. President Trump tweeted out Tuesday he supports the GOP’s challenging of the new congressional map.

This new map is set to go into effect for the May 2018, but will not effect the March special election for the 18th district. The seat was vacated by Representative Tim Murphy (R) back in October, after he resigned from office following a sex scandal. Rick Saccone (R) and Connor Lamb (D) are running a very close race, according to the latest Monmouth University poll. Saccone sits at 49% with Lamb at 46%, with a 5.5% margin of error.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Temple Fights the Flu as Cold and Flu Season Strikes Main Campus

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It’s that time of year again…

Cold and flu season.

Last week, Temple Health released an email to students saying the flu has arrived at Temple,

Stephanie Berger, a junior, said she received the flu shot back in the fall, but she still became ill.

“It was not fun, I can tell you that. I did get checked out by Student Health Services and they confirmed it was the flu, so that kinda put a damper on my school work.”

Temple Student Health says they have seen more cases of influenza this year compared to last, but sophomore Quentin Nietz says he isn’t worried about the flu.

“Every time I get the flu shot I usually get the flu and I haven’t gotten the flu shot in the last several years and I haven’t gotten the flu.”

Temple Student Health has other suggestions to help students keep the flu at bay.

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Keep yourself hydrated with lots of fluids
  • If your experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay home, and avoid coming In contact with people while you still have a fever.

Temple students are encouraged to visit Temple Student Health if they are feeling any flu-like symptoms, including a fever, sudden dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing. You can contact them at (215)-204-7500 to schedule an appointment.