Temple Students Say #MeToo

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In wake of the sexual assault accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the hashtag ‘#MeToo’ has gone viral across social media and inspired many people, including several Temple University students, to come forward and speak openly about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.

Senior Katie Rink told Temple Update that she was sexually assaulted by a friend when she was twelve years old. She recalls feeling helpless and scared to tell her other friends about what happened because she thought she would be accused of lying and isolated from the group.

“I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t press charges,” Rink said, “I went along with it for a while because I was so scared.”

Rink saw some of her friends posting #MeToo messages on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. She had not shared her story with many people but after seeing the outpouring of support for those people who shared their stories, Rink also decided to post #MeToo on her Facebook profile.

“I didn’t do anything until five and a half years later,” Rink said, “From then on out, I haven’t stopped speaking about it.”

Rink is not the only student using social media to bring light to the issue of sexual assault. Junior Yasmine Hamou said that posting #MeToo on social media helps survivors realize their self worth.

“The #MeToo campaign helps women, young women especially, say ‘I don’t have to excuse that. I don’t have to let some guy grope me or do whatever they want,'” Hamou said.

Junior Laura Smythe, who also posted #MeToo on Facebook, is hopeful that the social media movement will lead to large-scale change in the way society views survivors of sexual assault, particularly on college campuses.

“Through campaigns like this and survivors being accepted and having their stories told it will create a better culture,” Smythe said.

While Rink said that talking about sexual assault can be a very upsetting subject, she is happy to see so many survivors interacting online and sharing their stories.

“A lot of people use social media,” Rink said, “It brings to light the issue that it’s not just me, it’s #MeToo.”

Meet Temple’s First Rhodes Scholar

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When 23 year old Hazim Hardeman was growing up, attending Temple University seemed like an unattainable dream.

“I’ve always described it [Temple University] as a different world for us,” Hardeman said.

Fast forward and the 2015 Temple graduate was recently informed that he is one of 32 recipients of the distinguished Rhodes Scholarship.

Hardeman grew up on 23rd and Diamond Streets, just nine blocks away from Temple’s main campus in North Philadelphia. When he was growing up, Hardeman and his friends would ride bikes through campus, trying to get into a world he thought of as distant from his neighborhood.

From the time he was a young boy, Hardeman’s mother always placed an emphasis on the importance of education. When she had to live away from Hardeman for a while to handle family issues, his grades slipped. When she returned and saw how poorly he was doing in school, Hardeman was able to turn it around so he wouldn’t disappoint her.

“Circumstances in my life took me away from my main focus, which was school,” Hardeman said. “When my mother came back in our lives I got back on track and became the student I knew I could be.”

After graduating from high school, Hardeman attended the Community College of Philadelphia. He said his time at community college helped him become a better student.

“I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for community college,” Hardeman said. “There are certain skills you need to have, like building relationships with your professor, that I was able to work out at CCP so when I got to Temple I was able to hit the ground running.”

When Hardeman got to Temple, he studied Strategic Communication in the Klein College of Media and Communication. He participated in the Inside Out prison exchange class. It was there that a professor approached him about the prospect of applying for the Rhodes Scholarship. From there, Hardeman received an institutional endorsement from Temple and completed his application, which included a personal essay. He submitted the application materials in the end of October. He was then selected as a regional finalist and had an interview. After that, he was notified that he was selected to be Rhodes Scholar.

Hardeman will attend England’s Oxford University and plans to earn a masters in political theory and another in sociology. It will be his first time traveling outside of the United States and he is looking forward to a new chapter in his life.

“I’m a scholar at heart,” Hardeman said, “Being at Oxford and being able to not only learn from the wonderful professors there but also from my peers is the most exciting part.”

TSG, Progressive NAACP Host Vigil Honoring Jenna Burleigh

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Temple students take a moment of silence in remembrance of Jenna Burleigh.

Temple Student Government and the Progressive NAACP held a vigil in remembrance of Jenna Burleigh. Burleigh, a 22-year-old transfer student, was reported missing by her father one week ago after she did not show up to her classes. After two days of searching, her body was discovered by police in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Former Temple student, 29-year-old Josh Hupperterz, is charged with killing Jenna after the two met at an off-campus bar. 

When he heard the news of Burleigh’s death, Temple Student Government President, Tyrell Mann-Barnes, wanted to give the Temple University community a safe space to grieve and remember Burleigh. TSG then worked with the Progressive NAACP to create an inclusive space to honor Burleigh’s memory.

“When TSG first found out about [Burleigh’s death] we were at Notre Dame and it was extremely heartbreaking,” Mann-Barnes said. “We wanted to create a vigil where we would have a sense of community and come together to grapple through this grief together instead of going through it alone.”

During the vigil, which was held in Founders Garden, students, faculty and members of the community had the opportunity to speak about their experiences with Burleigh and write letters of sympathy to her family. Burleigh was described by students and faculty as someone who cared deeply for other people and was always looking for ways to help the less fortunate. In her honor, the Burleigh family has created a charity called Jenna’s Blessing Bags for the Homeless, which will provide free backpacks to the homeless. 

Temple University President Richard Englert speaks at Jenna Burleigh’s on-campus vigil.

Temple University President Richard Englert spoke to the crowd about the impact Burleigh made on campus during her short time as a Temple University student.

“I am so impressed with how the Temple University community has responded,” Englert said, “She [Burleigh] is a remarkable woman who had been at Temple for a few days and already she has won the hearts of the Temple community. This is why I am so proud to be at Temple University.”

Mann-Barnes also spoke about on-campus resources that are available to students who are dealing with the loss of Burleigh.

“It is okay to be upset. This is a horrible event and I think it is important to acknowledge the resources we have here on campus,” said Mann-Barnes, “Whether that means going to the Tuttleman Counseling Service, the Wellness Resource Center, or talking to your professors, you do not have to go through it alone because all of us are grappling through this together.”

Construction Continues on New Wellness Center

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Just ten months after breaking ground in August 2016, construction on Temple University’s new Health and Wellness Center is well under way. John Doman, Director of Campus Recreation at Temple, said the new center will have more amenities for students to use in addition to the IBC and TUFF recreation centers. According to Doman, one of the most ideal things about the new facility is the space for weight rooms available to students.

“We’re always looking to improve recreation facilities for students,” said Doman, “One of the areas that we found we were most lacking was the free weight space.”

While the new center is expected to provide students with more amenities, the noise associated with the construction is disrupting some students. Brooke Damore is a senior at Temple who lives across from the construction site on 16th Street. She said the construction impacts her daily routine.

“On a normal day, Monday through Friday, they usually start construction between six and eight in the morning,” Damore said, “I’m a late night person so I don’t go to bed until later to begin with and my classes aren’t until later in the day so it [the construction] wakes me up every morning.”

In response to noise complaints like Damore’s, the university issued a statement saying, “Temple University cares about the impact construction projects may have on nearby residents. We do our best to mitigate any issues and respond to concerns raised by community members who live near construction sites.”

Connecting TU Campaigns for Your Vote in the 2017 TSG Election

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Temple University junior, Ari Abramson, has spent the past six months assembling a team and creating a platform to run for Temple Student Government President. His team, called Connecting TU, is one of two campaigns vying to represent Temple’s student body in the upcoming academic year.

“Since coming to campus in the fall of 2014 I’ve gotten involved with a number of initiatives and a number of clubs,” said Abramson, “I felt at this point in my college career it is the best possible time to run for this position.”

Connecting TU’s platform is made up of three sections: responding to student need, building a sustainable future and enhancing the Temple experience.  In responding to student need, Connecting TU looks to advocate for services that students at Temple have requested such as LGBTQIA+ resources, improving the financial aid process and supporting resources for survivors of sexual assault. Vice Presidential candidate, Dalia Al-Bataineh, said that, if elected, Connecting TU plans to support Women Organized Against Rape’s newly-opened satellite office on main campus. The satellite office offers survivors of sexual assault with a 24/7 hotline number and one-on-one counseling services.
“We want to work with the Women Organized Against Rape Center to help promote them,” said Al-Bataineh, “All students should have that hotline number in their phones just like they do with the Temple Police phone number.”

In building a sustainable future, Connecting TU looks to tackle issues such as strengthening alumni relations, making SEPTA more accessible to students and strengthening the relationship between Temple students and the North Philadelphia community. Abramson said his team wants to work closely with the Good Neighbor Initiative to maintain a strong relationship.

“The relationship between Temple Student government at the Good Neighbor Initiative is key,” said Abramson, “I want to make sure that me and potentially another member of my administration is sitting on the Good Neighbor Committee and supporting their initiatives.”

Temple’s Walk to End Sexual Violence Rebrands

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Temple University’s annual walk to end sexual violence has changed names from Walk A Mile in Her Shoes to Walk TU. This change comes after members of the Temple community pushed for a more inclusive event.

Tom Johnson, Assistant Director of the Wellness Resource Center, said that the change in name allows more people to participate in the event. 

“[Walk A Mile] was a hit in the sense that our registration numbers went up every year over the five years we did it but every year we evaluate our events and Walk A Mile had evolved over the years and had become the kickoff for Sexual Assault Awareness Month here on campus,” Johnson said, “When you look at the event, only male-identified students could participate in it so there were populations who were left out in terms of the conversation and in participation.”

According to Johnson, Walk TU’s message remains the same as that of Walk A Mile regardless of the rebranding. 

“We’re not going to be handing out red heels to individuals but beyond that you’re still going to see, in force, several hundred Temple students walking on campus saying that they want to see an end to sexual violence,” Johnson said.

Many Temple students had a positive response to the change in name. Kirseten Vagle, a junior at Temple, said the rebranding of the event allows for the topic of sexual assault prevention to become more widespread.

“I think it really speaks to how we are talking about sexual violence in this country and how it affects everyone, not just mothers and daughters,” said Vagle, “It affects every single demographic no matter how you identify.”

Johnson hopes that Walk TU helps send a strong message about sexual assault prevention.

“We understand that interpersonal and sexual violence can impact any member of our community and we want to make sure that this event sends that message that we understand that any member of our community may be a survivor of interpersonal violence,” said Johnson, “We want to make sure that people understand that Temple is committed to trying to end sexual violence against all members of our community.”

February Heat Wave Hits Philadelphia

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Philadelphia has been experiencing some unprecedented high temperatures for the month of February this week, with highs in the mid sixties and low seventies. Temple students have been out on campus in full force in places like Beury Beach and Founder’s Garden.

The last time February was this warm was in 1874, when the high temperature was 75 degrees. This record could be broken on Thursday afternoon, as temperatures are expected to reach the mid-seventies.

Students have been enjoying lunch outside, studying on Beury Beach and playing sports on Geasey Field. They say Temple’s campus transforms into a happier place when the weather turns this warm.

Temple Update’s Hannah McComsey headed to the Bell Tower to get the scoop on how fellow Owls are spending their week in the warm weather.

Fall Break Schedule for Residence Halls and Campus Facilities

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fall-templeFall break at Temple University will begin on Monday, November 21st and extend through Sunday, November 27th and will have an impact on residence halls, dining halls and other campus facilities.

The residence halls on campus will close on Saturday, November 19th at 12:00 p.m. and reopen for students on Saturday, November 26th at 10:00 a.m. Students are expected to vacate the residence halls unless they have an approved housing extension from the university. Students who have approved housing extensions should be advised that the last meal period before break will be dinner on Friday, November 18th and the dining halls will reopen for brunch on Sunday, November 27th.

Paley Library will operate on a modified schedule from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday, November 21st to Wednesday, November 23rd. The library will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and reopen on modified hours on Friday, November 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The library will operate under its normal weekday hours beginning Monday, November 28th.

The TECH Center will also be operating on a modified schedule beginning Sunday, November 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday November 21st and Tuesday November 22nd from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be closed from Thursday, November 24th to Saturday November 26th.

Classes will resume on Monday, November 28th.

Donate Life America Encourages Temple Students to Become Organ Donors

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A volunteer hangs tags on the library fence to represent students who are organ donors.
A volunteer hangs tags on the library fence to represent students who are organ donors.

Members of the organization Donate Life America were on Liacouras Walk this week raising awareness about the need for organ donations in the United States. Members of the Donate Life team wore their organization’s t-shirts and helped register students throughout the week. Temple students who signed up to be a first-time organ donor were given a green wristband to attach to the fence surrounding the library construction next to a sign that read, “Waiting for the new library is annoying, waiting for a new organ is a matter of life and death.”

Donate Life’s goal is to register 600 Temple students as organ donors by Friday, November 18th. To learn more about organ donation or to sign up to become an organ donor click here.

TSG Initiative Provides Shuttle Service for Students on Election Day

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Temple University is helping students get out to the polls by running a shuttle system from the student center. The shuttle is a part of an initiative to make student voting an easier process.

Temple Student Government President, Aron Cowen, commented about this responsibility; “this is something that has been done 4 years ago and its something we wanted to continue to do when we were looking for ways to increase student turnout for elections”.

Temple Update’s very own correspondent, Hannah McComsey, rode the shuttle with several students to see how well the system works. The shuttle was quick and efficient, but many students aren’t aware of the resource and are finding out about it through last-minute word-of-mouth.

Sophomore, Kalieyah Lahens, got a text from her friend the morning of election day and decided to try the shuttle instead of walking to her polling place. “I think it well it was a lot easier to get here because I didn’t really know where I was going.”

The Temple Shuttles run until about 4 pm. on election night constantly dropping students off at polling places within the area. The shuttles travel in a loop to ensure that all Temple students who are going out to cast their vote are able to get to and from their polling places.