State Budget Stalemate Could Impact Temple Tuition Beginning Spring 2018

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Temple students may be footing the bill after a state budget standoff has left Temple scrambling to make up for lost funds.

If lawmakers can’t pass a funding package that would provide appropriations for state related schools within the next few weeks, Pennsylvania residents who receive a $12,000 discount annually will see a hike in their bill come November.

“So, if we were to get defunded, and lose all 156 million, there’s really no other option then to get rid of that in-state discount, and really [start] equalizing the tuitions. So we would be bringing the in-state tuition to the [same] level as the out-of-state. We’d have to do that because by receiving no funding, there is no reason to provide a discount, and we simply couldn’t do it,” said Ken Kaiser, Chief Financial Officer of Temple University.

This isn’t the first time that Temple has had to face the prospect of losing state funding. Just two years ago, the state went eight months without appropriating money to its state associated institutions. But Kaiser said this time it’s different.

“That had a whole different look and feel to that situation. There was never talk of ‘well maybe we just won’t fund the state related universities,’ it was really about negotiating on getting the final pieces of the budget put together…this time is completely different,” Kaiser said. “I mean there’s talk right off the bat that you know is it important to fund these schools, so you know whole different approach if we went past spring without reacting to that, the university would be looking at a 156 million dollar, you know, budget/cash issue.”

And Temple officials aren’t the only ones who see the problem should these state institutions not be funded.

“If the tuition at these institutions gets any higher, higher educational opportunities for Pennsylvania’s working class families, which frequently look to these institutions for opportunities in higher ed will become out of reach,” Representative Thomas Murt (R – 152nd District) in Harrisburg on Wednesday. “I am a graduate of Penn State. I currently am a Doctoral student at Temple University. My wife is a full time professor at Temple and I have a son who’s a sophomore at Temple University. We are still in the throws of higher education. We see the tuition bills and we are very empathetic to what will happen if this funding is not forthcoming in the near future.”

Representatives across the aisle agree.

“This breaks a long standing generational commitment to Pennsylvania students and families that the legislature has had for many, many years to help with higher education so that we can better train our young people and make sure they are better taken care of, and become very productive tax-paying citizens of our commonwealth,” said Representative Joe Markosek (D – 25th District).

But with no end in sight, Temple is prepared to step in to make ends meet – even if it means students have to face a hike in tuition.

Kaiser said that if a tuition hike were to happen, it would start in the spring 2018 semester. Spring bills are set to be posted November 27th, and Kaiser estimates a final tuition decision will be made by November 20th depending on forthcoming appropriation news from Harrisburg.

There are just six days of scheduled House sessions before that November 20th deadline.

Library Construction Back on Schedule Following Setback

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Temple University’s new library is on the rise, but Temple’s construction manger, Dozie Ibeh, says getting here wasn’t an easy process.

Construction began on the library last year… But then complications slowed their progress. The original design included concrete, which put the project over budget.

“Thats why I say it’s an iterative process. You establish a budget you design a building. You get out of the market what the market tells you and as a department, you have to adjust accordingly.”

To adjust, they changed the library’s structure from concrete to steel…saving the university ten million dollars, as well as changing how they’re installing glass.

These adjustments put the project back on track.

“We’re very optimistic that we’ll meet our schedule, but its still construction and anything can happen,” admitted Ibeh. “What you’ve been observing in our business is that it takes a long time to get out of the ground. You’re observing a lot of waterproofing a lot of foundation walls.”

Currently, the Book Vault is being constructed, and the walls are going up, letting students catch a glimpse of the work being done behind the fence.

One thing’s for sure: it can only go up from here.

Community Reacts After Jewish Cemetery Vandalized

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Community volunteers were out in full force to help with the cleanup after vandals desecrated over one hundred tomb stones at Mount Carmel cemetery. And while the destruction has brought the community together, many are fearful that this attack – is just the beginning.

“I can’t believe people would actually come to not only like a Jewish cemetery but any type of cemetery and just smash headstones,” said Mitchell Pisarz, a sophomore brother of Temple’s Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi).

Pisarz was just one of many community members who voiced their concerns this week as volunteers lanscaped, catalogued, and prayed among the fallen tombstones at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Wissinoming.

Naomi Adler, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia, told Temple Update that although the vandalism was motivated by hate, it may not be an anti-semitic crime.

“We can’t say its anti-semitic, because we haven’t heard directly, there’s no graffiti…we actually have to be careful before we label something. So what we’ve done is said it’s ‘despicable,’ it’s ‘an act of hate,'” said Adler.

Although the perpetrator is still out there, volunteers we spoke with said whoever did this, did not act alone.

John Towarnicki, a volunteer, assumed it was an organized group effort. “Some of these stones weigh a ton a piece, one man is not going to push that stone over.”

But other community members told me that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in Wissinoming. “We don’t have lights in these areas, we don’t have proper security, we have a lot of things that are lacking, and that cemetery, that cemetery, across the street, they’ve all been hit,” said Dan McIntyre, who lives just a few blocks away.

Philadelphia Police and the FBI are continuing their investigation, but people still feel uneasy after these acts of hate.

“It’s very heartwarming and very humbling to get so many people coming out [to volunteer]. I will tell you it doesn’t make you feel more secure,” said Adler.

McIntyre just wants the problem to be put to rest once and for all.”One person defaced while they rest is too many.”

This wishing to donate to the restoration effort at Mount Carmel Cemetery can donate here.

If you have any information in regards to the vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery, please contact the Philadelphia Police Department.


Center City Restaurant Donates Profits to Those in Need

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A new restaurant in Philadelphia is doing its best to help out those in need.

Rooster Soup Company, a brand new eatery from the same guys that brought you Federal Donuts, recently opened on Sansom Street in Center City.

“I heard about the cause, thought it was really great, so I stopped in; this is my fourth time here,” said Lauren Correa, who was grabbing a bite to eat with a friend.

The restaurant serves all your favorite comfort foods at an affordable price. But that’s not the only thing that keeps patrons coming back; the Broad Street Ministry, a community outreach program for those who need assistance, receives 100% of the profit.

“It runs like any other restaurant. It has to pay its bills, it has to pay its rent, its insurance, its labor, all the purveyors,” said Erin O’Shea, Executive Chef of Rooster Soup. “What’s left over at the end of the day, instead of going to a single owner or group of investors, it’s going to Broad Street Ministry.”

The campaign to bring Rooster Soup to fruition began back in 2014, when a crowd fund page with the quote “What if you could help someone who really needed it, just by eating lunch?” Today, over 1,500 people have donated to the cause, bringing in $179,380 to date in efforts to get Rooster Soup off the ground.

“Philadelphia was very generous, and so everybody helped to create this. And that’s what makes it so special, that it’s something built by Philadelphians, for Philadelphians,” added Chef O’Shea.

Now Rooster Soup has a home, with a menu offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, which helps fund the Broad Street Ministry’s many programs.

“It’s something that you know Philadelphians helped start and they can take pride in and come in; you eat something, you’ve done good,” said Rachel Spiegel, Assistant Manager.