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.”