President Englert met opposition at a Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday. Martha Sherman — the President of FMLA, the Feminist Leadership Alliance — went in on the university president. And then, was escorted out.
“You’re not listening to what students at this university have to say,” she shouted from the public viewing area.
Sherman was one of two students forced to leave the meeting for causing a disruption. They’re demanding change.
FMLA’s platform is threefold: remove Chairman Patrick O’Connor from the board, improve resources for sexual assault victims and make the board more transparent and democratic.
The organization — in solidarity with several ICU nurses from Temple Hospital — also wants Temple to establish a sexual assault crisis center on campus. “Research shows this is what women who are traumatized need,” said ICU Nurse Mary Adamson.
A spokesperson for the university released this statement in response to the call for a crisis center:
“Temple has not established a centralized sexual assault crisis center because research, consultation with experts such as Women Organized Against Rape, and feedback from student survivors of sexual assault confirm that it is not consistent with best practice.”
Elizabeth Olson, the head of the O’Connor Campaign, says “it’s about people’s livelihood. People come to college and want a good experience. Sexual assault is an epidemic on college campuses.”
Protests continued outside the meeting. FMLA members with signs stood across from O’Connor Plaza — a move they say is significant to their cause. They want Trustee Chairman Patrick O’Connor off the board.
According to FMLA, O’Connor’s involvement with Bill Cosby and sponsorship of private prisons warrants his expulsion.
After Tuesday’s protest, Sherman says they plan to finish what they started. “We want to continue to have these rallies, speak to someone on the Board of Trustees and alter them that we’re here and we’re not going away,” she said.
At the meeting, the Board of Trustees approved various construction projects and a regular increase in housing rates. The board did not talk about plans for an on campus stadium, though FMLA and other organizations hoped it would.
The next meeting will be in May.