Meredith Haas of Temple Update met with Temple President Dr. Jason Wingard on Wednesday. Topics included campus safety, the idea of a football stadium on the main campus, and how his first 9 months in this new role went. Look here.
Temple University President Dr. Jason Wingard sat down with Meredith Haas of Temple Update to discuss the first few months of his presidency.
The president’s discussion turned more personal as he reflected on the past two years of the pandemic.
“I got into a situation where we were on Zoom, so I didn’t get a chance to do things the normal way,” he said. “Going back to what the Temple community does, we pivot, we persevere and we still thrive.”
Wingard spoke openly about crime, Covid-19, why a football stadium won’t be built on campus, and the relationship the University has with the North Philadelphia community.
“Our health care system has scaled up and provided care in Philadelphia, first and foremost to the North Philadelphia community and the Temple community,” Wingard said.
Over the past week, crimes involving several shootings near campus have taken place. The President was invited to consider this question.
Dr. Wingard said in a recent University survey, 70% to 80% said they felt safe on campus, while 60% living off campus felt the same.
“We have work to do with the City of Philadelphia, with the wider community to make sure we can keep our students and our community safe, even when they’re not on campus,” said Wingard.
The president said he spoke with Mayor Kenney and Commissioner Outlaw the day before. He told them that Temple students do not feel safe when they leave campus.
In response to the shooting that occurred near campus over the weekend and the ensuing crime throughout the week, Wingard said the University is still proactively preparing and talking about safety. students.
“These opportunities give us the opportunity to reflect and learn from others in the community about ways to continue to improve,” Wingard said.
He went on to mention the additional security arrangements that have been put in place around campus, which include more lighting, cameras and patrols.
“If we do all of this and people don’t know about it, it won’t work, so we have to make sure we communicate very clearly what’s available,” he said.
The conversation continued about the parents who recently created their own security force to monitor their children in light of the recent crime.
President Wingard explained that he, too, is the parent of a student attending college in a major city and said he sympathizes with concerned parents.
For those worried about security as it relates to the pandemic, Wingard said he spoke with many specialists who provided solid, evidence-based advice on how to move forward.
“Decisions have to be data-driven and they have to be able to pivot and change, and I feel really good about how we’ve adjusted,” he said.
Regarding masks and guidelines that continue to change, the president said students should feel safe at Temple University.
He responded to students who wonder why the University still requires masks in class.
“You have no choice but to go to class,” he said. “We followed all the guidelines, and because of this, our rates are lower than most.”
Towards the end of the conversation, Dr. Wingard was asked about the football stadium project that could be built on the Temple campus.
He mentioned how delighted he was with all the new additions to Temple’s sports programs, including the new sporting director and football coach.
“I am excited about the future of our football program and all of our paid and non-commercial sports,” he said.
Dr. Wingard said the University is set to renew its contract with Lincoln Financial Field.
“We have a great place to play, it’s a world-class facility, where rookies come to see there’s a competitive advantage, where we can play in the same place where the Philadelphia Eagles play,” he said. -he declares.
The president said the University has no plans to pursue construction of a stadium on campus at this time.
To close the conversation, Dr. Wingard offered some advice to the class of 2022.
As part of his onboarding process, the president mentioned he had to speak with Temple Alumni, and he said he heard they felt better prepared than most.
“I would say to our senior graduates now, understand you’ve been prepared in a very world class way, so have the confidence to get the job, do well in the job and don’t be mean about who you are as a Owl Temple, he said.
He ended by mentioning the world-class faculty surrounding him and his students.
“Going forward, I want us to learn from the experiences we have and implement the strategy we learn to improve the experience for you, the students,” Wingard said.