After a short and difficult tenure marked by rising violence on campus, a walkout by graduate students, and a loss of faith in his leadership among certain professors, Temple University’s president resigned on Tuesday.
Temple University’s first Black president, Jason Wingard, addressed campus safety and declining enrollment in a statement sent to the Temple community last week. The chair of the board of trustees at the institution, Mitchell Morgan, released a statement on Tuesday saying that the board had accepted Mr. Wingard’s resignation despite his promises.
A quick thank you to Mr. Wingard for his service was followed by Mr. Morgan’s assurance that “Given the urgent matters now facing the university, particularly campus safety, the board and the administration will ensure the highest level of focus on these serious issues.”
On Tuesday night, Mr. Wingard and the board of trustees did not respond immediately to emails requesting comment. On Friday, he will finish his term as president of the institution. Mr. Wingard’s quick demise was precipitated by the outpouring of discontent from Temple’s parent body, student body, and faculty.
High rates of gun violence in Philadelphia have been a problem for the university. There were 516 homicides in 2022, down from 562 the year before, but still more than in any other year since 2007 when the Philadelphia Police Department began publishing annual statistics online.
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High-profile murders close to campus have only increased students’ already high levels of anxiety. Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald was shot and killed in North Philadelphia in February. He worked for the Temple University Police Department.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 2021 that a Temple student named Samuel Collington was shot and died near campus during an apparent robbery and carjacking.
When several parents in North Philadelphia were concerned about the safety of their children’s commute to school, they contracted the services of a private security firm, JNS Protection Services.
When asked why parents employed their services, creator Jasmine Jackson stated it was because their children “have to face the harsh reality of North Philadelphia, and Philadelphia in general, of shootings, robberies.” Due to the increase in gun violence in the area, the institution implemented a walking escort program last year and a midnight shuttle service.
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