Demand Sanctuary At Temple U

Dear President Englert and Temple University Board of Trustees                              

Temple University claims to pride itself on its dedication to diversity and access. But how can it value these things if its students live in fear of deportation, fear of violence from police, fear of sexual assault from fellow students, fear of not being able to afford classes, or fear of losing the community they grew up in? Temple’s responsibility as a institution of higher education should be to provide safety to its students so that they can get the best education possible. Temple has an obligation to declare itself a sanctuary, a safe-haven not only for immigrants, but for all.

A true sanctuary campus would guarantee a living wage of at least $15/hr, unobstructed union rights, and increased mental health services. A sanctuary university would be a university that prioritizes the safety of women, LGBTQI people, and people of color rather than breeding a culture of sexual and racial violence. A sanctuary university would respect and uplift the surrounding Black community rather than aggressively gentrifying the neighborhood and pushing people out of their homes.

The students and faculty have spoken, we support undocumented immigrants. If Temple wants to support its student body, and support vulnerable populations in this dangerous political climate, these are the steps your students are demanding. Temple has the opportunity to be a truly inclusive institution, showing in practice that you care about the humanity of each member of the diverse Temple community, and we are demanding that you take this opportunity to openly demonstrate your commitment to making Temple University an institution that values its student body and the people it employs.

Although Philadelphia is considered a sanctuary city, we call on Temple University to publicly declare itself a sanctuary campus. Students and workers on campus need to know that Temple will remain committed to their safety regardless of the city’s sanctuary status. But we do not think that Temple calling itself a sanctuary is enough; we encourage the Temple administration to take direct steps to make the university more accessible to undocumented people. Our university should function as a safe haven where undocumented people and all marginalized communities can turn for support and sanctuary.

We demand that Temple …

  1. Publicly declare Temple a Sanctuary Campus
  2. Cut ties with all law enforcement agencies that collaborate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and refuse law enforcement agencies who collaborate with ICE access to any Temple properties or information
  3. Institute a policy prohibiting campus police from inquiring about immigration status, enforcing immigration laws, participating with ICE/CBP in actions and refusing to cooperate with any ‘registration’ system that seeks to target or surveil Muslims.
  4. Revise the code of conduct to make sure anti-discrimination policy includes immigration status.
  5. Provide resources including legal services for undocumented students and their families.
  6. Grant in-state tuition to undocumented students who are Pennsylvania residents.

We would be happy to discuss this further with the administration so that collectively we can create the best possible plan to make Temple a sanctuary for all.

Asociación de Estudiantes Latinos

Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance

15 Now of Temple University

Philadelphia Socialist Alternative

Stadium Stompers

Temple Socialists

Black Law Students Association

Activate TU

Indivisible Temple

Organization of African American Studies Undergraduate Students

Temple Association of University Professionals

GenUN Temple

Babel Poetry Collective

Temple Refugee Outreach

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Temple students and community members denied access to Board of Trustees meeting.

On Tuesday December 8th the Temple Board of Trustees held a public meeting. The Board of Trustees have four meetings during the school year where students and community members are invited to participate and voice their concerns. In this meeting the board intended to vote on the plan to build a new 40,000 seat stadium in the heart of North Philadelphia.

This meeting was a PUBLIC meeting. But anyone who was there yesterday knows that it was not public. Students, members of the community, alumni, and faculty were not allowed into the meeting.

Members of the North Philadelphia community, Temple students, faculty, and alumni gathered outside of Sullivan Hall before the meeting to rally against the stadium. At 3:30 pm, the official start time of the public meeting, the students and community members attempted to enter the building. We were met with rows of police with nightsticks blocking all of the entrances into Sullivan Hall. When we attempted to walk in, we were shoved back, and told we were not allowed into the meeting.

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Students and Community kept out of meeting by police

We explained  that we were members of the North Philadelphia community, tuition paying students, alumni, and faculty and we had a right to go into the public meeting where choices were being made that greatly affect our futures. While we watched white men in business suits and student government being escorted into the building, students, members of the community, faculty, and alumni who are opposed to the stadium were met with violence.

 

This is a moral outrage. Temple University plans to build a 40,000 seat stadium in the heart of historically Black North Philadelphia, and they refuse to hear the voices of community members or students. They allow corrupt student government, white businessmen, and wealthy donors a seat at the table while they attempt to keep students in the dark and displace an entire community.

Inside the meeting, President Theobald spoke about Temple’s commitment to North Philadelphia. However, during pauses in his speech you could hear students and community members outside chanting, “up with community, down with the stadium.” Student government president Ryan Rinaldi said that the students are proud of their football team and university, all while students and community members were stuck outside chanting, “let us in!”

Temple University showed its true colors yesterday. The Board of Trustees is a corrupt body governed by Patrick O’Connor, the same lawyer who defended Bill Cosby in the case of sexual assault against a Temple employee. President Theobald has refused to meet with students and community members, and has no respect for the Black community he has entered. Temple Student Government President Ryan Rinaldi has shown he does not represent the students, will not defend students when treated unfairly, and certainly has no respect for the North Philadelphia community.

These shameful leaders are not interested in serving the students or faculty and are responsible for terrorizing and disrespecting surrounding North Philadelphia communities. They do not represent the needs of community members, and they do not seek to educate students. They seek to build a stadium despite disagreement from students, employees, and community members. They seek to maintain a Board of Trustees made up almost exclusively of white men speaking for corporations and keep the voices of students and community members silent.

Yesterday was a shameful display of what Temple University has become. A university that values the voices of rich white men over the voices of students and community members. A university that chooses football and profit over education and living wages. A university that will use its police force to attack students who try to enter public buildings and public meetings. The only way to describe Temple University today is shameful, corrupt, immoral, and an embodiment of the white-supremacist terror that has harmed students and residents for decades.

As students, faculty, and alumni it is our responsibility to uphold Temple’s founding principle: to serve the people of North Philadelphia. It is our responsibility to hold ‘rape defender’ Patrick O’Connor accountable. We must hold gentrifier Neil Theobald accountable. It is our responsibility to listen to the community in North Philadelphia and stand with them to say NO to the stadium, NO to gentrification, and NO to poverty.

Here is our pledge to the community of North Philadelphia, students, workers, and faculty at Temple University:

We will not let our voices be silenced, we will fight this university until they have no choice but to hear the community and the students.

We demand that Patrick O’Connor and Neil Theobald respect students and community members and act in the interest of the people and not in the interest of profits. If they fail to do this, they must resign.

We will continue organizing on campus and in North Philadelphia to build student, worker, and community power. We will stand with the community always. We will continue to fight against gentrification, against the stadium, and against poverty. We will continue to push for a $15/hr minimum wage for all Temple workers including students and subcontracted workers.

Board of Trustees, President Theobald, we will be back. And next time, we will do whatever it takes.
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Up with Community Down with the Stadium

Up with Workers Down with the Stadium

Up with Students Down with the Stadium

Signed,

15 Now of Temple University

Where’s President Theobald?

Temple Workers Need 15 Now!

Join us on Tuesday, October 13th as Temple U students and workers publicly kick off their campaign with a large action on campus!  Come out to demand a $15 minimum wage at Temple!

The student-led branch of 15 Now at Temple has been working hard this semester to build their organization and work with the unions representing campus workers. Nearly all the campus unions have endorsed the campaign, and dozens of student workers have shown up to weekly meetings. Temple has already started fighting back by making it difficult for 15 Now to reserve rooms and canvass on campus. President Theobald has been refusing to meet with students to discuss campus wages for over 6 months.

We are ready to do what it takes to win.

we are here today to remind the political leadership of Philadelphia of their commitments to the workers of this city.

Did you know that there is legislation sitting in committee in City Council that would have let Philadelphia vote on raising the minimum wage this November? Did you know that rather than openly oppose this initiative, the Chamber of Commerce worked behind the scenes to block it with procedure and bureaucracy?

Well we are here today to remind the political leadership of Philadelphia of their commitments to the workers of this city.

We are here today to let them know that we have their back if they take a risk and stand with us to challenge the Chamber of Commerce and Harrisburg by raising the Minimum Wage in Philly.

We are here today to let them know that if they are not true to their promises, if they hide behind the unjust laws that keep 200,000 working Philadelphians in poverty then we are ready to do what it takes to win.  By any means necessary.

In Seattle it took the Unions, active grassroots campaigning, community allies, and an independent socialist City Councilor working together, negotiating strategy and tactics, building alliances, working through disagreements, but all pushing in the same direction to win 15. And we had to piss off a lot of politicians along the way.

In Philadelphia, the fight for a $15 minimum wage is one of the most challenging fights there is. We are not Seattle. We are not SanFrancisco. We are not LA. We are the poorest major city in the country. The majority of Philadelphians are people of color.  And we are an overwhelmingly working class city in a state that has taken our rights away at every turn.

Harrisburg and the Chamber of Commerce that controls it will fight against every gain for working class people in Philly and across the state. And even when we win, they will fight to take it away.

They have told us we can’t raise our minimum wage.

Told us we can’t govern our own schools.

Told us we can’t pass our own gun control laws.

Philadephia has a long history of working class struggle, it hasn’t always been pretty, there are pieces of this city’s history that we are not proud of,  but over all

It is a story of our neighborhoods & communities

It is a story of abolitionists, socialists, working class radicals, and civil rights fighters.

It is a story of workers organizing to defend our class interests

these struggles have been organically linked with the Civil Rights movement. The fights to build multiracial unions. Don’t shop where you can’t work. For Affordable Housing. For Civil Service reform that opened the doors to city jobs to women and minorities based on qualifications instead of race, gender or political connections.

Who was on the other side for all these struggles?

Who opposed change at every turn and worked against the tide?

Who played every card in the deck to keep us divided by race and gender?  The Chamber of Commerce.

Names like:

  • Vare
  • Pew
  • Mitten
  • Gowan
  • Grundy
  • Mellon

And many others who hide behind the scenes of history. Rich white men who fought to defend their class interests, the interests of the bosses in this city and the state of PA. And what are their interests?  low wages and long hours, union-busting, and a working class divided by racial, gender, ethnic, and economic lines.

Make no doubt about it, we face strong, well funded opponents who know what they want and are willing to go to great lengths to defend their power, privilege and wealth. Because the one thing they fear most is a militant, united, multi racial, multi gendered working class movement.

We cannot match the Chamber dollar for dollar. We cannot beat the Chamber at their own game. We know they will never give us 15. They have never given us anything. Everything we have, we had to fight for.

So Today we are asking:

1- Governor Wolf and his allies in Harrisburg who say they support higher wages to follow NY Governor Cuomo’s lead and do whatever it takes to raise the minimum wage AND allow cities in Pennsylvania to set our own wages.

2 – Democratic Mayoral nominee Jim Kenney to stay strong in his support for a $15 minimum wage, to be a leader and advocate for raising the minimum wage and support binding legislation.

3- A new City Council to introduce and pass binding legislation to raise the minimum wage in Philadelphia.

August 15th – State Wide Day Of Action

JustinH_JustinH-R1-050-23AOn August 15th there were rallies and direct actions in Philly, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley, and Pittsburgh to call out Harrisburg’s inaction on raising the state minimum wage.

In Philly 15now was joined by allies from POWER, Fight For 15, Philly for Bernie, Green Party City Council Candidate Kristin Combs, Neighborhood networks, ROC, Temple 15now, Drexel law students and many others. We rallied at the Chamber of Commerce offices at 200 S Broad, then marched to Dillworth Plaza for closing remarks then shut down the McDonalds at Broad and Arch for 4 hours.
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McDonald’s is SHUT DOWN!!

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Temple University 15 Now Kick-Off Meeting a Rousing Success

Wednesday night, October 15th,  more than 40 college students gathered at the campus kickoff of ‘15 Now Temple University’, a new formation of undergraduate and graduate students who have joined the fight for a $15 minimum wage in Philadelphia and across the country. The teach-in featured several student speakers, many of whom are struggling to attend classes and pay for college, while working low wage jobs.

Jill Richards, who helped organize the meeting, said “This group is doing real work for real change, and we can’t survive on the current minimum wage. Once I heard Temple was starting its own chapter, I knew I had to do something about it.”TU1

Richards and several other organizers spent several weeks planning the meeting, inviting friends and coworkers, canvassing the community, and handing out flyers to students on campus. The high turnout mirrored the level of interest in boosting wages that citywide organizers have found in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.

During her testimony, Temple student, worker and 15 Now organizer Nadia Adam explained, “I work retail full-time at $10.50 an hour, and I am a neuroscience major part time, which is not the easiest major to have. My child is in daycare all day, but these are the choices I have to make if I hope to make it out of poverty anytime soon. Making $15 an hour would let me escape some debt later on and have some spending money for my child.”

The students also led breakout group discussions on “$15 an hour vs. $10.10,” “$15 an hour and intersectionality,” and “the history of student movements.”

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At Temple and universities across the country, students are increasingly positioned to join broader working class movements fighting for better living conditions. Student Jaq Basilis said, “The history of Temple is as a working class institution. It used to be a place where people could come get an affordable education and a decent job. Now our school is becoming privatized and exponentially more expensive. Only certain types of people can afford to go here, or we leave in tens of thousands of dollars of debt.”

Students left the meeting pledging to join 15 Now Philly, help canvass surrounding North Philly neighborhoods, and lobby city officials to take on the fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Basilis added “I don’t want to feel like I’m in a different community on campus and in my neighborhood at 17th and Girard. We are part of the same struggle.”

Solidarity Statement with Colgate University Sit-in

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Students at  Colgate U are in the midst of a 3-day sit-in demanding changes to their university regarding racial and economic justice among other things. You can read about it here and here
Below is a letter of support from Temple University student organizations,  including the newly-formed Temple branch of 15 Now. 
Statement:
Dear Association of Critical Collegians at Colgate University,

We are students of Temple University and residents of the Philadelphia community. We stand in solidarity with your struggle for social justice at Colgate University. We, too, have dealt with racism, classism, heterosexism, transphobia, misogyny, ableism and other forms of oppression on our campus and in the larger community. We continue to deal with it on a daily basis, not only in the form of individual words and acts of hate, but also in the form of systemic exclusion of certain groups and the privileging of others at our university and other institutions.

We have petitioned and organized rallies, protests, and sit-ins, around these causes and in response to specific transgressions against us and our allies perpetrated by the University, the Police, and other forces. We will continue to fight for social justice at our university and in society at large. We believe that we, the students as well as staff, professors, and other workers deserve democratic control over the function of the institutions that would not exist without our labor. What you are doing at Colgate by staging a days long sit-in at the admissions office is a critical step in this direction. We applaud you.

In Solidarity,

Temple University Chapter of 15 Now

Student Coalition for the Reinstatement of Dr. Anthony Monteiro

Temple Socialists