PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The problems at Temple University continue to grow.
Temple University’s faculty union plans to convene Friday, and members can hold the union’s first-ever vote of no confidence in President Jason Wingard and two other administrators.
While mostly symbolic, the potential vote shows some faculty members are angry with the administration’s handling crime and securityespecially after the murder of Sergeant Christopher Fitzgerald.
The faculty also questions its handling of a month-long strike graduate students who have rallied for better pay and benefits.
Wingard said in a letter to faculty that he and his team were dealing with declining enrollments and had to make “analytical, data-driven but difficult decisions that are painful.”
“Tough decisions are unpopular and often misunderstood. But they are critical to the future success and longevity of the university. Higher education is under siege across the country and Temple must fight for survival and prominence.”
Wingard said as he drove back from meetings with Gov. Josh Shapiro and lawmakers in Harrisburg, he learned of the vote.
“This is truly disheartening, but please know that our love for and unwavering dedication to Temple University remains as strong as ever,” he said.
Response to crime and public safety
When Wingard was only four months into performing, Temple student Samuel Collington was shot and killed after parking his car just off campus.
In the wake of the student’s death, Wingard pledged to increase campus security staff by 50%. Recent data shows that Temple’s police force has shrunk since thenand now has 14 fewer officers and employees.
Since Wingard broke that promise to beef up security personnel, CBS News Philadelphia has reported on an increase in off-campus carjackings, home burglaries and shootings, leading more parents and students to worry about how safe the school is.
In late January, graduates of the Temple University Graduate Students Association, also known as TUGSA local 6290, went on strike in search of a pay rise and better benefits.
About five weeks later, TUGSA is still on strike after recently rejecting a proposal from the university.
And then about two weeks ago, Temple police officer Christopher Fitzgerald was shot and killed off campus while trying to stop a robbery.
The officer’s death has shocked the university community and has once again raised questions about public safety and problems with police personnel.
Temple students held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss security issues.