Temple students protest lack of security on campus

Temple safety
Temple students and North Philly residents march for campus safety on February 28, 2023.
Nate Willison

Seth Dubrosky would advise high school seniors and juniors to stay away from Temple University.

“I’ve felt less and less safe my four years here,” said Dubrosky, 22, a native of Montgomery County who is studying graphic design at the North Philadelphia-based college. “I feel like it’s gotten worse.”

Dubrosky and a few dozen other Temple undergraduates demonstrated on campus Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to get the university’s administrators to act on safety concerns.

The protest was held less than two weeks after the killing of Temple Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald, who was fatally shot Feb. 18 near the campus. An 18-year-old Bucks County man has been charged with his murder.

Keep Us Safe TU, the student group that organized Tuesday’s event, wants the college’s leaders to seriously improve campus security and the university’s emergency notification system, known as TU Alert.

John Mangan, a senior who founded the group, said alerts are not issued for all crimes affecting students, and he contended some notifications are not sent out in a timely fashion. He also accused the university of silencing students concerned about safety.

“We are asking the bare minimum. We are not asking Temple to solve violence,” Mangan, of Solebury Township, Bucks County, said. “We are asking Temple to do their due diligence to keep students safe.”

John Mangan, the founder of Keep Us Safe TU, an Instagram page dedicated to safety for Temple students, speaks at a rally on February 28, 2023.Nate Willison

On Instagram, Keep Us Safe TU has more than 9,300 followers, and Mangan told Metro the account acts as a quasi-news source, posting information about crime reports on campus.

In a statement, Temple spokesperson Steve Orbanek said administrators have contacted the group, along with the college’s student government. Two town halls have recently been held to address security, he said.

The university is also planning to update its safety action plan in the near future.

“Temple University has always had a strong, proud history of peaceful protests, and we support and welcome demonstrations like we saw today,” Orbanek added. “We also share our students’ concerns.”

Jason Wingard, Temple’s president, and Keep Us Safe TU members are planning to meet later this week. Mangan said that Wingard reached out Sunday night and wanted to meet Tuesday prior to the protest – even though Keep Us Safe TU sent him a letter months ago.

“You know what that says,” Mangan told the crowd.

Temple students and North Philly residents protest for campus safety outside Temple administration offices on February 28, 2023. Nate Willison

Demonstrators marched through the campus, pausing in front of Sullivan Hall, where Wingard’s office is located.

“It’s not normal to hear gunshots on a college campus,” said Greg Masters, a second-year student from Bucks County. “If this happened anywhere else in the world, it would be a school shooting. National coverage. Here, it’s just another day at Temple.”

Andrew Ankamah Jr., who is preparing to graduate in May, carried a megaphone during the protest. He organized a rally in 2021 after a gunman killed Temple senior Samuel Collington during a botched carjacking.

“It’s frustrating that students are still needing to bring attention to safety issues,” Ankamah told Metro.

The march wasn’t the only demonstration going on. Teaching and research assistants coalesced around the Bell Tower – the campus’s central landmark – to rally support in their fight for a contract.

Members of the Temple University Graduate Student Association have been on strike since Jan. 31. A tentative agreement was put up for a vote last week, but union members overwhelmingly rejected the proposal.

“This is not normal for a college,” Mangan said. “Two protests on the same day with two movements against the same people who are treating people the same way.”