State Reps. Kenyatta, Bullock and Burgos introduce legislation to increase state oversight of Temple University

HARRISBURG, April 3 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, Donna Bullock and Danilo Burgos, all D-Phila., are introducing legislation to increase state oversight of Temple University to help address violence near the campus.

In the last four years, the number of shootings within the Temple campus patrol area nearly tripled, going from 11 in 2018 to 26 in 2022. This year, 2023, there have already been multiple shootings, including one that killed Temple police officer Christopher Fitzgerald.

In addition to this, Temple’s enrollment has declined 16.5% since 2017. Recently, Temple University President Jason Wingard resigned from his position, causing an upheaval in the school’s leadership.

To combat the issues Temple faces, the lawmakers are introducing legislation to increase the number of state-appointed board members to the Temple University Board of Trustees by giving one more appointment to the governor, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and the speaker of the House of Representatives.

The legislators said that more state-appointed board members on the Board of Trustees would ensure that the state has greater oversight over the important decisions before the board and can guarantee that state money is being used effectively.

Kenyatta, a Temple alum, said that as a state-related university, Temple enjoys many benefits of state funding each year, and the school should receive more oversight from the state to ensure the safety of students, staff and residents living in the area.

“I love Temple and I want it to succeed, but that will never come at the expense of me speaking honestly to the challenges of the university,” Kenyatta said. “Every year the General Assembly makes critical investments into Temple, and with that must come additional oversight, particularly in light of the intersecting issues it must face.”

Bullock emphasized the importance of broadening the size of the board of trustees.

“Broadening the size of the board also broadens the experience and knowledge of the board,” Bullock said. “The university is dealing with myriad issues. As the body that approves state dollars to the university -- and in order to deal with some of those issues – it’s important that the legislature has greater oversight to the use of those dollars. Additional board members would help provide that oversight.”

Burgos said that the board of trustees has a critical responsibility, and increasing the number of members will help ensure the best decisions for Temple University.

“I believe it is essential to increase the number of state-appointed members to the Temple University Board of Trustees in order to protect the welfare of the university,” Burgos said. “The board of trustees have a critical responsibility, to ensure the best stewardship decisions. This also will go hand in hand with another important component in this equation: accountability.”