Jason Wingard's Temple legacy
Tomorrow will bring an end to the short, rocky tenure of Temple University president Jason Wingard.
Why it matters: The school is losing the only Black president in its history, and his less-than-two-year tenure goes down as the shortest of any of its dozen leaders.
State of play: Wingard unexpectedly submitted his resignation earlier this week, effective Friday.
- A “small group of senior Temple leaders” is expected to guide the university as a search begins for a new president, per Mitchell Morgan, the board of trustees' chairperson.
Catch up quick: Wingard’s historic appointment in June 2021 came with big promises. He was previously a dean and professor at Columbia University and worked for Goldman Sachs.
- Before the resignation, he had been facing an unprecedented vote of no confidence from the school’s faculty union.
What went wrong: Wingard’s failure to address crime and safety concerns around campus was among his top challenges at a time of surging gun violence in the city.
- Temple student Samuel Collington was shot and killed in November 2021 during an alleged robbery near campus.
- In February, Temple police officer Christopher Fitzgerald was fatally gunned down during an altercation near the campus border.
- Students protested the lack of safety on campus last month.
Financial woes: Current enrollment has fallen 10% from 2020-21, the year before Wingard arrived.
- The university’s $1.2 billion budget has declined since 2020-21, with $41 million in cuts planned for next year.
- Tuition, meanwhile, rose the past two years after being frozen in 2019 and 2020.
PR problems: Wingard never appeared to make strong connections with the Temple community.
- He did not fulfill his pledge to move near the North Philadelphia campus.
- A more than 40-day strike by Temple grad students for better pay earlier this year drew negative national attention, especially when the school cut striking students’ health benefits and tuition remission.
What they’re saying: Temple's faculty union said in a statement that Wingard’s resignation was a “step in the right direction” but “does little to address the structural issues in governance” at the university.
- Temple University and Wingard did not return requests for comment.
What’s next: The union still plans to take a vote of no confidence on Morgan, the board chair, as well as Provost Gregory Mandel the week of April 10, per a union spokesperson.
What we're watching: How much the school will pay Wingard for the remainder of his contract.
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