Temple University taps insider as president
Temple University’s board of trustees tapped insider JoAnne Epps to serve as interim president yesterday.
Why it matters: The North Philly university faces uncertainty as it struggles to address public safety and falling enrollment.
What’s happening: Epps takes over the 33,600-student university immediately, following the unexpected resignation of Jason Wingard last month.
- Epps becomes the first African-American woman president in the school’s nearly 140-year history. (Wingard was the school's first Black president.)
Between the lines: Temple’s board said it expects to launch a search process for a permanent president promptly, per a statement.
- Epps will lead the university until a new president is installed.
Zoom in: Epps has spent nearly four decades at Temple.
- After working as an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia and deputy city attorney in Los Angeles, she spent more than 30 years as a Temple law professor.
- Then she served as dean of the law school before taking over as executive vice president and provost.
The big picture: Epps immediately faces several pressing issues.
- Undergraduate enrollment has plunged nearly 11% since 2020.
- Concerns about public safety have mounted since a student was shot and killed near campus in 2021 and Temple police officer Christopher Fitzgerald was fatally gunned down in February.
What they’re saying: “There is no one more qualified than JoAnne to assume the role of acting president during this critical moment for our university,” said board of trustees Chair Mitchell Morgan in a statement.
The other side: The faculty union TAUP was critical of Epps’ appointment, saying in a statement that her selection was made without consulting the union or university community.
- “Publicly funded institutions of higher education shouldn’t need closed-door meetings to make critical decisions affecting thousands of students, workers, and the people of North Philadelphia,” the union said.
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