Temple committed to Japan “for generations to come”. (Translation: Governor Corbett, we spend the Commonwealth appropriation, not you!)

Temple University has been pretty active this week in fighting Governor Corbett’s proposed $92 million cut to the Commonwealth appropriation (Act 12A), which is state tax money that flows into Temple as a tuition subsidy.

Ann Weaver Hart has taken to YouTube to put out the message that Temple University Japan—less the students who have been relocated back to the North Philadelphia campus–is back in business.

(I’d like to embed the start time at 53 seconds, and so if anyone knows why #t=0m53s isn’t doing it, let me know.)

The interesting quote is around the 53 second mark, where Weaver Hart says that Temple Japan is the pinnacle of Temple’s commitment to international education for “generations to come”.

Of course, this could say a couple of different things. It could mean (as I view it), that Temple means to spend money in Japan, regardless of what the Corbett Administration thinks it should do. It could also mean that the current, ehem, investment in Japan will benefit the current students for generations to come.

Regular readers know my issue: what is the rent that Temple University spends for the Minami Azabu campus, and where does that money show in the Temple audited financials? That’s really it. What follows from this, and let me bold it, is that the public should know where its money is spent. When the public makes decisions about spending money, it shouldn’t be kept in the dark or have questions left unanswered.

If Temple wants to spend an extra $2 million above reported break-even (meaning, really a $2 million loss), that’s a decision. Temple can make that decision. But why should the rest of us be purposely be put in the dark?

It’s been over 18 months before I asked the first time. This is well before the North Atlantic plate started shaking, and the North Pacific Ocean smashing into Tohoku and destroying countless lives. I appreciate that there is a crisis situation going on, in Tokyo–and to some extent in Harrisburg–but this is just a simple answer to a simple question.

It just genuinely disappoints me when adults play games like that.

On to the next video. These are the people who get hurt when Temple isn’t being honest and forthcoming.

This was a union/student protest on the other side of the Temple Law School in North Philadelphia, earlier this week. Some of the participants, like Henry Nicholas, I had met 20 years ago when I did early, early work for the Clinton campaign (yes).

Two years ago, Temple decided to shut some neighborhood hospitals in Philadelphia to save money. One of the state representatives, John Taylor, who had had Northeast Hospital in his constituency, decided to ask Temple why it was shutting Northeast. Temple wouldn’t answer. So John Taylor got Harrisburg to hold up the Commonwealth appropriation until he got answers.

I think people who worked for Northeast still lost their jobs. The union held protests outside of Ann Weaver Hart’s Rittenhouse Square building where she has the penthouse. But the only good it did was to highlight the issue; I think the workers still lost their jobs.

The point being made is that, yes, Temple is part of the local economy. But when the people want to know why Temple is doing things, the rhetoric about the Common-wealth and the common cause stops, and it becomes more like Lords and Serfs.

Having the Philadelphia unions upset with you is a wake-up call to the several Republican representatives in the State House who do come from Philadelphia. Unions right now are pissed about what is going on up in Wisconsin and even over in Ohio, and so they are roaring for a fight on any tangential issue.

This is another constituency who might be shocked if Temple were running annual red ink in Japan . . .

[Update: Actually, a cool video is the one of the Tohoku Earthquake from inside Temple University Japan. I wonder what the rent is on the place? . . . ]