Temple President Ann Weaver Hart has been making particular efforts to keep Temple University Japan going, as witnessed by this “rededication ceremony” earlier this month.
The premise of all this is standing by Temple Japan in the wake of Japan’s March 11 disasters. But I will tell you, I have it on good word, that it may also be because some people in Harrisburg are asking around about why Pennsylvania is spending this money in Japan.
[Harrisburg official: How much do you spend on Temple Japan?
Weaver Hart: That doesn’t matter! We have held the rededication ceremony!]
So it’s been something to watch as this is playing out.
First off: this entry has only gotten twenty-five hits in its YouTube form, courtesy of Temple’s media department. So let’s up it, OK? It’s great theatrics, and it shows you how universities fight.
My position has been, that Temple should be honest about how Temple Japan is funded. That’s the thing. Not whether there is Temple Japan. Rather, how is there Temple Japan, when you hide the rent expense in the breakout?
What Ann Weaver Hart has done is totally ignore that. She has come up with The Incantation.
“We are dedicated to Temple Japan.”
“We must rededicate ourselves to Temple Japan!”
“ohhhhhhhmmmmmm ohhhhhhhhmmmmmmm Temple-mmmmm. Japan-mmmmmm. As one-mmmmmmmm. Your thoughts to my thoughts . . . ”
(I think that was a traditional Japanese musical instrument in the background, BTW. Not a recording. Nice effect.)
This is no personal knock on Weaver Hart. I have never met her, and she seems like a very nice person–someone you would want to get to know.
And maybe there are people in Harrisburg (state capital) who want to fully cut out Temple Japan. My own thing is just this simple question of what does Temple Japan cost, fully-costed? Maybe if the data come out, yes, then it might be harder to get political support for it. But why short-circuit the process? Shouldn’t people know?
When the Governor’s appointees and the new Secretary of Education (Ronald Tomalis) are asking about Temple Japan, is the real answer one, that they held a “rededication ceremony” attended by some functionaries from Japan’s ambassadorial mission to the United States? How 21st century is that? Did the diplomats present any communiques saying that the Japanese government is going to lease Temple, for free, some of the excess capacity that exists in colleges in Japan? Now, that would be nice.
Much nicer than that YouTube show.
[Update: Another account of the event, via Temple.]
[Update #2: Say, that wasn’t just any diplomat at the ceremony. It was the Consul General of Japan in New York, HIROKI Shigeyuki. He has been in the role since late February.
I wonder if Ann Weaver Hart pulled him aside and asked, as part of Temple’s “rededication” to Japan, that Consul Hiroki make a few phone calls to Tokyo and see if Temple Japan can get some digs that they don’t have to pay a landlord for.
I bet you the landlord agency in Tokyo has more weight in this situation, but who knows ? . . . ]