Brian Williams to receive SMC award this fall

Brian Williams, a 12-time Emmy-winner, will speak at the SMC awards ceremony this fall. | Photo courtesy of Justin Stephens, NBC

Brian Williams, a 12-time Emmy-winner, will speak at the SMC awards ceremony this fall. | Photo courtesy of Justin Stephens, NBC

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and six alumni will receive honors from the School of Media and Communication this fall, SMC announced Monday.

Williams, who has anchored NBC’s national news program since 2004, will receive the Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award on Sept. 26. Additionally, six SMC alumni will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

Among these alumni are musician John Oates, of the duo Hall and Oates, and Tracy Davidson, a reporter and anchor from Philadelphia’s NBC 10.

Williams, a 12-time Emmy-winner, will speak to attendees at a special luncheon held in Mitten Hall.

Proceeds from the luncheon will fund approximately 24 SMC scholarships, according to the school’s press release.  Tickets for the reception and luncheon are currently $150 per person.

Past recipients of the Excellence in the Media Award include CNN’s Anderson Cooper, former “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg, Today Show host Matt Lauer and Robin Roberts of Good Morning America.

Oates commuted to Temple in the late 1960s and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1970. Oates and his musical partner, Daryl Hall, recorded songs in the WRTI studio, back when the station was student-run.

Davidson joined NBC 10 in 1996 as a morning anchor and received a graduate degree from SMC in 2006.

The other Hall of Fame inductees will be Gerhart “Jerry” Klein, chairman of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, Larry Margasak, formerly of the Associated Press’ Washington bureau, Claire Smith, news editor at ESPN, and Meredith Avakian-Hardaway, director of communications and marketing at the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@temple.edu or on Twitter @JBrandt_TU.

Oversight by pilots a possible cause of Katz plane crash

Pilot error may have contributed to the plane crash that killed Temple trustee Lewis Katz and six others while taking off from an airfield near Boston on the night of May 31, according to a federal report.

The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal entity that investigates transportation accidents, released a preliminary report of the incident on its website Friday, June 13.

The Gulfstream IV was equipped with a gust-control system that could lock certain plane components in place such as the tail flaps, known as elevators, and the wing flaps, called ailerons. The system is intended to protect these parts from potentially damaging wind gusts while the plane is parked, according to the report. The report stated that winds were calm during takeoff.

NTSB analysis of the cockpit’s flight data recorder showed that the pilots performed no control check before the flight, and that “elevator control surface position during the taxi and takeoff was consistent with its position if the gust lock was engaged,” the report read.

Investigation of the cockpit showed that the gust lock switch was found in the “off” position and that a separate latch to gust lock the tail flaps was off as well.

The plane, which was co-owned through a limited liability company and had logged nearly 5,000 hours of flight, never took off and instead went off the end of the runway and crashed through lighting and an antenna before landing in a gulley and erupting in flames.

According to the report, tire marks that indicate braking started 1,300 feet, or nearly 400 meters, from the end of the runway. According to a flight data recorder, numerous braking mechanisms were activated and the plane was going 100 knots, or roughly 115 miles per hour.

The NTSB added that the report is preliminary and subject to change.

The three passengers—Susan K. Asbell, 68, Marcella Dalsey, 59, and Anne Leeds, 74—were all friends of Katz. The crew on-board included pilot James McDowell, 51, copilot Bauke “Mike” de Vries, 45, and flight attendant Teresa Ann Bernhoff, 48 had all worked for Katz for at least 10 years.

Katz was honored in a memorial service held June 4 at Temple’s Performing Arts Center, with speakers including former President Bill Clinton, Governor Corbett, trustee and comedian Bill Cosby and Katz’s family.

Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@temple.edu or on Twitter @JBrandt_TU.

AxisPhilly to be disbanded

Temple’s Center for Public Interest Journalism announced Friday that its nonprofit news website AxisPhilly will cease operations, and a new project will be started in its place.

Started in 2012, AxisPhilly was intended to cover local civic issues but, according to a press release on the organization’s website, “did not achieve consistent local impact and fell short of serving as a collaborative hub for the emerging news ecosystem, both of which were goals at founding.”

Run through the university’s School of Media and Communication, the CPIJ, which oversaw AxisPhilly, will change its focus to a startup by former Digital First Media and WashingtonPost.com executive Jim Brady. The news startup will be called Brother.ly, according to Technical.ly Philly.

Brady’s startup will seek to “hit younger audiences that may not be using traditional journalism resources,” Temple’s journalism department chair Andrew Mendelson told        philly.com.

As well as starting Brother.ly, Brady will teach a course in entrepreneurial journalism at Temple. OpenDataPhilly, the city’s official open data portal that was run by AxisPhilly, will be managed by the CPIJ.

AxisPhilly last year received a national online journalism award for general excellence. The website, which had four full-time employees who will receive severance, was created with funding from a $2.4 million grant by the William Penn Foundation. With lacking readership and dwindling funds, the project needed work, something SMC Dean David Boardman said was not worth pursuing.

“The burn rate was such that this was going to come to an end one way or another unless we could find new funding,” Boardman told Philly.com. “It was our judgment that finding funding for this…was not where we wanted to put our energy.”

Operation of AxisPhilly will cease June 13.

Marcus McCarthy can be reached at marcus.mccarthy@temple.edu or on Twitter @marcusmccarthy6.

Lewis Katz memorial to be held Wednesday

Temple will hold a memorial service for Lewis Katz, alumnus and former trustee member, Wednesday, June 4, at 11 a.m. at the Performing Arts Center. The service will be open to all.

Katz, 72, died Saturday evening when the private Gulfstream IV he was on erupted into flames. Katz was traveling from Massachusetts to New Jersey with seven others members aboard. There were no survivors.

In addition to being a board member, Katz was an avid donor to the university. In November, he donated $25 million to the school, the largest in the university’s history. The Temple Medical School will be named after Katz in his honor.

Katz was also a co-owner of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com after winning a bid to buy the trio along with other media subsidies for $88 million last week along with trustee H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest.

Katz received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Temple in 1963.

Temple student assaulted off Main Campus, Police say

Police released a surveillance video of five men they said assaulted a Temple student just off Main Campus on the 1800 block of Berks Street around 11:50 p.m. on May 5.

In the video, the Philadelphia police said that a 20-year-old male who was a student at the university was walking through an alley when he was approached from behind by five unknown males. The student was struck on the back of the head by two of the unknown men then beat up once on the ground, the police said. The men proceeded to take the student’s cellphone.

The student was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was treated for a dislocated right shoulder, scrapes and a bloody nose.

The footage in the video, taken by a security camera on the corner of Berks and 18th streets, shows five men walking south on 18th Street.

Anyone with information are asked to call the Philadelphia police at 215-686-8477.

Marcus McCarthy can be reached at marcus.mccarthy@temple.edu or on Twitter @marcusmccarthy6.

Current breakdown to Class of 2018 announced at trustees meeting

Temple’s Board of Trustees held a general body meeting May 13 at the Liacouras Center, confirming the appointments of two new trustees and confirm an administrator, establishing a new professorship and approving the agendas of its committees, which met weeks prior.

In the president’s report, which is made at the beginning of every general body meeting, President Theobald said the current makeup of students accepted to Temple for the Class of 2018 is about two-thirds male, a third minority, and 4.7 percent international students.

Theobald added that many other universities in Philadelphia have extended their application deadlines to make up for a shrinking amount of high school graduates.

“They will continue to recruit prospective students, including those who have already placed a deposit at Temple,” Theobald said.

The board elected Scott F. Cooper, former president of the Philadelphia Bar Assocation, as a trustee and new president of the Temple University Alumni Association, taking over for trustee John Campolongo, who received a resolution of appreciation for his presidency.

“Scott’s going to be a great leader for us,” Campolongo said. “He’s going to challenge us in ways, probably, which I haven’t, which is why we rotate people out.

The Alumni Association focuses on encouraging alumni involvement, Campolongo said, adding that involved alumni “want to give any way they can, and that doesn’t always mean money, it’s volunteering too.”

The board also elected Goldman Sachs Head of Global Compliance Alan M. Cohen. Both new trustees terms began Tuesday, May 13 and end Oct. 10, 2017.

James Dicker, a top fundraiser for Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., was confirmed as Temple’s vice president for institutional advancement after being appointed by Theobald in March.

The trustees approved the establishment of the Selma Lee Bloch Brown professorship in the College of Science and Technology. Brown, who bequeathed $353,000 to CST “to encourage women in the study of mathematics and physics.” The fund will provide nearly $16,000 annually to professors, according to CST Dean Michael Klein’s report.

The trustees will next meet on June 26 in the Feinstone Lounge of Sullivan Hall.

Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@temple.edu or on Twitter @JBrandt_TU.

Protesters block Broad Street, joined by national scholar

Nationally-known scholar Cornel West joined students, community members and other notable figures supporting the reinstatement of African American studies professor Anthony Monteiro during a rally in front of Morgan Hall on the corner of Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue Thursday, May 8th.

West, a retired professor of philosophy at Princeton University best known for his book “Race Matters” and his appearances on numerous political commentary shows, made his speech near the close of the rally after Monteiro spoke.

“We’re in the right place at the right time for the right brother,” West said. “There’s a connection between love and justice and I love my brother Tony Monteiro…I want the world to know that when you attack Tony Monteiro, you attack a black man called Cornel West, too.”

West also criticized Molefi Asante, chair of the African American studies department, who the protesters said was responsible for Monteiro’s firing.

“[Asante] and I have done many things together and his work has been a historic contribution,” West said. “But even your friends can be wrong.”

State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, a Democrat representing the 181st legislative district which encompasses much of North Philadelphia on the east side of Broad Street, criticized the university’s stance that Monteiro’s contract status was non-negotiable and decisions not to renew are final.

“If this is non-negotiable, we’ve got to stay busy until it happens,” Thomas said. “We need to keep it moving. The outcome belongs to us.”

Black Entertainment Television news correspondent, CNN political commentator and Columbia University journalism professor Marc Lamont Hill also spoke at the rally.

“President Theobald can begin a legacy that can make this university great,” Monteiro said in his speech at the rally and added that legacy could begin by reinstating him with tenure.

A total of 15 Philadelphia and Temple police officers were in proximity to the rally. Acting Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said the Temple police would collaborate with Philadelphia police but defer to them.

“If [the protesters] go in the street or anything, Philadelphia police would decide what they’d do about that,” Leone said.

“Into the street, everyone,” a protester said to the crowd after the rally, many of whom proceeded to block half of Broad Street. Philadelphia police diverted both directions of traffic to the other half while the protesters held up their signs to the passing cars.

Junior secondary education in social studies major Walter Smolarek said the movement will not stop during the university’s summer break.

“If today is any indication, it will only get stronger,” Smolarek said.

A university spokesman declined further comment on the day’s events and said Temple isn’t changing its narrative.

Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@temple.edu or on Twitter @JBrandt_TU.

Sarai Flores contributed reporting.

BOT committees approve facilities renovations and professors’ tenure

In preparation for its May 13 general body meeting, Temple’s Board of Trustees’ Facilities, Academic Affairs and Alumni Relations and Development committees met on May 5.  After the public session meeting of the Facilities committee, the trustees moved to executive session, which is closed to the public.

Trustees not on the Facilities committee including Athletics committee chairman Lewis Katz and local philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest attended the executive session meeting, likely to discuss plans for developing Main Campus.

The Facilities committee met in public session at noon to approve a 23-item agenda that included spending for demolishing and renovating buildings.

The committee approved a recommendation to demolish the Triangle Apartments near the corner of Broad and Norris streets at a cost not to exceed $1.4 million. The apartments, formerly used as graduate housing, were deemed unsafe by a structural engineer and closed in September.

“There were a lot of safety concerns in the building and they were really not in a situation where they could be repaired or used,” Senior Vice President for Construction, Facilities and Operations Jim Creedon explained to the trustees. “We’ll certainly clean up the site, landscape the area, make sure we get some grass growing, and add some benches and lighting.”

The committee also approved recommendations to renovate central heating and air conditioning systems for Speakman and Anderson halls, fire alarms and sprinklers for Ritter Hall and Ritter Annex and new elevators for the Bell Building, which houses the TECH Center.

The trustees will also improve security for the Telecommunications area on the third floor of the Bell Building to make space for five network employees from Fox Chase.

“The Bell Building is really the last open space area we have,” Creedon said. “We try to use it judiciously.”

The Academic Affairs committee met that morning first in executive session before moving to public session. The committee approved five recommendations, including the go-ahead to Theobald’s recommendation regarding granting of faculty tenure, and also approved tenure for a list of faculty, which is available at the Office of the Provost.

“Some tenure cases were presented to the Academic Affairs Committee,” Assistant Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development Erin Palmer said, adding that the committee would review them and may disclose the results at the next general body meeting.

When asked if the tenure cases were related to African American studies professor Anthony Monteiro, Palmer said she had no comment.

The trustees will next meet on May 13 at 3:30 p.m.

Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@temple.edu or on Twitter @JBrandt_TU.

Ray Smeriglio, TU Believe inaugurated

Following the inaugural ceremony, the newly sworn in administration cut a decorative cake to celebrate the occasion. JOHN MORITZ | TTN

Ray Smeriglio was sworn in as the student body president for the upcoming 2014-15 academic year on Monday, May 5. Darin Bartholomew, the outgoing student body president, introduced Smeriglio and his administration in the inaugural ceremony that took place in room 200c of the student center.

“The three individuals we’re about to swear in here today, I have full faith that they will accomplish a ton next year and make us all very proud,” Bartholomew said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing everything that these guys will do.”

Students, faculty, staff and family members attended the event, many personally congratulating Temple Student Government members from both administrations after the meeting ended. Blair Alston and Julia Crusor, Smeriglio’s running mates and vice presidents, were first sworn in followed by Smeriglio.

“You don’t get to this point without awesome support emotionally, physically [and] psychologically,” Smeriglio said in his speech following his inauguration. “Thank you guys so much. You all mean the world to mean and I’m so excited to be your next student body president.”

Smeriglio, Alston and Crusor ran under the TU Believe ticket, which won by more than 200 votes over Renew TU. The elections, which took place on April 8 and April 9 online via Owl Connect, had relatively low voter turnout falling nearly 360 votes short of last year’s numbers and more than 900 below the year before that.

Smeriglio’s previous position was as TSG director of communications. He thanked his communications team in his speech, among other friends, coworkers and family members. Following the ceremony, the newly sworn in administration cut a decorative cake to celebrate the occasion.

Marcus McCarthy can be reached at marcus.mccarthy@temple.edu or on Twitter @marcusmccarthy6.

Student arrested for exposure in Paley

A student was arrested and will be charged with indecent exposure following an incident on the second floor of Paley Library Thursday night, Temple police said.

Acting Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said police were informed of the incident by a female student around 11:40 p.m. The woman told officers that a man sat down next to her, exposed himself and began touching himself, Leone said.

Police took the man, who they identified as a student, out of the library and turned him over to Philadelphia police Special Victims Unit, where he awaits charges, Leone said.

The student’s name has not been released at this time.