2 armed robberies reported Thursday morning

Temple Police are still investigating two armed robberies that occurred around Main Campus early Thursday morning.

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said the first robbery occurred at around 12:05 a.m. near a food store at the intersection of 10th and Susquehanna streets. A student parked his 2005 blue/green Cadillac near the store, and went inside to make a purchase, Leone said.

As the student was leaving the store, two men approached him, one of whom was armed with a handgun, Leone said. They then took the student’s car, cell phone and other personal items.

Leone added police are still looking for the car, which has a New Jersey license plate. A TU Alert was sent out about the incident at about 12:45 a.m. No injuries were reported.

In the second armed robbery, Leone said a student was walking north on 15th Street near Montgomery Avenue when two men approached him. One of the men pulled out a black handgun and demanded the student to turn around, Leone added.

The men then went through the student’s pockets and took his iPhone 4, $32, keys and identification, Leone added. They then fled south on 15th Street, and got into a black or dark colored Dodge Charger, Leone added.

A TU Alert was sent out about the incident at around 3:50 a.m. No injuries were reported.

The first suspect in this case was last seen wearing a red Phillies sweatshirt, a red baseball cap, and dark blue jeans. He was reported to be 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall and in his early 20s, Leone said.

The second suspect was last seen wearing a red sweatshirt with white lettering that says “Life Guard,” and dark blue jeans. He is also in his early 20s, Leone said.

Leone added Temple Police has some “great video and stills” from cameras in the area and is working with Philadelphia Police to release the images.

“I feel very confident these males will be identified and apprehended soon,” Leone said of the second armed robbery.

Tipsters can contact Temple Police at 215-204-1234.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

Suspect identified, arrested in sexual assault of student last month

Shakree Bennett, 23, has been arrested by Philadelphia Police for allegedly sexually assaulting a student last month. | COURTESY Philadelphia Police

Shakree Bennett, 23, has been arrested by Philadelphia Police for allegedly sexually assaulting a student last month. | COURTESY Philadelphia Police

A man has been identified and arrested in connection to the reported sexual assault of a 20-year-old female student Sept. 28.

According to a press release from Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey, 23-year-old Shakree Bennett, who last known address is on Harlan Street near Master, has been arrested and charged with rape, aggravated assault, sexual assault and robbery, along with other charges.

Bennett was extradited by parole agents from Essex County, New Jersey yesterday, and was transported to Philadelphia Police’s Special Victims Unit, where he was arrested, according to the release.

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone previously told The Temple News Philadelphia Police had arrested a suspect—who was believed to be connected to the sexual assault—because of a warrant related to another incident. In an interview Wednesday, he said because Bennett fled the state, the process of charging him for the alleged sexual assault Sept. 28 takes more time.

“Each state is individualized with its laws, so the paperwork and process is different,” Leone said.

According to court records, Bennett’s preliminary hearing is scheduled on Oct. 29. Bail is currently set at 10 percent of $500,000.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

News in brief: 10.13 Issue


Twenty reports of underage consumption occurred from Friday night to Sunday night during Homecoming Weekend. Six incidents were reported Friday, nine Saturday and three Sunday. Seven resulted in an arrest, 12 were referred for a university hearing with the Student Conduct Committee and one incident was exceptionally cleared. Nine incidents occurred in residence halls; the remaining 11 were reported in off-campus residencies, concentrated around Cecil B. Moore Avenue to N. 15th Street.

Lian Parsons


Former Temple trustee, Bill Cosby, was questioned under oath in Boston last Friday, philly.com reported. The seven-hour deposition addressed the 1974 alleged molestation of a 15-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

Judy Huth, the complainant, is one of 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexually abusing, harassing or raping them throughout his career. The deposition will remain under seal until December.

U.S. Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan will review the testimony and will hear the attorneys’ arguments over what parts of the deposition will become public. Huth’s lawsuit was filed in December 2014 and is the first significant court case since Andrea Constand, a Temple employee, sued Cosby in 2005.

Cosby could still be deposed at Montgomery County, as the statute of limitations for Constand runs out Jan. 1, 2016.

-Lian Parsons


Keeping with past trends, Temple has hired 53 new faculty members to the major colleges around campus. For the past 12 years, an average of 57 faculty have joined Temple each year. The professors are all tenured or tenure-track with the university.

Most notable include maestro Andreas Delfs to the Boyer College of Music and Dance as conductor of the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, Ralph Horwitz to the School of Medicine as a professor and director of the new Institute for Transformative Medicine and Kose John and Masatoshi Nei, both distinguished as Laura H. Carnell Professors. Coming to the School of Media and Communication is Edward L. Fink, who will be a professor of Strategic Communication.

The College of Public Health, the School of Media and Communication, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science and Technology, the School of Medicine and the Fox School of Business each saw five to eight new hires.

-Julie Christie


The Judicial Conduct Board has reopened its investigation into inappropriate emails sent by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin. The board investigated Justice Eakin last year and dismissed the complaints against him.

According to philly.com, Eakin had been receiving and spreading offensive emails from a private account. The emails included jokes about abuse and rape victims, as well as racism toward Muslims and African-Americans.

In a press release Friday, the Judicial Conduct Board said Attorney General Kathleen Kane provided them with emails sent by Justice Eakin that were not disclosed in the original investigation. The investigation had been concluded with the board believing it had been provided with all email records.

Kane, a graduate of Temple’s Beasley School of Law, has been under fire for providing the press with confidential information about a grand jury and then attempting to cover it up later,  the New York Times reported.

-Julie Christie


Legislation was introduced to the Senate last Wednesday to make college textbooks more affordable for students.

The Affordable College Textbook Act would create a grant program to support the creation of open college textbooks, which would be accessible under an open license to professors, students and researchers. The bill also would also require the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress by 2017 with price trends updated on college textbooks, as well as aims to improve existing requirements for publishers to make all textbooks available for individual sale, instead of as a bundle.

-Lian Parsons

‘Person of interest’ arrested in sexual assault of student

Philadelphia Police have arrested a suspect in connection to the sexual assault and armed robbery of a Temple student that occurred Sept. 28.

Officer Tanya Little, a Philadelphia Police spokeswoman, said the man who has been arrested is a “person of interest” in the case, but was apprehended on charges not related to the sexual assault and armed robbery last month.

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said Philadelphia Police are still in the process of deciding whether to charge the man with the incident from Sept. 28.

“They have a person in custody from a previous warrant,” he said. “Right now, they’re basing it off that and still in the process of deciding whether to charge him with the incident.”

The Daily News reported the suspect, whose name has not been released because charges have not been filed, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals last Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

Leone said U.S. Marshals tend to be involved when trying to find a fugitive that has been on the run. He added that Temple Police’s next actions depend on Philadelphia Police’s Special Victims Unit.

“We’re going to circle back with the Special Victims Unit and see what the next steps will be,” he said. “So we’re following their lead.”


Steve Bohnel and Lian Parsons can be reached at news@temple-news.com or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.


News in brief: 10.6 Issue


Temple Police issued a pair of emails to the university community after the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives discovered a vague threat in a post on 4chan, a popular imageboard website.

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said the university exercised caution about the threat, which stated a “fellow robot will take up arms against a university near Philadelphia.” The time for the threat to be executed was 2 p.m. Monday EST, the threat read.

Leone added Temple is one of many universities that prepared for the threat. Drexel University’s Public Safety issued a statement to students, faculty and staff, reminding the community about the shooting that occurred at Umpqua Community College in Roseberg, Oregon.

“You’re talking a lot of territories and other universities,” Leone said.

He added Temple Police increased its presence in high traffic areas around Main Campus and encouraged students, faculty and staff to report any suspicious activity.

AlliedBarton was also instructed to help look for “anything suspicious,” Leone added.

The FBI, Philadelphia Police and other law enforcement agencies took notice of the threat and aided in the increase in security in the city Monday, he said.

“Unfortunately, this is the world we’re living in, so we have to be cautious,” Leone said.

-Steve Bohnel


A 20-year-old man was robbed by four other men early Sunday morning at the intersection of 17th and Jefferson streets.

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said the complainant, who is not a student, was at the aforementioned location when four men approached him.

One of the men displayed a silver-colored handgun, demanding the man’s belongings, Leone said. The 20-year-old gave the men his cell phone and $26.

Leone added the armed individual was about 5-feet-9 inches tall, and was last seen wearing a light-colored hoodie. The other three suspects were all last seen wearing dark hoodies. All four men appeared to be in their late teens to early 20s, Leone said.

Tipsters should contact Temple Police at 215-204-1234.

Steve Bohnel


Dr. Eric Altschuler, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the School of Medicine, is conducting a pilot research study that utilizes mirrors to lessen pain in injured veterans, according to a university press release.

“Mirror therapy” uses a mirror to display a reflection of the patient’s healthy limb where the injured limb would be. When the patient moves the healthy limb, the mirror gives the optical illusion of the injured limb moving in tandem. This illusion prompts the brain into believing the injured limb is functioning normally. The therapy can reduce pain and spasms in the injured limb.

The study will focus on combat veterans with complex orthopedic and peripheral nerve injuries, as well as continuous pain and discomfort that inhibits their lives. The study will be held at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland over a span of eight weeks.

Altschuler suspects people with severe injuries may be able to regain mobility and reduce pain and discomfort through therapy, and hopes to apply the results to the civilian population.

-Lian Parsons


Temple University Hospital was presented with the 2015 Rising Star Award award at the University HealthSystem Consortium Annual Conference 2015 in Orlando, Florida. TUH is one of only three hospitals in the country to earn the award, which honors academic medical centers that have made significant improvements in their annual rankings in UHC’s annual Quality and Accountability Study.

TUH scored in the top 10th percentile in three out of the six performance categories on UHC’s 2015 Quality and Accountability Performance Scorecard, including clinical effectiveness, efficiency and equity of care. TUH was also in the top 25th percentile in the mortality and safety categories.  TUH earned a four-star rating out of a maximum of five stars.

“Honors such as the UHC’s 2015 Rising Star Award can only be achieved by physicians and staff who have made a commitment to high-performance healthcare that improves positive patient outcomes through evidence-based care processes,” said TUH President and CEO John Kastanis, said in a press release.  “This is the kind of commitment that earns distinction at the national level and will solidify Temple University Hospital’s continued success.

-Lian Parsons

Footage of sexual assault suspect released

Philadelphia Police believe this is the suspect in Monday night's sexual assault and robbery of a Temple student. |COURTESY PHILADELPHIA POLICE

Philadelphia Police believe this is the suspect in Monday night’s sexual assault and robbery of a Temple student. |COURTESY PHILADELPHIA POLICE

Philadelphia Police released footage today of the man who is believed to have sexually assaulted and robbed a 20-year-old female student Monday night.

The department’s Special Victims Unit is still trying to identify and locate the suspect, who was captured on a SEPTA subway camera before the incident. He was last seen boarding the Broad Street Line at the Erie station and departing at the Cecil B. Moore station.

Officer Christine O’Brien, a Philadelphia Police spokeswoman, said both a witness and the student who was attacked said the man in the video is the suspect.

O’Brien added that at a press conference at the Special Victims Unit’s headquarters on Hunting Park Avenue near Front Street, Capt. John Darby said the suspect may be responsible for another recent robbery. The location of that robbery is not yet available, O’Brien said.

The student and suspect are not believed to have known each other, Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone previously told The Temple News.

Tipsters can contact Philadelphia Police at 215-686-8477 or text 773847. All tips are confidential.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

News in brief: 9.29 Issue


Along with Neumann University in Aston, TUTV was the only other collegiate station credentialed to provide live coverage of Pope Francis’ appearances in Philadelphia last week.

TUTV reporters prepared stories in advance and broadcasted live from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway along with professional media outlets.

Associate Professor Paul Gluck, TUTV’s general manager, told the Inquirer as many as 17 student journalists were involved in the coverage.

“We can’t think of a better opportunity to show them how to cover a world-class story than when it comes to your backyard,” he said.

Lu Ann Cahn, director of career services for the School of Media and Communication and a former NBC10 reporter, anchored TUTV’s coverage.

“This might be one of the biggest stories we’re ever going to cover,” senior and broadcast journalism major Melissa Steininger told the Inquirer. “Something we’re going to remember forever.”

TUTV is broadcast in Philadelphia on Comcast Channel 50 and Verizon Channel 45 as well as streamed online at templetv.net.

-Lian Parsons


Temple University Hospital is the first in the region to implement a new FDA approved implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) system. Patients with an ICD implanted generally have been unable to receive MRI scans because the MRI could cause a malfunction in the defibrillator.

ICDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition where the heart unexpectedly begins beating in a very rapid pattern. SCA can be fatal if not treated immediately.

An ICD is placed under the skin to track the heart rate of patients who have already had, or are at risk for SCA. If the ICD detects an abnormal rapid heart rhythm it will automatically deliver an electric shock to restore the heartbeat to normal.

The hospital will use the Medtronic Evera MRI SureScan ICD System. It has been FDA approved to allow for MRI scans on any part of the body. The approval was based on data from the Evera MRI Clinical Trial, which demonstrated the device is safe and effective, because of a very low risk of interactions between the MRI and the ICD.

“We are pleased to offer this innovative technology at Temple,” Joshua Cooper, MD, FACC, FHRS, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Temple University Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine said in a press release. “This new device could be a big deal for patients who may benefit from an ICD implantation to deliver life-saving therapy. Many of these same patients may need an MRI at some point in their lifetime and this piece of technology will help break down the barrier between ICDs and MRIs.”

The new product will not replace all defibrillators, Cooper said. However, the MRI-safe ICD is an improved option.

-Lian Parsons


Charter schools are suffering from lack of funding, the Keystone Alliance for Public Charter Schools announced in a press release last week.

There has been a three-month-long state budget impasse, which has led to school districts across the state reducing or suspending tuition payments to brick-and-mortar charter schools.

“The Charter School Law does not permit school districts to withhold funding from charter schools in the absence of a state budget,” said Tim Eller, executive director of the Keystone Alliance for Public Charter Schools.  “The bulk of funding for charter schools is funneled through school districts, and with many of them refusing to pay, charter schools are being financially strangled.  This is affecting thousands of students who attend charter schools across the state.”

Eller added many brick-and-mortar charter schools are struggling to remain open during the budget impasse.

There are 86 brick-and-mortar charter schools in Philadelphia alone. According to publiccharters.org, as of 2012, there are around 47,000 charter school students in Philadelphia.

Charter schools do not have the authority to levy local taxes and generally rely on school districts for funding. They have few options for revenue sources and access to funding is quickly dwindling, including reserve funds.

Section 1725-A of the Public School Code requires school districts to pay charter schools “in 12 equal monthly payments, by the fifth day of each month, within the operating school year.”

-Lian Parsons


Temple alumni Brad Volm and Bradley Sawhill were involved in a collision between a Ride the Ducks tour vehicle and a bus in Seattle last Thursday afternoon, The Seattle Times reported. Four people were killed, eight others were critically injured in the collision and 20 people suffered minor injuries.

A witness described the Ride the Ducks tour vehicle, which was headed north, swerving and hitting an SUV before colliding with and ripping out the side of the southbound bus, The Seattle Times reported.

Volm and Sawhill were six weeks into a two-month cross-country roadtrip. They were both rugby players at Temple and graduated in 2014. Neither sustained injuries beyond minor bruising, Gerry Volm, Volm’s father said.

“Since graduation, [Brad] has always wanted to do this [trip],” Volm’s father said.

Neither of the two went to the ER after the collision.

“He’s a pretty humble kid,” Volm’s father added. “As parents we tried to convince him to go to the ER, but he said, ‘No Dad, there are other people who need it more.”

Since the crash, a fifth person died from sustaining accident injuries. 13 people are still recovering at the Harborview Medical Center, with four listed in serious condition.

-Lian Parsons

News in brief: 9.22 Issue


An unidentified Temple student was seen flashing a laser pointer at a Philadelphia Police helicopter last Monday night, the Inquirer reported.

The action caused Aviation Lt. David Bonk to tweet out a picture of Morgan Hall North, where the incident occurred.

“Attention @TempleUniv student on top floor: pointing lasers at #TacAir is illegal,” Bonk tweeted Monday night.

The Inquirer reported that Lt. John Stanford, a Philadelphia Police spokesman, said police officials were in contact with Temple to ensure the university would warn that shining a laser at aircrafts can lead to the perpetrator being arrested.

Temple issued an email about the incident Tuesday afternoon, when Michael Scales, associate vice president for student affairs, addressed students who live in residential halls about the incident.

“Philadelphia Police reported overnight that someone in Morgan Hall North at Temple University shined a laser pointer at a police helicopter in the area,” Scales wrote.

“The use of laser pointers on aircraft can be dangerous for those in the air and on the ground. Anyone found responsible could face both criminal and university penalties.”

Tipsters should contact Temple Police at 215-204-1234.

-Steve Bohnel


In honor of Park(ing) Day—an annual event created to temporarily turn metered parking spaces into public parks—Temple University Ambler students and faculty created “Park(ing) for People,” a temporary pop-up park located in front of the County Theater in Doylestown this past Friday and Saturday.

The effort to create the park, which was 120-feet long and 12-feet wide, was led by associate professor Baldev Lamba, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, according to a university press release.

“Imagine a greener, more people-friendly space in place of parking spots,” Lamba said. “This pop-up park is a true partnership between our students and faculty and volunteer architects, horticulturists, landscape architects, artists and organizations in the region.”

In 2011, Lamba helped to create a award-winning 32,000 square-foot pop-up garden—the first of its kind for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Even though the one in Doylestown was roughly 22 times smaller than this design, the purpose of both parks is the same, Lamba said.

“It’s about changing mindsets,” he said. “It’s showing people that urban centers can have areas that are green, innovative and inviting.”

-Steve Bohnel

N. Park Avenue shooting ruled a homicide

Philadelphia’s medical examiner’s office has ruled the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old student from last month as a homicide and made an arrest, following a 12-day investigation that concluded Friday.

Officer Leeloni Palmiero, a Philadelphia Police spokeswoman, said the city medical examiner’s office determined that the death of Agatha Hallwhose name was released todaywas a homicide because of the position of her body when police found her and the angle at which the bullet traveled through her head, Palmiero said.

According to a press release from Philadelphia Police’s Public Affairs department, testing conducted last Thursday revealed it would have been “impossible” for the victim’s gunshot to be “self-inflicted.”

Palmiero previously told The Temple News that officers responded to a radio call from the 2300 block of N. Park Avenue early Aug. 31. When they arrived and entered Hall’s apartment, they found her lying on her bedroom floor with a handgun under her hand, and a bullet hole in the ceiling. Paramedics pronounced her dead at around 12:35 a.m.

The motive for the shooting was an argument, and police have arrested a 29-year-old man in connection to the incident, Palmiero said Wednesday. According to a press release, Brandon Meade, who lives on the 7100 block of Stockley Road in Upper Darby, has been arrested and charged with the murder of Hall.

Philadelphia Police—who were initially treating the shooting as a suicide—re-classified the case after the department’s Homicide Unit determined it was “suspicious.”

According to her LinkedIn page, Hall was a finance major, and was set to graduate later this year. She previously graduated from Northeast High School in 2011.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

News in brief: 9.15 Issue


Police have arrested two men in connection to an armed robbery that occurred on Norris Street near 17th early Monday morning—one of whom fired at officers before being apprehended.

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said 22nd District officers arrested one of the suspects after he came out of his house on Lehigh Avenue near 15th Street. The second suspect was arrested after he fired shots at officers while they were identifying the first male, he added.

A third man was arrested around 1:30 a.m. Sunday because he might be associated with the pair of suspects arrested Monday, Leone said. He and one of the men arrested Monday are juveniles, so their names and information will not be released, he added.

Leone said the second man arrested Monday might have been an adult, and is looking into information on that suspect.

A TU Alert was sent out about Monday’s robbery at around 2:15 a.m. Leone said that around 2 a.m., a student and non-student were walking on Norris Street when two men approached them. One of the men showed a black handgun and told the two to “give me everything,” Leone said. He added that after they gave the suspects their cell phones, the robbers fled west on Norris Street, and then north on 17th Street.

-Steve Bohnel


Two sexual assaults were reported on Main Campus last week involving students.

In the first incident, which was reported Sept. 7, a female student reported a sexual assault to Temple Police that occurred Sept. 1 at 1813 17th St. There was alcohol involved and the victim knew the suspect, a male student, said Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone.

Another sexual assault was reported on Sept. 8. A female student reported a sexual assault to Temple Police that occurred on May 7 on 15th street near Oxford. The victim knew the suspect, a male student, Leone said.

Leone added that police are awaiting the victim’s decision on how to best move forward.

-Jack Tomczuk


Xiaoxing Xi, the Temple professor accused of sharing trade secrets with Chinese scientists, had all charges against him dropped last week.

The former chairman of the physics department was arrested in May and charged with four counts of wire fraud for disclosing technology secrets to organizations in China. He faced a maximum fine of $1 million and 80 years in prison.

The technology prosecutors accused Xi of sharing was about a device he developed to grow superconductive films from magnesium diboride. These thin films allow computers to run more effectively.

Xi, a U.S. citizen born in China, came to Temple in 2009 following a stint as a physics professor at Pennsylvania State University.

The Justice Department dropped the charges due to a lack of substantive evidence, according to a report by the New York Times.

“I don’t expect them to understand everything I do,” Xi told the Times. “But the fact that they don’t consult with experts and then charge me? Put my family through all this? Damage my reputation? They shouldn’t do this. This is not a joke. This is not a game.”

The article in the Times suggests the government is targeting Chinese-born scientists as potential spies. Charges were also dropped in an Ohio case that implicated hydrologist Sherry Chen of stealing information and sharing it with Chinese officials.

-Jack Tomczuk


The partner of a Philadelphia Police officer who was killed in the line of duty northwest of Main Campus in September 2008 will represent the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in greeting the Pope when he arrives in the United States.

Richard Bowes, a member of St. Christopher’s Church in Somerton, was told the news at a Sunday mass, said Stephanie Brophy, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Bowes, along with his wife Bernadette and three children, will greet the Pope at Atlantic Aviation at Philadelphia International Airport Sept. 26 when Pope Francis arrives, Brophy said.

“The local parishes were looking to see if there are any families close to their parishes,” she said. “And the Bowes were one of the first to come to mind.”

Bowes was a member of the Highway Division of Philadelphia Police in September 2008, Brophy said. His partner, Patrick McDonald, stopped 27-year-old Daniel Giddings at 17th and Dauphin streets before a foot chase ensued, 6ABC reported. McDonald was fatally shot on Colorado Street near Susquehanna Avenue, while Bowes was shot in the leg near McDonald’s patrol car on 17th Street near Susquehanna.

-Steve Bohnel


City Council introduced legislation Thursday seeking to increase the number of gender-neutral restrooms throughout Philadelphia.

First District Councilman Mark Squilla introduced the ordinance, which would require current and future privately-owned single-stall restrooms to be designated gender-neutral.

“All people, regardless of gender identification, deserve to be able to meet their basic needs with dignity and safety,” Squilla said. “As Philadelphia prepares for the World Meeting of Families and the 2016 Democratic National Convention, both of which will be watched by the world, we should send a message declaring that all people, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, are welcome.”

Philadelphia officials will increase awareness about the legislation by using the hashtag #freetoPHL. If City Council passes the legislation and the mayor signs it into law, this hashtag will also be used to alert people which facilities are not complying with the legislation, as well as those who are in compliance.

-Steve Bohnel