Itchy rash affects more than 100 students

At least 100 Temple students in the past year reported having a rash on the backs of their legs which caused itchiness, redness and large bumps, according to reports by CBS 3 and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Some students told the Daily News they suspected the rashes were caused by sitting on benches at the Cecil B. Moore subway station while wearing shorts. The direct skin-to-surface contact may have transmitted the rash.

One student who spoke to the Daily News noticed the rash develop within 10 minutes of sitting on a bench at the station. She went to Student Health Services and was given a topical cream and later oral steroids as treatment. She redeveloped the symptoms after sitting on the bench again.

An SHS administrator told the Daily News the rash is not a major threat and there is no certain correlation between the rash and the subway benches.

The Broad Street Line station is one of the last in the city with wooden benches along the platforms instead of metal ones. It is the only location where SEPTA has received complaints about the rash.

A SEPTA spokeswoman told CBS 3 that in response to the complaints the benches were powerwashed, disinfected, painted and then sealed.

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

Students react to attack on cop

A video posted to showing a SEPTA police officer being attacked in the Cecil B. Moore subway station while bystanders watched gained heavy criticism from police officers and officials in the city.

The Temple News spoke with several students around campus asking for their reactions to the video and what they would do in such as situation.

“It’s scary to think that most people aren’t willing to step in and help someone even if they see something going wrong,” Erin Cain a freshman biology major said. “Even though it was a person of authority, clearly you know who was in the right, people still didn’t feel the urge to do anything about it.”

Alex Fern, a freshman actuarial science, was surprised by the actions of the suspect and his ability to overtake a police officer.

“Honestly, the end result was a lot more than what he should have done, the fee isn’t worth all that trouble,” Fern said. “I feel a little unsafe that he wasn’t able to defend himself one hundred percent, I understand there would be instances where he can’t defend himself, but it seemed kind of easy almost for the attacker to take him over.”

As for what she would in the situation, Fern admitted that she didn’t know.

“I’d like to think that I would be one of the people that would help, but me having never been put in that situation I wouldn’t know for sure.  Everyone thinks in that situation someone else would step up.”

Allison Macolino, a sophomore tourism and hospitality management major expressed shock in the crowd’s actions.

“I think it’s crazy how now one helped him.  Everyone just stood there and watched,” Mocolino said. “I can see where people don’t want to get involved, but I don’t really understand why they wouldn’t help the cop.  It didn’t even look like anyone went to go get more help, you don’t have to intervene but you couldn’t go get someone else?”

“It makes it that much more real because it’s where I live and I use that Subway station all the time,” she added.

Cop attacked at Cecil B. Moore station while riders watch

A SEPTA surveillance video posted to Monday shows an assault on a SEPTA police officer inside the Cecil B. Moore subway station that occurred on Thursday, Sept. 19, as onlookers watched with no one taking action.

The video, which showed a time stamp of just after 3 p.m., shows a crowd of subway riders entering the train while a cop, identified by as Officer Samuel Washington, attempts to stop a man who had allegedly entered the station without paying.

Shortly after the train departs the station, the video shows the man violently struggle with Washington before grabbing hold of the officer and flipping him over, and then under, a bench.

A crowd of onlookers then gathers around the two, with the Washington remaining pinned under the bench for about a minute before he appears to grab hold of his attacker’s face or neck, and pulls himself up to arrest the man.

No one from the crowd gathered to watch the struggle took action to help the officer, and one woman appeared to have stopped a phone call to take a picture or video of the incident.

The video was posted to alongside an article by Daily News columnist Helen Ubinas, who refers to the lack of action taken by passersby as the “Philly Shrug.”

SEPTA makes preliminary plan to restore some services Tuesday afternoon

SEPTA may restore limited service tomorrow, Oct. 30, pending the outcome of an assessment of its facilities, equipment and infrastructure in the early morning.

The transportation authority released a press release today, Oct. 29, indicating its hope of reimplementing some service Tuesday. The Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines would resume first, followed by bus and trolley services, the statement reads.

SEPTA temporarily shut its services down at 12:30 a.m. this morning, in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.

“Other modes of service – Regional Rail, Norristown High Speed Line and Route 101 and 102 Trolleys – which operate in areas prone to flooding and track obstructions, may be slower to return to service,” the statement states.

Based on Amtrak’s notification that its Northeast Corridor service will be disrupted until Wednesday, Oct. 31, the release notes, some Regional Rail Lines will be suspended until further notice. Those lines include: Paoli/ Thorndale Line, Airport Line, Chestnut Hill West Line, Wilmington/Newark Line, Cynwyd Line, and Trenton Line.

SEPTA also said that it is unlikely the Norristown/Manayunk Line will operate tomorrow.

The authority’s review of its services will take approximately 6 hours and be done with the city’s Office of Emergency Management.

Continue to check Broad & Cecil and for Temple-related coverage of the hurricane.

TSG apportions money for SEPTA token giveaway, plans to inform students

When the fall semester rolls around, some students will be able to save themselves the money – and hassle – of buying SEPTA tokens to take a ride on the subway. They may just learn something, too.

As promised in TU Nation’s, Temple Student Government’s executive ticket, campaign last spring, TSG will be implementing a new program in which students who “register” on its website will be eligible for free SEPTA tokens.

Colin Saltry, student body president, said in an email that the organization had a surplus of more than $10,000 at the end of last semester. This money, he said, is being used to “invest in office upgrades and equipment as well as supplies and promotional materials,” and to buy 1,500 tokens for the semester.

On a given weekend, the organization will distribute 50 sets of 2-tokens to the first 50 registered students who show up to the giveaway.

But registering isn’t just about getting free SEPTA Tokens.

Saltry said the point in having students register is actually to inform them and allow them to advocate for Temple.

By registering, Saltry said, the students’ information will be used to sign them up for TU Alerts, used by the university to communicate with students during emergencies, and for TALON, Temple Advocates Legislative Outreach Network.

Who knew that signing up for a free ride out of North Philly could simultaneously mean becoming more aware and involved with the university?

Will you be signing up for the free tokens?

SEPTA to strike at 3 a.m.

As of 3 a.m. today, Nov. 3, SEPTA workers will be on strike, according to an Inquirer article published early this morning.

SEPTA originally planned to strike Saturday at midnight, but negotiators worked a deal to hold the strike until after the Phillies’ World Series stretch in Philadelphia ended with tonight’s Game 5 of the series.

Temple issued a statement to all students and employees last week that the university would run as usual.

“You should know that if there is a transit interruption, Temple University will be open for business as usual. All classes and events will be held as scheduled,” the e-mail, sent from Vice President of Operations William Bergman, read. “Employees are expected to report to work on time to ensure uninterrupted service to students and patients.”

Temple has also prepared “contingency plans,” including discounted parking for car-poolers and shuttles from locations listed here.

SEPTA strike, Shmepta strike

Hailing a cab on North Broad Street can be impossible on a good day, so it’s a good thing that SEPTA announced it will not strike on Sunday, according to an Inquirer report.

Transport Workers Union president Willie Brown told the Inquirer that there are no plans to strike this weekend or “in the immediate future.” SEPTA workers will continue to work under their current contract but are still in effort to reach a new contract negotiations.


SEPTA union on verge of striking

Philadelphia’s favorite public transportation system is only two weeks away from a union contract deadline.

What does this mean for riders? If the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority doesn’t reach a deal with officials from the Transport Workers Union Local 234, SEPTA’s largest union, then Philly will see the absence of buses, subways and trolleys.

SEPTA’s Regional Rail would still run, since those operators are part of a different union. Service will also not be interrupted on suburban bus or trolley routes. However, city bus routes, in addition to the Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines, will not be in operation.

This is no new experience for Philadelphians, however. The last strike occurred in November 2005 and lasted for seven days. At the time, Temple set up a shuttle service for students along Broad Street that stopped at the subway station cross-streets.

The Temple News provided award-winning coverage on the strike. Read about it here and here.

To prepare, SEPTA has already set up a Service Interruption Guide as an aide to commuters. The Temple News will have continuing coverage on the strike situation.

SEPTA police strike made official


After a day of negotiations, SEPTA police officers have made good on their promise to strike.

The Fraternal Order of Transit Police has not been able to reach an agreement with SEPTA officials regarding the wages and benefits of FOTP members.

SEPTA released a statement earlier today, which says the tentative agreements monitored by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mediation were approved by SEPTA officials, but not by the FOTP.

Since negotiations began yesterday, SEPTA, Mayor Michael Nutter and the Philadelphia Police Department have been assuring riders that security will not diminish due to the strike.

SEPTA officials hope to resume discussion with the FOTP soon, as they feel “this strike was totally avoidable.”

Photo courtesy of CBS3.