University leadership creates ‘culture of fear,’ union says
Temple University police officers were reportedly threatened with sanctions by the administration for promoting a clothing drive for the needy.
The conflict is the latest in a series between the Temple University Police Association and administrators at the Philadelphia school.
Police officers wanted to promote a “charity event” to “gather socks and warm clothes for those in need this winter,” union president Alec Shaffer told The College Fix via text messaging.
He said his members were never told what the specific rules were, but they did not promote the event in order to stay out of trouble.
Law enforcement personnel “were forbidden from actively championing the cause, as policy restrictions loomed over [their] heads,” Shaffer told The Fix.
The police union does still have up a graphic promoting the event, but without a uniformed officer.
The police union also released a letter on X that criticized Vice President of Public Safety Jennifer Griffin and the university for “threatening disciplinary action,” as well as not hiring enough police officers.
The university disagrees with Shaffer’s assertion.
“The report of a personnel investigation is inaccurate,” Senior Director of Communications Deirdre Hopkins told The Fix via email on behalf of Griffin.
But Hopkins said “officers are expected to follow work rules like other Temple staff members and when they violate those rules, including on social media” and “they will be treated in accordance with university policy.”
A photo, reviewed by The Fix, shows an officer in uniform holding up an advertisement for the clothing drive.
Shaffer told The Fix that Griffin has been a disappointment. Just 18 months ago, the union was “optimistic” about Griffin’s hire, as reported by The Fix.
However, Shaffer says Griffin “arrived at Temple with a closed mind and a lack of comprehension about our department’s inner workings and the vibrant culture of North Philadelphia.”
He cited “repeated instances of disrespect to our officers.” He also told The Fix officers have been fired for “trivial off-duty alleged infractions” that have created a “culture of fear.”
Hopkins told The Fix the university is trying to hire more police officers and increase safety.
This includes “a job posting for new police officers” and that “Eighteen Code Blue emergency phones have been updated with 360-degree cameras” which have already “assis in the apprehension of a recent shooting suspect,” according to Hopkins.
She also noted the “$2,000 signing bonus [for officers] after their first year of employment” along with a “retirement contribution benefit above the 8.5% [that] the university currently contributes when the employee’s contribution is 4.5%” agreed to between TUPA and the university.
“The majority of Temple University students feel that the university could be doing more to protect students from crime around campus,” The Temple News reported in November 2022, based on a poll of nearly 500 students.
“Approximately 89 percent of students feel Temple University is not doing enough to protect students,” the student newspaper reported.
Editor’s note: The spelling of Alec Shaffer’s last name has been fixed.
IMAGE: Temple University Police Association/X