Philadelphia House Delegation applauds appointment of JoAnne Epps as acting president of Temple University

Lawmakers are advancing legislation aimed at expanding state oversight of university

PHILADELPHIA, April 12 – The Philadelphia House Delegation today announced that the organization praises the election of JoAnne Epps as acting president of Temple University and that it remains closely monitoring the transformative efforts of the Special Committee of the Board.

“We are pleased with the appointment of Epps as acting president. The board of trustees made this election by unanimous vote, and it is certainly a clever decision,” said the delegation’s chair, state Rep. Morgan Cephas. “Epps has a proven track record of excellency, unparalleled leadership and expertise. We are looking forward to our collaboration.

“We are celebrating this appointment, and we are taking action in favor of the university. Our goal is to help protect the stability of the institution.”

On the same note, state Rep. Joseph C. Hohenstein, delegation secretary, highlighted some of the qualities that makes Epps an exceptional choice.

"JoAnne Epps has my full support as the new interim president of Temple University," Hohenstein said. 

"She's spent over half of her life there teaching and making a true difference in young individuals’ lives right here at Temple. We're grateful that she has chosen to put her retirement on hold while the university finds its feet."

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, delegation treasurer, pointed out that he has known JoAnn Epps since he was 18 years old, as a Temple student. He explained that his impression of Epps has not changed.

“I believe then what I do now – that she is smart, kind and truly Temple made. Ms. Epps is a great choice to be interim president,” Kenyatta said.

“It’s no secret that Temple is facing tough headwinds. As they look for a new president, I have no doubt in my mind that Interim-President Epps will do the necessary work to collaborate with state officials, community members, students and staff to get Temple on the right track and hand over a much more stable university.”

The delegation indicated that against the backdrop of a disturbing number of shootings that have nearly tripled inside of Temple’s patrol zone – going from 11 in 2018 to 26 in 2022 – gun violence keeps affecting life at the campus.

The shootings have continued this year, including one that killed Temple Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald.

Furthermore, former Temple University President Jason Wingard resigned from his position, leaving the university in a state of uncertainty.

The delegation states that part of its plan to support Temple includes passing a series of gun-safety bills, as gun safety in Philadelphia is one of their top priorities.

The organization also is adding an important component to its strategy to support Temple.

“We recently introduced legislation aimed at increasing the number of state-appointed board members to the Temple University Board of Trustees by giving one more appointment to the governor, the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives”, Kenyatta said.

“Every year, the General Assembly makes critical investments into Temple, and with that must come additional oversight, particularly in light of the intersecting issues it faces,” he added.

State Rep. Danilo Burgos, vice chair of the delegation, emphasized that Temple’s enrollment has declined 16.5% since its peak in 2007, exacerbated by COVID-19 as well as concerns about safety around Temple’s campus.

“In light of the unmerciful string of issues that has been impacting Temple for years, it comes as no surprise that the matriculation has gone on a downward spiral,” Burgos said.

“Among other necessary measures, it is critical to provide safety to the students and increase the number of state-appointed members to the Temple University Board of Trustees in order to protect the welfare of the university.”