Students were not pleased with the new student athlete lounge
We spoke to Temple’s Athletic Director for Strategic Communications about the response to the new space
In wake of the recent student tragedies that have struck Temple University's campus and the increase demand on mental health services, students were left wondering where the university's priorities stood after the unveiling of the new student athlete lounge.
The new student athlete lounge, located in McGonigle Hall, contains XBox and Playstation gaming systems, big screen TV's, leather couches, unlimited coffee for all athlete's, and "nap pods." They seem to resemble these MetroNap EnergyPods, which cost nearly $13,000 each.
Temple University students took to Twitter to express their distaste with the student athlete privilege they feel is on campus.
Hey @TempleUniv – instead of spending money on this – why don’t we get more counselors to meet the demands at Tuttleman Counseling and to address student food insecurity? #dissapointed https://t.co/JGtDdr1yZ2
— Cassie Semyon (@casssemyon) January 26, 2018
Temple, I love you, but what you have shown me is you value what looks nice over what is nice. You value athletics over academics. Temple should be committed to giving EVERY student the best. Our residence halls are crowded and not up to code. Show us you care about all of us. https://t.co/BhtrDIwLUw
— ✩ Meesh Shells✩ (@thedjmcsquared) January 27, 2018
temple is legit 5 seconds away from just raising my tuition then forcing me to feed the student athletes grapes and fan them as they play on their school provided xbox https://t.co/339RIHM58T
— xoxo, gossip gwen (@whoisgwen) January 26, 2018
Love that Temple is having a mental health epidemic that’s literally draining the student body and taking lives. Love that instead of investing in better mental health services, like more therapists and better walk in scheduling, we choose to give our athletes somewhere to nap. https://t.co/YX6lQEQPQO
— The Real Slim Katie (@KatieR318) January 27, 2018
temple literally only does group counseling sessions bc they won't allocate money for more therapists but the student athletes definitely need these pods https://t.co/jPRCndvHiZ
— ern (@erinmarhefka) January 26, 2018
Hey @TempleUniv do you need someone to coach you on finances? I’m not too good at it but I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t spend your money on useless crap like this when students are BEGGING for better mental health services and a sexual assault crisis center https://t.co/2BIkEo9H2E
— trashé (@trashepanda) January 26, 2018
The Tab Temple spoke with Temple University's Senior Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications, Larry Dougherty, to help answer the student's questions.
After seeing yet another advancement for the athletics program, students became concerned that their tuition is being used poorly.
Dougherty assured The Tab the new student athlete lounge was fully funded by a donor group known as the New York Angels for an undisclosed amount.
No money came out of the athletic or university budget.
"We want to try and make the experience better for our athletes. This is something when you go to the donors, they can relate to. Here is what we are trying to do, here is X, put it into play. We are on a pretty tight budget compared to other Division 1 universities so that is where the lounge came in. We said 'We want a space for our athletes.'"
Non-athletic students also felt the priveledge of being an athlete outweighed any academic standard on campus.
They treat these damn athletes like they’re royalty! I hope they’re bringing Temple some money in because y’all sure spend a lot on them! ???♂️ https://t.co/IGI1QE9EgP
— or-lan-do? (@_justbran) January 27, 2018
According to Dougherty, Temple is home to over 500 D1 athletes. Out of those 500 students, 65% of those athletes are on some type of scholarship. Out of those students, 35% are on a full scholarship, including tuition, room and board, books, and a stipend for cost of attendance.
Students recieving a full scholarship will also recieve a $2,500 stipend that is to used to alleviate the pressures of being unemployed while dedicating their time to their athletics as well as schooling.
According to the NCAA, amateur athletes are not allowed to receive any form of salary, which allows the cost of attendance stipend to eliminate the stress and allows the student athletes "not to suffer," says Dougherty.
"Cost of attendance is a new variable. Ours in $2,500. A general student is able to work a job while in school. They do not have the time . There's costs to living here," says Dougherty.
The lounge is meant for athletes to have a place to stay and relax during their busy schedules. Between practices, lifting, classes, academic meetings, and competition, Doughtery is happy to ease the pressures of student athletes.
"We don't just want our student athletes to win games for us. We want them to win at life later on."
In response to the criticism of the new student athlete lounge, Doughtery responded, "I wish students could walk a day in the shoes of a student athlete and realize the demands and time they put in. I would hope they wouldn't criticize that and realize now athletes have a place to catch their breath."