As students gathered to celebrate Homecoming with a golf cart parade and a pep rally for Saturday’s football game against Charlotte, protesters made their way towards the bell tower to disrupt the school spirit. The Stadium Stompers pushed themselves to the middle of the event as they shouted, “Down with the stadium, up with the community.” They also held a large sign that portrayed a football stadium and read “Down with the stadium.” Members of the group shouted through a megaphone about why the stadium is negative for the community.
As described on flyers being handed out by the group, “Stadium Stompers is a movement of community members and students coming together to stop Temple’s stadium and build power in North Philly.” The first idea to build a football stadium on campus was proposed by former President Neil Theobald, who is no longer at the university. The proposed location for the new stadium is between Broad and 16th streets and Norris Street and Pollett Walk. According to Philly.com, the stadium will include 35,000 seats. The projected cost for the project is about $126 million.
Eleni Latsios, a junior Entrepreneurship major, witnessed the interruption of homecoming events and debated with a student member of the Stadium Stompers. She does not believe that the stadium is a negative plan for Temple and the community. Latsios said, “I literally did not see the basis behind people being upset. I tried to find the logic in it. It’s not like they are tearing down a historic building, so there is no logic in being upset about wanting to create something for the future.”
Shaya Reyes, a Sophomore at Temple University, is a member of Escensia Latina. This dance group’s performance was interrupted by the arrival of the Stadium Stompers. The basis of their performance is based around clapping and stomping, so there was no music included in the routine. This allowed the voices of the protestors to be heard clearly. Students cheered for the dancers to show support for their dedication and the performance overall. Reyes said, “Personally, I thought it was a little counterintuitive on their part because if you are trying to get from the students then why would you cut off a student event for it? We are all trying to have a good time, especially cutting off the middle of a performance.”
Reyes stated that she does not have an opinion on the stadium because she has not paid much attention to the issue.
“I mean, I guess as most performers say the show must go on, so we still kept our show just the way it was. We did what we had to do, we did what we wanted to do, and we just put our best out there like we always do.”
She was very thankful about the students who continued to show their support during the disruption of the event.
Reyes said, “While it was a little nerve-racking since they came right before we started performing, having the support of the rest of the Temple community, other students cheering us on, paying attention to us, keeping the event going on a roll, it was definitely motivating to keep the show going.”
What do you think, will the plans continue to go through since Theobald is no longer at the University? And did the Stadium Stompers do the right thing by protesting at the homecoming pep rally?