Rutgers Officials Address Scandal [AUDIO]
The Rutgers Board of Governors on Thursday held its first meeting since the dismissal of men’s basketball coach Mike Rice. The event was livelier than usual, given the scandal that rocked the university over the past two weeks.
The school has been in an unwanted spotlight since video went public of Rice shoving and kicking players during practice and using gay slurs in the process. Since Rice’s dismissal, the university has experienced the resignation of its athletic director, an assistant coach and its top lawyer.
After two hours of open session talks, the fate of one board member remained uncertain. Mark Hershhorn, chairman of the athletics committee and presumably the only member of the board who saw the video in December, was absent for the session that is open to the public.
Earlier in the day, State Senate President Steven Sweeney attended the meeting and requested that Hershhorn no longer serve on the board. Hershhorn said he wanted Rice fired when he saw the video last year, but according to Sweeney, he should have brought his concerns to the full board.
Rice was suspended for three games, fined, and ordered to anger management.
“Mr. Hershhorn left early today,” said Vice Chairman Gerald Harvey. “No action has been taken in respect to Mr. Hershhorn.”
The public comment portion of Thursday’s agenda included a call for the reinstatement of Pernetti. Rutgers graduate Andy Sisti claimed the administration made a mistake in “pressuring Tim to resign.”
“However, you need to not persist in this mistake, but can demonstrate integrity and wisdom by rectifying the mistake,” Sisti said.
Following the meeting, Rutgers University President Robert Barchi insisted Pernetti stepping down was, and still is, the best move for the school.
“Let us remember that Tim took the actions that he took because he thought it was in the best interest of the university,” Barchi told the media.
Still undecided is who will lead the men’s basketball team in the 2013-14 season. A handful of players urged the school to choose interim head coach David Cox, who they say has supported them through the turmoil over the past several days.
“Coach Cox has been there, and that’s the guy we will continue to lean on, and that’s the guy who we want to lead us forward,” said forward Wally Judge.
“Coach Cox needs to remain an integral part of the train-wreck sinking ship that is now the men’s basketball team,” added Susan Kelley, the mother of a freshman on the team.
Players also noted that Rice was misrepresented in the videos viewed by the public.
“We never felt threatened at all,” said forward Kadeem Jack.
The board commented on an independent review that will look into the situation from start to finish and figure out how to avoid a similar mistake in the future.
Vice Chair Harvey said protocol was met when the video was first viewed last year, but somehow, the wrong decision was made.
“How did that happen? Where was the failure of judgment?” he asked.