New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Tuesday that he has “absolute confidence” in embattled Rutgers president Robert Barchi after the Rutgers has been resoundingly criticized for not properly vetting Julie Hermann, the athletic director hired to replace Tim Pernetti, whom the university scapegoated for the abuse scandals that rocked the school and, in particular, its basketball program.
On his monthly “Ask the Governor” program, Christie said he did not want to engage in “character assassination” of Hermann and reiterated that Barchi was “the right man for the job.”
He said he could not “micromanage every hire” and again emphasized that Barchi had his “complete confidence.”
Christie said he was the governor of New Jersey and not a “recruiter for Rutgers University.” He also said he was not the “super president” at Rutgers.
He also said after speaking with Barchi and top Rutgers officials this weekend, he had confidence in Barchi’s judgment, which has been questionable, to say it mildly, to date.
After ESPN obtained a video of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice verbally abusing players and throwing basketballs at them, Barchi claimed not to have seen the video in April–when everyone in the country saw clips of it on the news–when Pernetti first presented it to him until later that evening.
Barchi has made a comedy of errors since. He was resoundingly criticized for the glib way he handled his press conference after the incident. The university then hired Eddie Jordan to replace Rice, who was fired, and then promptly got in hot water when it was revealed Jordan did not have a degree from the university, as he had claimed.
Not learning its lesson, the university then hired Hermann without vetting her. She has been accused of verbally abusing players in the past, threatening female coaches they would lose their jobs if they got pregnant, and has also been accused of terminating a female employee after the female assistant coach went to human resources to complain about sexism and discrimination.
As Breitbart Sports’s Cole Muzio wrote, some columnists have accused the tough-guy governor of being scared of Barchi for some reason.
Herman is scheduled to start her tenure on June 17.
As Forbes reported, a Rutgers faculty member said many on the campus “believe that the lack of transparency, proper vetting process and the lack of direct connection with the real needs of the university is a crucial problem of the administration under Barchi.”
“Many people are also concerned with the recent appointment of a Chief of Staff that has a questionable track record with staff at our institution as well as some pending grievances or legal cases from former employees,” the faculty member said. “We believe that Governor Christie should be more informed with the internal tensions and struggles in our university as they relate to several problematic appointments of well paid administrators, or have produced significant expenses in an institution that does not have funds to spare.”