The Rutgers scandal hasn't been something we've covered a lot here over the past few days as we chose other outlets, ones with interesting angles and more to say. Let's be honest, what could we have said here that wouldn't have been said anywhere else? But, on Friday the news came down that Tim Pernetti was stepping down as AD at Rutgers and in his resignation from the Scarlet Knights he was able to shine a bright light on what really happened in the Mike Rice scandal.
Pernetti made it about as clear as you could that his instinct was to fire Rice upon seeing the nearly 40 minutes of tape. Instead university lawyers, HR professionals, and outside legal council advised against doing that and that is what he brought to Dr. Barchi as the recommendation.
If true, and why lie on your way out the door in shame, I congratulate Pernetti on his instinct. However, how in the blue hell do you not say "screw you" to that legal bull and march right into the office of the President and tell him exactly what you're going to do or strap him into a chair and make the guy watch the tape as proof until he sees the moral and ethical case to fire Rice's ass.
Too bad his university President decided it best to take another course of action at the time and again on Friday afternoon in one of the lamest press confrences of all time.
However, knowing the state of "higher education" these days should that surprise us?
At the press conference to announce Pernetti's resignation Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi revealed that he never actually reviewed the tapes that were viewed by Pernetti, yet laid the blame squarely on his AD's shoulders.
Can you say "lack of leadership" boys and girls? I know I can and no Dr. Barchi, this wasn't a failure of process, as you so bluntly put it, this was a failure of freaking common sense as a human being.
If you were worried about a lawsuit back in November, like you insinuated, and made clear that this firing wasn't for "cause" but just a straight up firing, why the hell couldn't you have empowered Pernetti with that exact thing back then?
Instead you and your holier than thou academia types stuck your head in the sand, hoping to let this thing blow over and only once the bright light of the media spotlight was shone on this situation did you do the right thing.
You know what that's called? That's called cowardice and it sure as hell isn't leadership - which you're supposed to be providing.
Watching the press conference of Dr. Barchi was like watching a train wreck and not being able to look away. As the viewing public and media what we witnessed was a condescending and flat out arrogant university President throwing Pernetti on a sword that the lifelong "Rutgers Man" had already thrown himself upon.
So, what to make of this train wreck? Well, one can only reasonably conclude that one of or all three of the following are true:
- Tim Pernetti is lying about his first instinct being to fire Rice
- Robert L. Barchi is using Pernetti as a human shield to protect his own backside
- Rutgers University needs new lawyers, because the ones that gave Pernetti the recommendation are idiots.
Even if only one of these are true, the conclusion should be that Rutgers University needs a new President at least and more likely needs to clean house of it's Board of Governors.
Don't hold your breath either as the representative of the Board of Governors made it clear that Barchi had the full support of the board and it wasn't going anywhere. Anyone else see a problem there?
All that sticks in my mind is that this group of "leaders" decided it best to allow one man to fall on the sword, rather than to make a definitive statement that the buck stops with them all in all matters of Rutgers University. If that's not a clear case of a lack of real leadership or judgement this writer has either lost his mind or the world of "academia" has gone completely off the rails and last time I checked I'm of sound mind, so you be the judge.