University releases independent review


Yesterday, the University’s Board of Governors released the results of an independent review surrounding the events preceding the dismissal of former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice.

The review offers several recommendations to improve University policies and procedures, including implementing a “University-wide risk assessment program, and more formal coordination among human resources officials,” according to a statement from the University.

“The report also calls for renewed attention to implementation of reforms proposed in 2008 by the university-sponsored Athletic Review Committee, which advocated the University administration’s closer oversight of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics,” according to the statement.

University President Robert L. Barchi said he was pleased the review was complete and the recommendations will help the University “reassess” its administrative structures and policies.

“This report helps us better understand the issues that emerged in connection with the basketball program,” said Gerald Harvey, chair of the Board of Governors. “This has been a difficult period. But the review and this report will help us learn from these events and move forward, guided by the lessons it outlines.”

Harvey welcomed the review’s emphasis on risk management, and said the University will focus on improving that aspect.

“If done appropriately, these reforms will provide a long-term benefit to our student athletes, to all students and the entire University community,” he said.

Senate President Steve Sweeney issued a statement about the report yesterday, condemning its failure to assign blame for the Rice scandal.

"Unfortunately the report released [yesterday] appears to be a whitewash in that the lawyers hired by the Board offer solutions going forward but fail to assign blame where blame belongs: to those who witnessed the tape and neglected to make the full Board or public aware of this scandal," Sweeney said in a statement.

Sweeney, who has been pushing a bill in the state senate to eliminate the University's Board of Trustees, also said the report highlights that the University's current structure is unworkable.

“Although the report fails to establish accountability for what went wrong, it makes clear that the current structure at Rutgers is simply not workable," he said. "We have seen proof of that time and again over the last few months alone. There are too many people involved in leadership decisions. Not only does that complicate the process of getting things done at the University, but it also interferes with accountability."

According to The Star-Ledger, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, (D-Essex) said she would not bring the bill to eliminate the University's Board of Trustee's to the Assembly floor.

"I don’t think that speaks to improving or retrofitting the governing structure," Oliver said to The Star-Ledger. "I don’t think that’s the way to do it."

The report was conducted by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and the independent review was led by former federal judge Stephen C. Robinson and former federal prosecutor Christopher J. Gunther.

 


Julian Chokkattu

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