Rutgers University officials knew its new athletic director Julie Hermann was involved in two lawsuits that -- coupled with recently unearthed verbal abuse allegations by Hermann’s former athletes – called the university’s vetting process into question. In 1997, a jury awarded damages to a former University of Tennessee assistant coach who claimed in a lawsuit against the university that Herman fired her because she was pregnant, and in 2008, a University of Louisville assistant coach targeted Hermann in a sexual discrimination lawsuit. Search committee co-chair Richard Edwards said in an email to the group’s 27 other members that Rutgers officials knew about the lawsuits, and also clarified other details to search committee members who said they were left in the dark during the process. Once Hermann reached the finalist stage for the Rutgers position, the search firm conducted a background check, which failed to discover the 16-year-old allegations by athletes who played volleyball for Hermann at Tennessee.
Also on Wednesday, Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi – who has also been criticized over the hire and its preceding abuse scandal, which led to the previous athletic director's ouster – reiterated his support for Hermann. “I am confident that Julie and her team will set the stage for a great transition,” Barchi said.
The Connecticut General Assembly has given final approval to a plan to two major spending initiatives for the University of Connecticut. One part would provide $1.5 billion for construction of facilities, including laboratories, equipment and housing. A second part would provide $137 million to hire additional faculty members so that enrollment can be increased in science and technology fields.
The president of St. Mary's College of Maryland is leaving amid a major enrollment and budget shortfall after just three years in office, the institution announced Tuesday. Joseph F. Urgo said in the release that he had asked the public liberal arts college's board not to renew his contract, for "personal and professional reasons." The change comes in the wake of news that the college had fallen significantly short of its enrollment target for next fall, necessitating a budget cut of as much as $3.5 million.
The State Board of Higher Education in North Dakota voted Monday to buy out the contract of Hamid Shirvani, the system chancellor, The Bismarck Tribune reported. Shirvani has faced a series of conflicts in the state in which various campus and political officials have questioned his managerial style. He has maintained that he was hired to push a reform agenda, knowing that some would disagree. He said that he respected the board's decision, and that he had asked board members to either issue a strong show of support or to “please just buy out my contract and thank you very much."
Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers University, is facing considerable criticism for appointing an athletics director who was accused, earlier in her career, of being verbally abusive to athletes she was coaching. Now, The New York Times reported that Barchi appointed a chief of staff this year -- in the midst of the university's athletic scandals -- who was sued by four long-time Rutgers employees for age discrimination. Barchi was aware of the lawsuit when he promoted the chief of staff, Gregory S. Jackson. Rutgers, which was also sued, and Jackson have denied the charges in the suit.
Gordon Gee announced Tuesday afternoon that he is retiring as president of Ohio State University. His announcement did not reference the recent uproar over his comments about Roman Catholics, other universities and the Big 10. But he is leaving quickly -- retiring on July 1.
In a statement, Gee said: "I recently returned from a vacation with my family, during which time I had a chance to consider the university’s phenomenal achievements and the road that lies ahead for it. Ohio State now has a richness of new opportunities that would be the envy of most universities. During my days away, I also spent some time in self-reflection. And after much deliberation, I have decided it is now time for me to turn over the reins of leadership to allow the seeds that we have planted to grow. It is also time for me to reenergize and refocus myself."
Gee has been president twice at Ohio State -- from 1990-97 and from 2007 until now. In between those presidencies, he was president of Brown University and chancellor of Vanderbilt University. Prior to his first Ohio State presidency, he was president of West Virginia University and the University of Colorado.
Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, who has been facing criticism over disparaging remarks he made about Roman Catholics and others, has withdrawn from a planned graduation speech at a Catholic high school, The Columbus Dispatch reported. A university spokeswoman said that “it's a very important, very seminal moment for the young people and so he really wanted to ensure that the appropriate focus was kept on the young people who are graduating and their families."