Fallout Over Rutgers Hire Prompts 'Catfight'

Trustees complain they didn't have enough time to vet Julie Hermann
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2013 2:00 PM CDT
Fallout Over Rutgers Hire Prompts 'Catfight'
In this May 15, 2013 file photo, Julie Hermann listens at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ, as she is announced as its new athletic director.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Rutgers University is scrambling to deal with reports that its newly minted athletic director and supposed scandal slayer Julie Hermann has a spotty past of her own—complete with abuse allegations and a sex-discrimination settlement—and emerging emails show bickering and complaints among the very board of trustees that appointed Hermann in the first place. Trustees say they were given the names of two finalists the day before the first was to be interviewed, and they spent only 75 minutes interviewing Hermann, reports the Star-Ledger. "It was not enough time," says one. "Let’s not present this as any kind of exemplary process. Subsequent events have proven otherwise.”

The search leaders tried via email to smooth things over, telling trustees, "You all had the opportunity to examine Julie’s credentials, to spend some time with her when she was on campus. As you know, there was strong support for Julie." That prompted a string of emails that the lone student on the search committee likened to "a professional catfight in my email inbox." Adding insult to injury, Rutgers paid an executive search company $70,000 to vet finalists for the job, notes the New York Times; now, the school is also paying a crisis-management company $150,000 to deal with the scandals' fallout. (More Julie Hermann stories.)

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