SBD/May 30, 2013/Colleges

Rutgers Paid $70,000 To Search Firm For Background Check On Julie Hermann

Rutgers Univ. paid $70,000 to Atlanta-based Parker Executive Seach for the "background check that failed to uncover the accusations of verbal and emotional abuse from former volleyball players against " new AD Julie Hermann, according to a front-page piece by Keith Sargeant of the ASBURY PARK PRESS. The accusations came "less than a month after a report broke" that new RU men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan was "hired without having a degree, though Parker Executive Search was not involved in that hire." RU four years ago appointed Parker Executive Search for a "fee of $58,000 plus expenses to identify candidates for the AD position," with the results producing former AD Tim Pernetti, who resigned in April. According to the terms of the contract, Parker Executive Search "lowered its standard fee of $90,000 to $70,000, including out-of-pocket expenses, 'due to ongoing business' with Rutgers" (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 5/30). In Newark, Kelly Heyboer in a front-page piece notes the "controversy over the appointment" of Hermann continued yesterday as e-mails "emerged showing infighting within the university over whether the new hire was properly vetted." RU officials revealed they are "paying a crisis communications firm $150,000 to help deal with the growing media scrutiny over the sports scandals that have engulfed the state university since early April." Committee member Ronald Garutti contends that the committee "never had the opportunity to properly screen Hermann." He said that the group "received the names of the two finalists along with their resumes and biographical material on a Sunday night." Half the search committee was "scheduled to interview both candidates for an hour each on Monday, while the other half of the committee would meet the finalists Tuesday" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/30).

SCARLET LETTERS: In N.Y., Steve Eder reports selection committee co-Chairs Kate Sweeney and Dick Edwards "wrote an e-mail Tuesday to the other committee members to defuse growing criticism of Hermann’s selection." They wrote, "You all had the opportunity to examine Julie’s credentials, to spend some time with her when she was on campus, and to provide us with your thoughts regarding her candidacy as Rutgers’s next Director of Intercollegiate Athletics" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/30). Also in N.Y., O'Keeffe, Red, Armstrong & Vinton report some "critics of the school's selection process are calling for the return" of Pernetti. New Jersey State Sen. and RU alumnus Raymond Lesniak said, "You fix this by asking Julie Hermann to go back to her job at Louisville and bring back Tim Pernetti." Lesniak said Pernetti was "the 'scapegoat' for the school's inadequate policies regarding abusive behavior" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/30).

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: In Newark, Mike Vorkunov reported the "latest incident has done little to bring finality to what has been a looming question" for High Point Solutions co-Founder Tom Mendiburu. His company pays $6.5M per year for RU's football stadium naming rights, and the question is "whether the company will try to get out of its contract." Mendiburu has "yet to meet President Robert Barchi during his nine month tenure." He also has "yet to speak with Hermann nor was he at all consulted" during the search to hire her. Mendiburu said, "I love the university. I love the people there. There's obviously some people at the top that need to be addressed. I'm hopeful that things will be addressed and we can move forward" (NJ.com, 5/29).
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