Vainieri Huttle: Fired Rutgers’ coach’s conduct ‘disturbing’

TRENTON – A key sponsor of the state’s anti-bullying law applauded the dismissal Wednesday of the Rutgers basketball coach after video surfaced of him physically intimidating and using gay slurs against players.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-37), Englewood, on Wednesday said in a release that “The taped evidence of Mike Rice’s behavior was disturbing on so many levels. His conduct is unacceptable from anyone in a position of leadership, but particularly for someone representing our flagship university.”

Many lawmakers have issued statements in support of the dismissal decision but raising questions about why it took so long.

“The fact that he was allowed to remain as part of the Rutgers leadership team until this information became public is also deeply disturbing. This is an affront to students and players at our state university who have been betrayed by Mike Rice’s conduct,” Vainieri Huttle said.

“We enacted a landmark law last year to help teach our students that bullying will not be tolerated, which makes it all the more unacceptable to turn a blind eye when educators cross the line from bullying into outright abuse.

“We are better than that as a state and our university students deserve better leadership,” said Vainieri Huttle.

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights passed the Legislature last year and was signed into law by Governor Christie.