TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie vehemently defended Rutgers University President Robert Barchi, saying he took action by firing men’s basketball coach Mike Rice as soon as the controversial video became public, causing an avalanche of media attention.
While acknowledging the president made “a mistake” by not viewing it months ago, when Rice was suspended and fined for hurling, literally and figuratively, balls and homophobic slurs, Christie said he took action as soon as it came to his attention. The apparent delay in watching the video, the governor said, is not considered “a fireable offense.”
“Dr. Barchi faults Dr. Barchi,” Christie said about the school president’s regret about not watching the video sooner. “He says he wishes he asked to have seen the video sooner.”
He added that a man in his postion does not get to be keyed on the day-to-day details of every department, especially in large organizations like universities, and in Barchi’s case, he had an athletic diretor Tim Pernetti, who has also resigned, in charge of the department at the time.
“You have to delegate some authority to them,” he said.
Christie said “you cannont micromanage every single issue,” adding that the president has been occupied with overseeing the vast merger of the state’s largest public university with UMDNJ to create a medical science school.
Some university professors have called for Barchi’s departure, while others have defended him.