By Briana Vannozzi
“All in favor, aye, we will now move into closed session thank you.”
With that the Rutgers Board of Governors, or at least those physically present, went into a closed session, special meeting.
At hand, the looming presence of multiple controversies surrounding the football team. Allegations that head coach Kyle Flood reportedly sent an email, in violation of NCAA rules, to a part-time faculty member about the academic status for one of his athletes. And more recently, the arrests of 11 people, six of whom are Rutgers football players, for an alleged home invasion and assault. The cases are currently under investigation.
On his way out of the roughly two-hour long meeting, Rutgers president Robert Barchi briefly spoke with the media and confirmed this meeting was to discuss legal matters within the athletics department and any anticipated or pending litigation.
A spokesperson for Rutgers Athletic Director, Julie Hermann, wouldn’t give details on a timeline or possible resolution to the issues.
“There will not been any comment from anyone in athletics. It is a closed session of the Board of Governors. Calling it an “emergency” meeting stretches the definition of the word, too,” she said
The President of Rutgers’ teachers union is urging the university to investigate all communication between coaches and faculty.
“I’d like to see this incident thoroughly investigated. We need to know how deep this problem runs. Was it just a question of one email from coach Flood to one part-time lecturer, or was it systemic,” said David Hughes.
Hughes says part-time faculty don’t have the conditions or job security to exercise their academic freedom and judgement. His union passed a resolution earlier this week asking the school to investigate.
“This situation arose because we have a very powerful coach who earns a very high salary and has access to Rutgers at the highest level communicating with an instructor who earns $4,800 per course. Has a one-semester contract, so lives in a completely vulnerable and precarious situation,” said Hughes.
And that he says, puts the instructor in a powerless position.
All of the football players arrested, including the athlete at the center of the email controversy, have been placed on interim suspension while the school reviews their cases. The Scarlet Knights next game is tomorrow at home where they’ll host Washington State.