The situation at Rutgers University appears to be growing worse by the day. The university may have thought it rinsed itself of the taint left by Mike Rice simply by firing him, but the fact that school officials knew of Rice's despicable actions prior to the tape's release has created a firestorm of inquiry. Now it seems the Jersey-based gay rights advocacy group, Garden State Equality, is joining the crowded group of outraged inquiry.
The executive director of Garden State Equality is calling for an independent investigation into how exactly Rutgers officials handled all the flagrantly homophobic epithets Rice was caught hurling at players. The gay rights group is outraged by the fact that Rice was merely suspended back in December before the video was made public.
"Now more questions need to be answered about why it was covered up, who’s responsible, who knew about it, and why the reputation of the university is more important than the student athletes,” said Garden State Equality Executive Director Troy Stevenson after a news conference on the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick.
“There were homophobic rants made throughout the statement. This was in direct violation of the state’s anti-bullying law, which we have championed since the beginning. It was harassment, it was intimidation and bullying at the most vitriolic levels.”
Christie's presumptive Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, has also joined the fray. Buono, echoing a comment made by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, feels that legislative hearings should follow a review by the state university’s top governing body, the Board of Governors.
“Nothing has really changed since they looked at the video in December,” Buono said Wednesday after a news conference on the College Avenue campus. “If it’s the light of public scrutiny that forced their hand, that’s a real problem.”
Buono initially dubbed the video a shock of conscience. Um, go Scarlet Knights? Gov. Christie has been just as strident in his criticisms of Rice, and it may be up to him to get to the bottom of it.