NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann recently told a group of students it “would be great” if the Newark Star-Ledger is forced to close its shop, according to NJ.com.
The Star-Ledger has been critical of the university — and Hermann — in the aftermath of last year’s player abuse scandal involving former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice, who was fired after a damaging practice video was aired on ESPN. Hermann was hired in May to replace Tim Pernetti, who resigned amid the firestorm.
The newspaper announced last week that it was cutting 167 jobs, including a quarter of its newsroom positions. NJ.com is the online hub of the Star-Ledger and other Advance Publications holdings in New Jersey.
“If they’re not writing headlines that are getting our attention, they’re not selling ads — and they die,” Hermann said during a media ethics and law classroom discussion “a few weeks ago,” according to NJ.com. “And the Ledger almost died in June, right?”
When a student remarked that the paper could still fold, Hermann reportedly replied, “That would be great.”
Hermann came under fire before even starting her tenure at Rutgers, denying allegations of verbal and emotional abuse toward volleyball players she coached at Tennessee in 1996. A former assistant coach also claimed Hermann discouraged her from getting pregnant.
“I’m going to do all I can to not give them a headline to keep them alive,” she told the class, according to NJ.com.
The website said it obtained a recording of Hermann’s talk from a student.
“Her comments were in response to a broad array of student questions on a number of different subjects and were reflective of her own personal experiences,” Rutgers said in a statement to NJ.com. “She had no knowledge of the impending reorganization of the Star-Ledger and drastic changes that the newspaper would announce several weeks later, in April.”
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