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Improving Rutgers 140 characters at a time

Jon Newman is a loyal son and a dedicated supporter of Rutgers. But that doesn't mean he can't be critical of his alma mater -- or its president -- when it needs to be called out.


Jon Newman has been a major supporter of RVision.  He is a major supporter of all things Rutgers.  But that may not include bad management or a lack of leadership.

Over the weekend, Jon put out a series of tweets expressing his feelings about how the athletic program was being addressed and led.  From my perspective, it was a call to action by the top of the leadership pyramid, University President Robert Barchi.

On Sunday, NJ Advance Media's Keith Sargent posted a story that highlighted Jon's tweets.  But I felt there was more to look at than simply the anger and frustration of all fans that Jon expressed in his 140-character polemics.  So here are Jon's tweets and a few added thoughts on what he's calling for....and what we all understand needs to be done.

Rutgers football is 3-7.  It has been devastated on the field over the last several weeks. Its coach got booed at home when his pre-recorded PSA was played on the video board.  It has been a season of turmoil. One way or the other, the leadership of Rutgers - and I'm saying Julie Hermann first, as Flood's immediate superior - needs to state immediately after the game is over whether Flood is staying or going.  Okay, I can wait til Sunday, the 29th.  But it has to be addressed.

Jon continued.

Aha!  There we go.  We can all moan and groan and gnash our teeth about Kyle Flood, but this goes far, far beyond football.  Rutgers is in the Big Ten, at least in name.  But if you look at everything else, from facilities to finances to coaches (and their salaries), we are little more than an AAC school on steroids.

I believe Jon meant to write "not made", but the point is there.  And this goes way back to when Ed Bloustein decided that Rutgers should be playing "bigger time" sports.  The president of a university is ultimately responsible for all things that go on at the school.  From med school mergers to building an honors college to the athletic program.  There, my friends, is where we have major problems.

Today's history lesson, from 18th Century Anglo-Irish statesman, Edmund Burke, who said:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

We may not be talking about evil, but we are talking about the common good.  The good of Rutgers University, my alma mater, Jon's alma mater, and the alma mater of a lot of you readers.  If you stand by and do nothing, then bad is allowed to flourish.  Bad is allowed to grow. Bad is allowed to become the norm. 

I don't want that.  And you shouldn't either.

Bob Barchi will be gone at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.  But decisions that he makes now will be here long after that.  As Jon responded to a comment to his tweets:

Do what's right.  Do what's needed.  Don't do the safe thing and kick the can down the road to your successor.  That only delays the opportunity to move forward.

History lesson No. 2: That would be Fred Grunninger, the man who turned down an invitation to the original Big East.

It is time for Bob Barchi to lead.  To lead more than a med school merger.  To lead more than the development of a strategic plan and a physical master plan.  It's time for Bob Barchi to say, Rutgers is in the Big Ten with its rightful peers and to be an equal player with them in all areas.

And in one of his best tweets, Jon says it very well.  Much has been made - including by Bob Barchi - that Rutgers is in its 250th anniversary year.  It is a major milestone, and one that should be celebrated with fanfare and great announcements.  And wouldn't it be a revolutionary idea to hear from the president that Rutgers is going to live up to its full potential.

It's time.

What do you say, President Barchi?  Jon and the rest of us are waiting.