By Kristen DeMatos
Yesterday, NorthJersey.com reported that Kean University purchased a new conference table, costing the school $219,000.
The custom-made table is oak with a cherry veneer, and has features like an illumanated map of the world in a glass panel, microphoes, a motorized, two-tierd glass turntable and data ports. The table, made in Shanghai seats 23 people. Paul Downs, the owner of a company that creates custom conference tables in Pennsylvania, claims he has made tables very similar to this, and it has only cost the customer about $61,000.
According to the report, President Dawood Farahi’s explanation for buying the table was “Why not?” He said it was “small-minded” to focus on the purchase. Marsha McCarthy, spokeswoman for Kean, defended the decision saying that the table “celebrates a new direction for the university.”
The table was installed in the campus’s newest ($40 million) Green Lane building. Kean plans to rent the high-end corporate space out at $850 a day for meetings.
New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Cryan expressed his disappointment in a statement saying:
“Kean charges about $11,000 for tuition and fees for in-state students, so consider that $219,000 would equate to full scholarships for about 20 New Jersey students. A fancy conference table should never be a higher priority for a university than educating students, but priorities are out-of-whack here. The university can’t even come up with a sensible explanation for its abusive spending.
More to come in the print edition of next month’s issue of The Tower. Stay tuned!