A New Jersey lawmaker is calling for a review of a state university’s purchase of a $219,000 custom-built conference table from a company in China, where it has a campus it hopes to expand.
Kean University did not put the project out to bid and picked a company in Shanghai, where the northern New Jersey school recently opened a branch campus.
“Whether or not this is legal, it’s certainly not ethical and it’s a waste of taxpayer money,” Assemblyman Joe Cryan said in a statement. “The time to reform higher education in New Jersey is long past. I don’t need a study to know a university shouldn’t be spending up to $219,000 for a conference table. I already know it’s wrong. So do the students and families struggling to afford a higher education.”
University President Dawood Farahi dismissed the criticism. “It is small-minded to focus on the university buying a $200,000 table,” he said. “Why not? Why not?”
The 22-foot circular table seats 23 people and is made of oak with cherry veneer. It features data ports, gooseneck microphones, an illuminated world map and a motorized, two-tiered glass turntable.