New Jersey's Kean University got some free publicity recently when its wise administrators saw fit to purchase a $219,000 conference table. Those administrators? Still busily defending that table. May this hilarious table talk never die.
I have never achieved the sort of academic and professional credibility that would enable me to become an administrator at New Jersey's Kean University, but I imagine that if I did, and then I spent $219,000 on a conference table, and then everyone at the school got mad at me, I would feel pretty meek about it. After all: I would have just spent $219,000 on a conference table. It's exactly this sort of hypothetical guilt at spending $219,000 on a conference table that separates me from those with "the right stuff" to become administrators at New Jersey's Kean University. Because, as Inside Higher Ed reports, the real administrators who purchased that $219,000 conference table are now pushing back against the criticism by loudly educating all the angry students and other critics about the many fine features of said $219,000 conference table.
It's not just any conference table, you see.
"Functioning as a piece of high-tech equipment rather than a static furniture item, the 22-foot, circular, mixed-media conference center includes an intelligent conferencing system with the ability to connect people at up to 25 locations around the world for remote conference calls and to record meetings. The center's table reflects the artistry and history of the region where our China campus, Wenzhou-Kean University, is located."
In the form the university filed to avoid a bidding process, style was cited, not technology. This is an explanation from that form: "In keeping with the university's mission for providing a world-class education and strengthening ties to its Wenzhou-Kean campus, this special conference table will be built for the sixth floor Executive Event Space in the new Green Lane Academic Building and will showcase and highlight the Wenzhou-Kean experience. The conference table matches the characteristic style used in China with a revolving component that permits buffet style presentation in the typical Chinese 'family style,' while permitting work to be done on a second tier of the table."
Buffet style? Good buy.
[Photo: Kean University, a 21st century institution]