Phi Beta Cons

‘Table-gate” — Wasting Donor Money, Part I

Over the course of a career, I have participated in meetings in many conference rooms, most of them quite modest but some of them finely appointed.

But nothing comes close to the $250,000 conference table that Kean University purchased from a Chinese supplier, without competitive bidding and without the prior approval of the Board of Trustees. A look at the photo in the Philadelphia Inquirer article will give a sense of the  grandeur that the University has achieved in its conference center. 

But hold on here. This is a public university, dependent upon student tuition, government support, and donor largesse to stay afloat. How can its administration possibly justify a conference table costing a quarter of a million dollars? The chairs alone must have cost a small fortune.

Nobody needs a conference room this elaborate. In fact, the participants are so far across the table from each other that its hard to know how meaningful dialog could possibly occur. They’re not signing the Paris Peace Accords here; they’re just having a meeting.

Administrators at higher education institutions too often just don’t get it. There is a real world out there, and the non-profit sector has no business spending hard won donor money on such extravagances. If I were an alumnus of Kean University, my annual fund contributions would certainly now go elsewhere.

Vic Brown — Vic Brown had a thirty-year career in the chemical industry with FMC Corporation, where he held senior positions and worked internationally in sales, marketing, manufacturing, information technology and procurement.

Most Popular

PC Culture

The New, New Anti-Semitism

The old anti-Semitism was mostly, but not exclusively, a tribal prejudice expressed in America up until the mid 20th century most intensely on the right. It manifested itself from the silk-stocking country club and corporation (“gentlemen’s agreement”) to the rawer regions of the Ku Klux Klan’s lunatic ... Read More

The Left, the Wall, the Truth

Democrats and others on the left offer three reasons for their opposition to building a wall on America's southern border. 1. A wall is ineffective. 2. A wall is too expensive. 3. A wall is immoral. Each one is false, so false as to constitute lies. So, the only question is: Do Democrats and others on ... Read More