Many students and legislators are angry that Kean University paid $219,000 for a custom-built conference room table, NJ.com reported. The university did not seek bids on the project and used a Chinese company as part of an effort to build ties to China. Dawood Farahi, Kean's president, told NorthJersey.com it was "small-minded" to make inquiries about the cost of the table.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for Kean, via email to Inside Higher Ed, said the table should be viewed as a "conferencing center" because it includes electronic equipment, storage for the equipment and lighting, and is more than the conference table itself. The photo below is of the table.
Students started sit-ins last week at the University of California's campuses at Berkeley and Santa Cruz to protest the Board of Regents' vote to approve tuition increases for the system. The Berkeley sit-in started Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported. The protesting students there are issuing updates and demands through this website. Cornel West, a professor of philosophy at Union Theological Seminary, stopped by the Santa Cruz sit-in to endorse the effort. He said occupying buildings "puts the spotlight on an issue."
The University of Wisconsin at Madison on Saturday announced a $100 million gift from John and Tashia Morgridge -- an alumni couple -- to support faculty enhancement. The gift is the university's largest from individual donors. The money will be used to match donations for new and enhanced professorships, chairs and distinguished chairs.
The former executive director of the foundation that raises money for the Los Angeles Trade Technical College pleaded guilty Friday to felony embezzlement, The Los Angeles Times reported. Jiah "Rhea" Chung, 44, admitted that she took $50,500. She was sentenced to three years of formal probation and 60 days of work for CalTrans. But her lawyer questioned the fairness of the judicial findings. He questioned why some foundation officials denied that they authorized the payments. "The political climate is such that it’s so hard for anybody accused of any public integrity crime to get a fair hearing," the lawyer said. "You’re looking at a woman who really physically can’t fathom being able to withstand even a single day in prison."
The University of California at Santa Barbara is expected today to announce a $65 million gift to its Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, The New York Timesreported. The gift, from Charles T. Munger, an investor best known as Warren Buffett's business partner, will support a residence for the institute, which brings groups of physicists together for long periods of times to brainstorm.