China campus junket for NJ officials sparks questions at Kean

By Ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media for

UNION — Last November, Kean University spent $35,000 to fly a delegation of New Jersey public officials and school administrators to China to mark the anniversary of its branch campus in the southeastern province of Zhejiang.

University officials called it a celebration of the “unique partnership” that led to the creation of the China campus.

Kean’s New Jersey faculty, however, continues to question why the financially pressed school, which has been cutting dozens of support staff, is putting any of the public university’s scarce resources in China.

“The administration has plenty of money for everything except academic programs and student support services, which are the core function of the university,” complained James Castiglione, who heads the Kean Federation of Teachers, the faculty union. “It is unconscionable that the university is considering layoffs when it feels free to spend money in these sorts of ways.”