GOINGS-ON at Kean University seem only to grow more strange by the month. First there was the public university’s spending of $219,000 on a conference table. Then came charges of racial bias at the university. Then there was the review, now completed, into those bias allegations.

Now there is a call for an investigation of that review, and into the hiring of the consultant who led it: Michael Barry Blackwell, a former Westwood pastor who agreed to take on that task in January at a cost of $15,000.

What was not widely known at the time is that Blackwell, who touts his experience dealing with contractors and with civil rights and compliance issues, carries plenty of baggage well beyond his dealings with Kean. As Staff Writers Patricia Alex and Abbott Koloff reported over the weekend, Blackwell has a criminal record that dates back decades, and a professional résumé that is suspect at best.

The Blackwell hiring adds to evidence accumulating over the last several months: Kean University is a mess. Or rather, the administration of the school is a mess.


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