Chinese Company Buying New Jersey College Campus

The Associated Press
Chinatopix via AP

Rider University is selling one of its satellite campuses to a Chinese company on Monday, according to a Purchase and Sale Agreement signed last year by the school’s Board of Trustees.

Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Co. Ltd will buy Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, next week. The Chinese education company is expected to spend $40 million on the Rider University satellite campus.

The Rider University Board of Trustees first announced last year that it had signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the transfer of Westminster Choir College, which also includes the Westminster Conservatory and Westminster Continuing Education.

“Kaiwen Education’s mission is to sustain and grow Westminster Choir College’s reputation as a world-class institution while maintaining it as an artistically pre-eminent, academically rigorous and fiscally sound institution,” said Rider University president Gregory Dell’Omo.

“It is our hope that the entire Westminster community can come together to help bring this process to a successful conclusion so the legacy of Westminster can carry on far into the future,” added the university president.

In addition to the $40 million purchase, the company is also pledging to spend $16 million for capital and working capital expenditures in Westminster over a five year period, according to Rider University.

Not everyone, however, is pleased about the acquisition.

The university’s administration is facing two lawsuits challenging the legality of selling the satellite campus to the Chinese company, which includes an investigation by New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has also proposed legislation seeking to lessen China’s power over U.S. universities, expressing his concerns over Chinese influence and espionage operations targeting American higher education.

“Last year, I authored and passed an amendment in the National Defense Authorization act to prohibit DOD from funding Confucius Institutes, which are one of the tools the Chinese use to penetrate American higher education,” noted Cruz at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last March.

“I’ve also introduced the ‘Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft Act’ to require the FBI to designate foreign actors conducting espionage in our colleges and universities,” added the senator.

Last week, the Chinese government ordered the suspension of Advanced Placement (AP) exams on U.S. history in an effort to crack down on educational material that the Communist Party deems “unfriendly.”

The order arrived less than a year after China’s education ministry launched an inspection of school textbooks in an effort to root out any material that would displease the Communist regime.

According to a report by Campus Reform, Rider University spokesperson Kristine Brown insists that the Chinese company is obligated to “act in full accordance with U.S. laws and regulations,” as outlined in the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

“Furthermore,” added Brown, “Rider would not have moved forward if we didn’t believe in Kaiwen’s commitment to and strategic plan for Westminster.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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