As Kaiwen Education, a Chinese company, continues the process of purchasing Westminster Choir College from Rider University, it has created a nonprofit group, the Westminster Choir College Acquisition Corporation, to manage the college. It has appointed Larry Livingston, a former vice president for the New England Conservatory of Music, to be the interim president.
Rider and Kaiwen have agreed to the $40 million sale, which still must be approved by regulators to take effect. There are also several ongoing legal challenges to the sale.
Kaiwen has pledged to invest $16 million more in the school and continue operating it in its current location for 10 years and maintain its current offerings for five.
Before joining the New England Conservatory, Livingston was dean of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and dean of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.
The AAUP, the union that represents the Rider and Westminster faculty, called the sale “illegal” and Kaiwen “a financially precarious, foreign for-profit company with no higher education experience.”
“The cover-up continues,” said Dr. Jeffrey Halpern of the AAUP. “Make no mistake this hastily put together entity is nothing more than a shell company whose purpose is to provide cover for a for-profit corporation to acquire a very valuable property to add to its portfolio.”
Westminster Choir College of Rider University, 101 Walnut Lane, Princeton 08540. 609-921-7100, www.rider.edu/westminster.