Proposed sale of choir college to Chinese company concerning to some

Faculty members of a New Jersey Christian choir school say that they are concerned about its proposed sale to a company with ties to the Chinese government

News 12 Staff

Apr 10, 2019, 1:26 AM

Updated 1,928 days ago

Share:

Faculty members of a New Jersey Christian choir school say that they are concerned about its proposed sale to a company with ties to the Chinese government.
Westminster Choir College in Princeton is currently owned by Rider University, but Rider is planning on selling the college to Kaiwen Education Corp., a company with ties to the Chinese military. School staff and some New Jersey lawmakers say that they are concerned that the sale is illegal.
“A school that ultimately is run by the Chinese government will have no idea what it even means to talk about academic freedom,” says faculty union representative Dr. Jeffrey Halpern.
Two lawsuits have been filed against Rider in the hope to block the sale of one of the world’s only choir colleges. Deed restrictions from 1935 restrict Westminster Choir College to train ministers of music for Evangelical churches worldwide.
“And the gift said if at any point they stopped being that, the land would become the property of the Princeton Theological Seminary,” Halpern says.
Rider officials say that Kaiwen is the best partner to preserve and enhance Westminster's brand, mission and history. If the $40 million deal goes through, 75 choir college faculty members would be laid off by Rider and rehired by Kaiwen.
“Then we saw the sales contract. In there, it says that Kaiwen could close Westminster at any point if they felt it was a good business decision to do so. So what is the guarantee?” asks Halpern.
Until shortly before making the bid for Westminster, Kaiwen was known as a bridge and steel company with extensive contacts with the Chinese military and intelligence services. Critics of the sale ask how a Christian college fits in with China, where Christians are often persecuted.
“The issue to me is a national security issue,” says New Jersey Assemblyman Hal Wirths.
The Republican assemblyman is one of a growing number of legislators around the country concerned about China's infiltration of American universities. He says that he wants the state Legislature to vote on a resolution opposing the Westminster sale.
“It's a major problem that our intelligence folks in D.C. and the FBI and different agencies are very concerned on what's going on,” Wirths says.
A state arbiter is expected to decide on Friday if the layoffs can proceed.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General reported late last month that the 1935 deed restrictions are still in effect.


More from News 12
1:27
Prosecutor: Infant girl dies after being left inside parked car in East Hanover

Prosecutor: Infant girl dies after being left inside parked car in East Hanover

0:23
CDC: NJ resident dies from listeria food poisoning linked to deli meat

CDC: NJ resident dies from listeria food poisoning linked to deli meat

2:11
Cool temps overnight; mix of sun and clouds this weekend with chance for rain

Cool temps overnight; mix of sun and clouds this weekend with chance for rain

2:31
Global technology outage causing flight disruptions at Newark Liberty Int’l Airport

Global technology outage causing flight disruptions at Newark Liberty Int’l Airport

2:25
A massive tech outage is causing worldwide disruptions. Here's what we know

A massive tech outage is causing worldwide disruptions. Here's what we know

NJ Transit to resume regular weekend schedule following disruptions due to extreme heat

NJ Transit to resume regular weekend schedule following disruptions due to extreme heat

2:01
Doctors urge parents to get their children in for doctor visit ahead of new school year

Doctors urge parents to get their children in for doctor visit ahead of new school year

0:48
Jersey Proud: Stockton students spend summer measuring New Jersey shoreline

Jersey Proud: Stockton students spend summer measuring New Jersey shoreline

0:53
Beachwood West Beach closed for rest of summer due to high bacteria levels

Beachwood West Beach closed for rest of summer due to high bacteria levels

2:02
What happens if Biden drops out of the race? Here are some scenarios

What happens if Biden drops out of the race? Here are some scenarios

0:26
Costco sells ‘emergency food supply’ bucket with a 25-year shelf life

Costco sells ‘emergency food supply’ bucket with a 25-year shelf life

5:00
Tech expert weighs in on Microsoft outage impacts across the globe

Tech expert weighs in on Microsoft outage impacts across the globe

0:31
Man dies after he rescues two young boys who were struggling to stay afloat in New Jersey river

Man dies after he rescues two young boys who were struggling to stay afloat in New Jersey river

2:14
Property taxes increase in some New Jersey towns as state slashes school funding

Property taxes increase in some New Jersey towns as state slashes school funding

0:26
Russia convicts reporter from NJ of espionage after a trial widely seen as politically motivated

Russia convicts reporter from NJ of espionage after a trial widely seen as politically motivated

0:26
Loose lid blamed in latest Dunkin’ lawsuit from Elizabeth woman

Loose lid blamed in latest Dunkin’ lawsuit from Elizabeth woman

2:20
Paws & Pals: Prince now available for adoption with Best Friend

Paws & Pals: Prince now available for adoption with Best Friend

0:36
Police: Borgata Hotel briefly evacuated after caller claims to have bomb

Police: Borgata Hotel briefly evacuated after caller claims to have bomb

13:51
'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

1:39
New Jersey environmental justice law won't block power plant hotly fought by Newark residents

New Jersey environmental justice law won't block power plant hotly fought by Newark residents