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Rider University Ends Sale of Music College with Chinese Company

Rider University and Beijing-based Kaiwen Education have called off a deal to buy Westminster Choir College, a statement released by the University said.

On Monday, both parties mutually agreed to not extend the Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) of the music college, which was signed last summer and made public in March.

The university, which had put the school up for sale in 2017 due to financial troubles, instead agreed to integrate the music college into its existing Lawrenceville campus beginning in September 2020.

“Throughout this process, we have continually sought to preserve and enhance Westminster’s legacy as a world-class institution, and we made every effort to maintain the College in Princeton,” Rider president Gregory G. Dell’Omo said.

“Given the enormous complexity of the transaction, it became increasingly clear that partnering with an outside entity, even one as well-intentioned as Kaiwen, was not feasible on a viable timeline.”

Since its inception, the deal had been highly criticized by the college’s alumni and donors, who filed a lawsuit to halt the sale, according to an article published by NPR. The Princeton Theological Seminary also filed a similar lawsuit.

According to the university, the Beijing-based education company was chosen after an intensive worldwide search for a partner who could operate the college in Princeton.

Two for-profit subsidiaries of Kaiwen Education and a recently established non-profit called the Westminster Choir College Acquisition Corp (WCCAC) signed the purchase agreement with the university on June 21, 2018, allowing the non-profit to operate the choir college in Princeton for at least 10 years.

“Now that it is clear that transferring Westminster Choir College to an external partner is not possible, it is our continuing responsibility to enact a plan that serves the best interests of the entire University,” board chairman Robert S. Schimek, said.

“It is not financially feasible to allow Westminster to continue on its present course as a separate, fully operational campus seven miles apart from Rider’s Lawrenceville campus,” Schimek added.

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