Endowed Chairs?

Posted by: Geoff Gloeckler on March 24, 2009

Miami University wants nothing but the best for their new Farmer Business School building, and that includes chairs.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer’s website this morning:

Ohio officials have rejected a request from Miami University to spend $166,648 on office chairs – an average of $500 a chair – for its new Farmer School of Business building set to open next fall.

The Ohio Controlling Board on Monday took the rare step of rejecting a proposed expenditure. Miami had asked to waive competitive bidding to buy the chairs from APG Office Furnishings of Cincinnati.

The spending for the $64 million business-school building comes as Miami is cutting more than 200 jobs, including laying off 64 workers, to close a $22 million deficit in next year’s budget.

University Architect Robert Keller told the board that the chairs would last 15 years or more.

“We have used this particular chair in the past and it has a good track record,” he said, according to a statement from the Controlling Board.

But members noted that the same company offers office chairs for $400 or less.

I had to laugh at the idea of state officials debating something as mundane as chairs for the business school, and the comment that the chairs ‘had a good track record’ still has me chuckling. But seriously, $500 seems ridiculous, and the timing couldn’t be much worse. If they want these chairs so bad, maybe they should consider selling naming rights on them…endowed chairs, if you will.

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