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Westminster wants two administrators in on any talks with potential new owners

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Two administrators at Westminster Choir College must be included in any talks that Rider University has about potential new owners of the music school, Westminster faculty said Monday., In a news release issued a week after Rider President Gregory G. Dell’Omo said the university would look to shed Westminster, faculty insisted that dean Matthew Shaftel and associate dean Marshall Onofrio be “involved in all such discussions … .”, Joel Phillips, a faculty member at Westminster for 32 years, said Monday that he and others want to make sure that Shaftel and Onofrio are “part of every conversation.” He said he did not think there would be any pushback from Rider administration to that request., “As we have from the beginning, the university will continue to involve the Westminster leadership in each step of the process, including the current phase of identifying interested parties,” said Rider spokeswoman Kristine A. Brown on Monday. “Their thoughts and recommendations have been critical to our analysis and are vital to our success moving forward.”, Rider is seeking to sell the music school and its more than 20-acre- campus in Princeton. Another option is for Rider to find an institution willing only to take on Westminster, leaving Rider to sell the campus to another entity., The Princeton public school district has expressed interest in buying the campus as the site of a future school., “Should there not be a buyer willing to take on both the college and the campus, Princeton Public Schools would like to be in a position to explore acquisition of the campus in a way that would allow the district to carry on the college’s tradition of exceptional education,” the school district said in a statement last week., Mayor Liz Lempert, speaking to reporters Monday, said that on one hand, the “best thing” for Westminster and the community “is to maintain what we have.”, “But short of that, I think that the school district wants to make sure that it keeps all of its options on the table,” she said in pointing to “enrollment pressure” on the public schools.

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