Students, alumni irked that U. of Akron president bought $556 olive jar as decoration

View of the University of Akron president's residence on Burning Tree Drive in Akron. (Michael Chritton/Akron Beacon Journal)

AKRON, Ohio (AP) —A $556 olive jar purchased for University of Akron President Scott Scarborough’s home is stirring up some controversy, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. 

The jar, located in Scarborough’s master bedroom in the university-owned home, is one of several expensive pieces in Scarborough’s renovated home.

The university paid the designer $141,000 for decorations in the home, including $16,700 in the bedroom for such things as a makeup chair for $838, a mirror for $1,800, two chairs and an ottoman for $4,500 and two night tables for $2,600.

But it’s the olive jar that is getting the most attention after 213 positions at the university, along with some departments, were eliminated to make up for budget shortfalls.

A total of 161 employees were given notice they would no longer have jobs. Some were let go immediately and others have six months before their jobs are terminated.

The cutbacks were made after $951,000 was spent on renovations for Scarborough’s residence.

Of course, someone created Facebook and Twitter pages for the olive jar.

The school said private donations were used to pay companies handling the renovations. But the media group says records show the university paid roughly $435,000 to companies and school employees working on the home.

The head of the local faculty union says the home probably needed work, but he questions the scope of what was done and whether some of the money could’ve been directed elsewhere.

The university trustees’ chairman says the work addressed long-deferred maintenance on a facility used for fundraising and relationship-building.

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