Kent State to pay marketing consultants at least $101,750; portions of contract kept secret

From The Akron Beacon Journal Kent State University will pay a Philadelphia consulting company at least $101,750 to help the school develop its new strategic vision.

But the firm, 160over90, will likely earn much more than that because travel, production and other costs aren’t covered by the overall fee, according to the contract released Friday by the university.

University spokesman Eric Mansfield said the contract “includes redactions of information deemed proprietary by 160over90, which earned the contract by winning a competitive bid process. Kent State University is confident the company has a proven track record of success and will provide strong guidance and leadership in helping the university develop a solid strategic vision for future success.”

Kent State President Beverly Warren announced the hiring of 160over90 to the campus on Tuesday, but the school would not immediately say how much it was paying the company or release the contract. The Beacon Journal asked for the document the same day of the announcement. It was released at 4:58 p.m. Friday.

The 10-page contract notes that 160over90 had to be notified if a public records request was made for the contract and the firm would redact any proprietary information.

The agreement given to the newspaper has been redacted in several areas, including the payment schedule, how much the company charges for travel costs such as mileage and “in-flight wireless,” the amount of time it wanted to review and redact the document, and even some of the potential expenses. (A copy of the contract is available online at

In 2014, the Beacon Journal made repeated requests for an accounting of the university’s search for a new president. However, the university signed an addendum to the search firm’s contract that gave the firm control over all records — including those that the newspaper argued should be public, such as travel receipts.

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