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On Friday, December 7th after 5 days since students first locked themselves into an 8th floor room (the Peter Cooper Suite) at the top of the Cooper Union Foundation Building a press statement was handed out by the Media Relations department of The Cooper Union. Here is a photo of the press statement: Press release from The Cooper Union The first paragraph discusses the situation in abstract detail. The second paragraph discusses the concerns felt by the administration for the safety of the students who have locked themselves in the room as well as other concerns which are stated very vaguely.
Cooper Union students’ fight to preserve the college’s century-plus tradition of free tuition is kicking into gear again, as administrative dithering and blackmail has thrown the new entering class into disarray. Two of the three schools that make up CU have submitted proposals for integrating tuition into their budgets going forward, but the third — the School of Art — has refused to do so, saying that they will not cooperate with “any solution to The Cooper Union’s current financial crisis that depends, even in part, on tuition compromises and irreversibly damages the ideals of art, education, freedom, and citizenship.” In retaliation for this act of defiance, Cooper Union president Jamshed Bharucha announced last week that the college would not honor the School of Art’s decisions on its early admission applicants, and would instead inform those applicants that they would be considered as part of the general admissions process later in the spring.
In a victory for students, alumni, and faculty, and a startling reversal for administrators, the Cooper Union board of trustees this week announced that they will retain the college’s free tuition policy while they continue to evaluate Cooper Union’s financial situation. A vote on a proposal to impose tuition was widely expected at Wednesday’s meeting, with many expecting the trustees to break with the college’s history of free access to all undergraduate admittees. But months of increasingly strong and well-organized opposition from student activists, Cooper Union professors, and alumni groups appear to have made an impact.