We, the Students for a Free Cooper Union, who reclaimed The Peter Cooper Suite from the current Cooper Union administration yesterday at noon, have established base overnight. We will continue holding this space until our demands are met or we are otherwise removed: we will not negotiate.
To this point we have publicly presented our terms and principles and reached out to the broader community and press, but we have yet to be contacted in any capacity by the president. Faced with ideological opposition to the expansionist model, Jamshed Bharucha has withdrawn from public view and shirked his responsibilities overseeing the college.
We denounce our president’s repeated absence in the face of community organizing. Last year, while the New York City Police Department arrested our students, our administration was nowhere to be seen; and chants of “Where is our president?” still echo today. We need transparency, not invisibility. In contrast, the public has come together in support of our principles and demands. Displays of solidarity — from tweets all around the world to a candlelit vigil eight floors below — resonate our rejection of the global system of student debt and articulate aggravations that are felt worldwide.
Yesterday, an anonymous source shared a report with us detailing the results of a committee convened to analyze the feasibility of implementing undergraduate tuition in the School of Engineering. The research concluded that within 10 years, students could face between $40,000 and $80,000 in tuition fees.
Since we received and shared this document, other members of the community have stepped forward to clarify the nature of the report. It is our understanding now that this committee was one of many tasked to research revenue generation for the school. We struggle with the fact that all of this information has come to light solely from a leaked document, and not the from our expectations of transparency and candor.
In response to the undervaluing of student voices and the continuous dismissal of community organizing, Students for a Free Cooper Union are holding a press conference on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 to address the aforementioned points. We are organizing our fellow students as public intermediaries to speak on our behalf while we retain the Peter Cooper Suite.
We invite everyone to this press conference in front of Cooper Union at 7 East 7th Street at 2:30 PM
The New York Times had more on the story here yesterday.