The financial crisis facing Cooper Union has some people lashing out in anger and others trying to find a calmer solution, but it seems like everyone in the school is determined to avoid charging tuition.
At the end of October, Cooper’s president, Jamshed Bharucha, announced that the school was considering charging tuition for the first time in roughly a century because a decade of financial difficulties had ballooned the school’s annual deficit to some $16 million. Many — both within the school and without — were shocked by the news because Cooper had long been lauded for its financial prudence.
Now, students, faculty and alumni are trying to both make sense of the problem and fix it without charging tuition because they see the free education Cooper provides as essential to the school’s success.
Doing their part, alumni hosted a forum at Cooper’s Great Hall on Monday. Some speakers pored over financial tables and others reaffirmed in impassioned written statements their commitment to what they see as the fundamental principles of Cooper Union.
“It’s not that Cooper Union holds up free education — but that free education holds up The Cooper Union,” said David Gersten, an architecture professor at the school and an alumnus.
Milton Glaser, a Cooper alumnus who famously designed the “I ♥ N Y” logo in the 1970s, briefly spoke.
“Thank you all for being here and demonstrating your affection and love for this school,” Glaser said. “I feel the same way.”