Since 1902, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art has remained tuition free, offering accepted students scholarships drawn in part from
industrialist Peter Cooper’s epic neck beard real estate holdings and alumni contributions to cover the cost of attendance. Though Cooper Union previously rallied under the banner of an education “as free as air and water,” it seems the only banners being hoisted today are in protest of the school’s move to cover only 50% of tuition. On Tuesday, Cooper Union made it official that it would be instituting the tuition plan proposed by the university’s maligned board of directors back in December of 2012. This blog covered developments in this story at length, which included a student response in the form of a building occupation and that occupation’s inevitable conclusion, as the activism at Cooper Union clicked with the campus zeitgeist regarding Wesleyan’s own decision to discriminate against students without the means to attend Wes abandon need-blind admissions.
Click through the jump for more on what this means for those of us who also attend institutions that renege on espoused principles like inclusion and diversity.
The occupation of Cooper Union (by students apparently unencumbered by a deluge of finals and end-of-semester projects) came to a close late yesterday morning.
As you may remember, on December 3, a cadre of eleven
freeloaders Cooper Union students locked themselves in the Peter Cooper Suite on the eighth floor of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building, a.k.a. The Clocktower. Protesting the university’s formation of an exploratory committee on “examining potential revenue streams from undergraduate programs,” the occupiers brought with them sleeping bags, blankets, at least one hammock, and oatmeal and ramen noodles for sustenance. Cooper Union has funded the education of its undergraduates since at least 1902 using an endowment that draws as much from alumni donations as it does from its own holdings, including the property on which the Chrysler Building sits.
Last night, the New York Times‘ City Room blog detailed the end of the occupation. Click through for a more Wes-centric take on the story.
While the struggle on campus to retain need-blind admissions rages on, students in New York City are taking things up a notch or two. Yesterday, students at the Cooper Union college in the East Village barricaded themselves inside the top floor of their main building, known as “the Clocktower”, in protest of proposed tuition charges for undergraduate students. The school has been tuition free for over a century and students claim the current administration’s plan to conflicts with the core values of the institution.
Students have armed themselves with sleeping bags and ramen noodles, vowing to stay as long as it takes until their demands for greater transparency and tuition-free education are met. The occupiers have successfully resisted at least one attempt at eviction, during which school maintenance workers attempted to force their way in using rams and drills, vowing to hold their position for “as long as it takes.” Meanwhile, dozens of supporters have rallied in solidarity on the sidewalk below, including participants from the Occupy movement and the Free University, a group that is now conducting publicly accessible teach-ins there at no cost.