Cooper Union’s response

Here is the response I received from Jolene Travis, Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Media Relations at Cooper Union, after she read my post.

Dear Felix,
After reading “Occupy Cooper Union” (12/5), I writing to ask for a correction to factual errors cited in your article. I have enumerated the points below and, if you have any questions or would like clarification, I would be available to speak with you directly, as I often do with other members of the press such as Brian Boucher.

1)      He has released little more in the way of financial information than any of his predecessor
President Bharucha and Vice President of Finance T. C. Westcott have met with students, faculty, alumni and staff over the past year to conduct approximately 80 informational and financial meetings. The meetings are ongoing and open to members of the Cooper Union community mentioned in the previous sentence. Additionally, details about the planning process and financials are also available here: (letters from the President), (audited financial statements) and (financial FAQs)

2) A group calling itself Students for A Free Cooper Union has occupied the top floor of the iconic Foundation Building
11 students of the group “Students for A Free Cooper Union” have locked themselves in the 8th floor of the Foundation Building.

3)The Revenue Task Force, they were tasked with finding{revenues which} could not come from other obvious places, like the Board, alumni, or the sale of assets
The relevant paragraph of the Revenue Task Force report reads as follows:
“It should be noted that such areas as minimum trustee contributions, alumni and donor development, and sale of assets were outside the Revenue Task Force’s charge.

4) And so the report comes to the conclusion …that new graduates programs, some of which would charge more than $30,000 per year.
The Deans and faculty for the degree granting three schools will be presenting plans for graduate and other programs (some of the proposed graduate programs could charge in access of $30K) to the Board of Trustees, which will then be reviewed and a final decision is slated for early 2013.

5) Cooper might move to a system where a large part of the budget would come from grad students
The evaluation of the plans by the three schools is an ongoing process and the budget is comprised of many facets including, development efforts at the City, state and federal levels along with alumni, foundations and individual members of the philanthropic community

6) Charging for some students would violate Cooper’s mission, which says that it “awards full scholarships to all enrolled students.”
With the financial realities Cooper Union faces, the Board of Trustees has the authority to create programs that generate revenues and, therefore, can amend the mission statement.

7) A document leaked on Monday, written by a mysterious “Undergraduate Tuition Committee” somewhere within the engineering school, lays out all the reasons why Cooper should start charging tuition to everyone.
The acting dean of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering has organized committees to identify possible revenue streams through the creation of new programs. An analysis, which included 500 variables, was conducted to see at what level of revenue would be needed in order to maintain the full tuition scholarship for undergraduates. This is an ongoing process and no decision has been made.

8)  A year and a half into Bharucha’s tenure, there’s very little reason to believe that he’s the right man for the job –while the current occupation, which was vocally supported at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, seems to provide a pretty strong prima facie case that his university has no faith in him.
Tuesday’s press conference did not reflect the views of the entire student body and faculty. At today’s Board of Trustees meeting, the Board unanimously reaffirmed their confidence in President Jamshed Bharucha’s leadership.

*Also in paragraph 1, where the WSJ was cited as JB’s favorite media outlet it is important to note that The Cooper Union on a regular basis reaches out to a very broad range of local, national and professional media outlets as appropriate to the subject at hand.

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3 Responses to Cooper Union’s response

  1. Mike says:

    It is always admirable when people who are in the position to speak out regarding some issues actually do. If only more people would follow her example and give the press some courtesy too.

  2. I also admire Jolene Travis for clearing things up and speaking about the issues that need to be addressed. I respect people who are courteous and understanding.

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