Students at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City unfurled a “Free Education to All” banner from a third story window today as about one hundred students, faculty, and supporters demonstrated below. The event was just one of many in what is an ongoing struggle over whether or not to institute tuition at the historically free university. Many folks involved in the Free University of NYC were there today to show our solidarity, as we have before and will continue to do until the Cooper Union affirms its historic mission to provide an education that is as “free as air and water.”
Students hung another banner along the iron fence surrounding Cooper Square. The banner read: “Help Wanted (New & Effective!!!) Board of Trustees”:
In front of the 1859 Foundation Building, students held a press conference and rally featuring the voices of early decision applicants who were recently deferred admission in what appears to be an act of retaliation against the Art School faculty by the administration for refusing to play along with the college’s bullheaded efforts to charge tuition.
Some early decision applicants spoke out at the rally. They bravely called upon the administration of the Cooper Union to honor their contracts with early decision applicants. Many others could not physically be there, but current and former Art School students read letters on behalf of them. One early decision applicant wrote, directly addressing President Jamshed Bharucha, that “you may choose to defer us. But we will not defer to you.” Another early decision applicant referred to President Bharucha as running the school like a business, rather than as a university. The applicant then remarked, “but by failing to honor your contracts with early decision applicants, that’s just bad business.”
For more information about the struggle at Cooper Union, see the website of CUSOS (Cooper Union Student Action to Save our School). Also, follow “Free Cooper Union” on facebook and on twitter.