Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On the Table

Cooper Union students for preserving free tuition have launched "On the Table: An Exhibition for Free Education." It opened last night and remains open to the public until Friday. Reader EmG was there and sends in photos and details.

"There were lots of pics of the board members with the names of corporations they're involved with... They had a cool timeline of Cooper Union's role in development in the East Vill and how it corresponded to the national increase in student loan debt... and a video of Hitler and his Nazis talking in subtitles about paying tuition at Cooper Union."

Student artists have created posters that convey a generally unfavorable view of Cooper's financial dealings. One says "FUCKINTUITION" and another shows Peter Cooper sitting on a table with a $38,000 price tag attached to him--the caption reads, "Pay up sucka!"

$38,000 is, perhaps, the tuition fee being considered.

Another poster plays on the "green" nature of the new engineering building--here built of 100-dollar bills--and its position as a supposed structure of worship to be hailed. The poster may be implying that this building was a flagrant waste of money.

"...and they have a giant blow-up rat outside."

For more info on ways to support a tuition-free Cooper Union, visit:

The Cooper Union Task Force
As Free as Air & Water
sign the petition


Jason said...

There was no need to build the disgusting looking building. They would have saved a lot by renovating and adding onto the building that was already there. I don't see any proposal for the president to take a pay cut either. This is another money grab.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to have sympathy for those Cooper Union students, knowing that they are tuition free and I believe may also get some kind of small stipend as well (not sure of that fact, something that was mentioned to me by a friend who used to go there). The reason being that I cannot think of anyone who went to Cooper Union and made any kind of contribution to art/design/architecture. Can you? If so, please respond with their names.

As for the diarrhea that replaced the former art building, really- what can you say that is positive about that random UFO monstrosity? As for the president taking a pay cut, why should he or she- most people would not want a pay cut for themselves, including me and most likely you.

Goggla said...

Thanks for sharing this - I didn't know about it and will definitely visit.

Anonymous said...

Cooper Union began not as a totally free college but one that charged those who were well able to pay. To juxtapose the discussion of possibly returning to some sort of ability based tuition with Hitler is juvenile.

Brendan said...

@Anonymous 10:59

You can judge for yourself whether that list is impressive enough, but it wasn't hard to find.

Jeremiah Moss said...

from what i understand, the trust was set up so that the working class would be "elevated" by free tuition here, not the middle or upper classes. in some ways, charging tuition to those who can afford it makes sense. but as others have pointed out, how will this impact admissions? will Cooper begin choosing students from wealthy families over those from poor families? seems like pay cuts for the very, very well-paid administration might be a good way to go right now.

Anonymous said...

Cooper alum here:

-Yes we got free tuition, but no stipend (at least not when I went there). We also had plenty of other fees that add up - lab fees, activity fees, housing and cost of living in a pretty expensive city. It adds up and I was roughing it for a while...

-plenty of notable alum as Brendan noted, not sure why that even matters in this discussion

-absolutely hate that art building, waste of money. agree that the administration has wasted lots of money and mismanaged assets.

Can't speak for all students, but just about all of my classmates were middle class or below. There are plenty of not so great things about Cooper, and many of us would have gone elsewhere if we could afford to. So I hope this controversy doesn't turn into hatred towards "greedy" students who want free tuition. This is one of the few places left where admission is based almost purely on merit. I hope that never changes.

And Jerimiah makes a good point about a hybrid tuition policy, it will influence admissions IMO and is a slippery slope.

Brendan said...

Re: charging tuition to students with "ability to pay"

Fancy private schools all provide means-tested financial aid and ostensibly have "need-blind" admission. In practice, they remain out of most Americans' reach.