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Fighting For a Fair Risk-Free Austerity Budget From November 2011 to January 2014

September 1, 2015, 7:30pm

Cooper Pioneer




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News Archive

Selected Quotes: September 14, 2015, Court Hearing

Judge Bannon: I can't change it; I can accept it. I have to consider the impact on public interest. Is the Consent Decree fair and reasonable and adequate? [It is] less onerous. In general, [the Consent Decree] addresses all the issues [and is a] better chance to achieve [the goals] we wanted to achieve from the outset.

Asistant Attorney General Oleske: The Attorney General (AG) could have intervened. The AG has standing on behalf of unnamed beneficiaries. The AG believes [the Consent Decree is] superior to anything else that would have come out of litigation, [avoids the] uncertainty of further litigation, [and allows this] historic entity to come out of the trenches."

CSCU Lawyer Emery: [AAG Oleske is] modestly the genius behind this. [The investigation was] yoeman's labor. I agree with about 95% of what Mr. Oleske [said]. We don't agree that only the Attorney General has standing. [The Board was] ethically challenged.

CU Lawyer Stio: The AG has exclusive jurisdiction. Cooper Union will be bound by the Consent Decree.

Judge Bannon is waiting for an amended Consent Decree with administrative changes by the end of the week. (1) Add a signature line for The Cooper Union. (2) Add a signature line for Jeremy Werthheimer. (3) Change a reference from Exhibit B to Exhibit A. (4) Change a reference from CSCU to Petitioners. (5) Change a reference to paragraph 7 to paragraph 7.B.2. (6) May require re-pagination. (7) Jeremy Werthheimer will also be added to the Notice. Another appearance will not be required.

Attorney General: Blame the Board of Trustees and their Presidents

Elected Faculty, Staff, More Students and More Alumni to Become Trustees

During a year when the Cooper Union Community waited for Judge Bannon to settle a lawsuit on whether The Cooper Union is legally required to be free, it is the involvement of the Attorney General's Charities Bureau, in cooperation with the Committee to Save Cooper Union, which has resulted in a pre-emptive settlement and a negotiated institution of a "Path to Free."

The AG leaves unresolved the key issue of the case - does the Charter require that classes at The Cooper Union be free? - and seeks cy pres relief for the financially-beleagured college, including Charter changes that immediately establish all students, full-time faculty, and alumni as The Associates. The elected members of the Board become the Council of The Associates.

Although most members of the Cooper Union Community have been focused on the Associates' ability to remove trustees, the AG instead sees the isolation of the Board from the rest of the Cooper Union Community through the single-point contact of the President and those he or she appoints or removes as the impediment to saving the mission of the institution.

Along with major changes to Board membership and the establishment of the Associates, the AG demands the Board create two committees, one to establish a return to free "when reasonable," and the other to institute governance changes. The AG also seeks the appointment of an independent financial overseer, and demands that all non-executive session minutes of Board meetings be published. Governance change and Board transparency have been major demands of Free Cooper Union, and the establishment of independent financial oversight a demand of the Committee to Save Cooper Union.

Unfortunately, by not agreeing that The Cooper Union must be free, the potential for current students to sue for tuition refunds is obviated and the central demand of the entire Cooper Union Community, adherence to the mission and an immediate re-establishment of full-tuition scholarships, is delayed.

The AG investigation, which involved interviews with current and former trustees and administrative staff, paints a sordid picture of lying presidents and oblivious trustees. This centers on the 2006 cy pres petition in which the Board and President lied to the AG in order to institute the Master Plan and saddle the college with $175 million in debt. Board members who approved the 2006 petition are removed, including Richard Lincer, Robert Bernhard, and Jeff Gural. Most of the 2006 trustees, including Sandra Priest Rose, Ron Drucker, John Michaelson, Stanley Lapidus, and Mark Epstein, are already gone. The president in 2006, George Campbell, and the president whose contract expires in 2016, Jamshed Bharucha, are already absent from the college.

Judge Bannon has called for a status conference on September 14, 2015. The Judge could accept the AG's cy pres petition and the dropping of the lawsuit or could issue a legal ruling on whether The Cooper Union is required to be free. The lawyers for The Committee to Save Cooper Union have always maintained that The Cooper Union could seek cy pres relief from the Charter, so, alternatively, the Judge could still accept the AG settlement and cy pres and issue a ruling on the Charter requirement anyway. Either way, the Cooper Union Community is declaring victory while current trustees, who allowed a majority to vote for the original "hybrid framework" of graduate student tuition and the subsequent across-the-board half-tuition scholarship for all undergraduate students, remain.

The coverage above was posted at 7:30pm on Tuesday evening, September 1, 2015. At 9pm, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal went public on-line with information obtained from leaks from the AG office. This was followed by a flurry of pre-prepared postings and e-mails from the CUAA, CSCU, and CU. If you have Facebook access, you will find links to all the other postings at

The Committee to Save Cooper Union released the Cross-Petition (including the cy pres) and its Exhibit 1, the Consent Decree, on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, at the links provided. Joe Riley of Free Cooper Union posted OCR Google docs that are searchable and can contain comments for the Cross-Petition and the Consent Decree at the links provided. The Consent Decree was amended and submitted to the Court on September 21, 2015. You can find OCR PDFs that are searchable of the Cross-Petition and Amended Consent Decree, as well as its Exhibit A and Exhibit B on this website at the links provided.

(Click on picture above for website and full schedule of events)

(Click on picture above to RSVP - or just show up!)

Click to enlarge

President, Former Board Chair, Four Additional Board Members Resign

Board Majority Opposition to "Fiduciary Goals" Cited Pointing to Imminent Abandonment of Tuition Plan

On June 9 and 10, 2015, a quick succession of resignations posted to the Internet, e-mailed to the Cooper Union Community, and reported by the media have emerged as the first indications that the Committee to Save Cooper Union is succeeding in its lawsuit to return The Cooper Union to a full-tuition scholarship institution of higher education. The resignations and accompanying statements cite an abandonment of the Tuition Plan, re-christened the "Financial Sustainability Plan" by now-former President of The Cooper Union Jamshed Bharucha. It remains to be announced whether an immediate return to free, with refunds to the freshmen of September 2014 and the incoming freshmen of September 2015, will be enacted, or merely a "Path to Free," a nomenclature used by many within the community.

The resignation of former Board of Trustees Chair Mark Epstein, whose name was removed from the Cooper Union website with four other trustees (the practice of "announcing" board resignations by changes in the website list has been ongoing for years; such announcements are never included in Board Reports, press releases, or through other means), was followed by an e-mail from Dr. Bharucha announcing his resignation before the end of the month. That e-mail was accompanied by an announcement from the Board that William Mea, Vice President for Finance and Administration since September 2014, would act as interim president and that a presidential search committee would be formed in the fall of 2015. William Mea replaced TC Westcott, who was fired in August 2013 as part of a plan to delay proponents of a "Working Group" alternative to the Tuition Plan, which was completed in December 2013.

Although at least one press report has been quoting members of Free Cooper Union, who have called for the resignation of Dr. Bharucha since the lock-in of December 2012 (as had The Alumni Pioneer earlier that year), there hasn't been coverage of the key role of Friends of Cooper Union, which gathered over 2,000 signatures in nine months on a Vote of No Confidence in both Dr. Bharucha and Chair Mark Epstein (see screenshot at right), chief promoter of the "Blame the Alumni" strategy (who, ironically, has pledged, with his resignation, no further financial support of the college). The other board members who resigned - François De Menil, Catherine Hill, Daniel Libeskind, and Monica Vachner - are similarly not characterized or contextualized. Mr. De Menil was appointed Vice Chair but did not succeed Mr. Epstein; instead, he was passed over by Richard Lincer. Catherine Hill, President of Vassar, was presumably brought on to the Board to provide educational expertise, although her compensation package at Vassar is similarly over-inflated, and she served as a trustee foil to the Working Group formed by Mike Borkowsky and Jeff Gural to stop the Tuition Plan. Daniel Libeskind, a recent Board appointment, has been vocal in his support of Dr. Bharucha and his opposition to elected Alumni Trustee Kevin Slavin. Investment banker Monica Vachner had also voiced her support of the Tuition Plan, although details of her role on the Board had not been publicized.

The Board resignations are preceded by others, including Stanley Lapidus, who personally persuaded Dr. Bharucha to take the job at Cooper as part of his desire to replace the entire college with a Design Institute, an initiative that Dr. Bharucha still tried to implement, despite faculty union opposition; John Michaelson, famous for bragging to the Wall Street Journal about how his investment strategy for The Cooper Union had bested Harvard's performance during the 2008 crash; and William Sandholm, whose 40 years at Rose Associates culminated in his becoming its Chief Executive Officer, who ran for Cooper the Astor Place Holding Corporation, critical in the various expensive real estate deals that plundered the endowment and the capital campaign in the 2000's, including the selection of Jonathan Rose as construction manager for the New Academic Building which went tens of millions of dollars over budget. These resignations in 2011, 2012, and 2012 followed a mass of Board resignations after the Master Plan of 2000 collapsed in 2008. Remarkably, the trustee who implemented the Master Plan, Robert Bernhard, remains on the Board, although his successor, Ron Drucker, has disappeared from the Cooper website and from all Cooper events except for gatherings of alumni in Florida. Mr. Bernhard, connected to an infamous hedge fund scandal, may face prosecution from the Attorney General's office for using his firm to handle portions of Cooper's stock portfolio in the early 2000's.

Click on the picture to view video of the 2015 Commencement (skip 1 hour)

Click on the picture above for a podcast of Harrison Cullen's speech

Click on the picture for a video of a selection from Harrison Cullen's speech, followed by an entertaining illustration of its content
Click here for a full transcript of Harrison Cullen's speech

Lame Duck President Continues to Tout Tuition Plan

Faculty-Student Senate, Alumni Association Call for Immediate Replacement

The Board of Trustees has already voted not to renew the contract of Dr. Jamshed Bharucha, which expires on June 30, 2016. Meanwhile, the Faculty-Student Senate passed a resolution requesting the appointment of an interim president "as soon as possible" because Dr. Bharucha "is unable to perform his job duties and responsibilities," and the Cooper Union Alumni Association passed a resolution supporting the Faculty-Student Senate resolution.

At the CUAA Emergency Meeting of May 5, 2015, CUAA President John Leeper clarified, "For me, a president does three things. One, he raises money. I'm not going to give him a hard time about that now, considering what's been going on. Second, he leads. He leads, he leads, he leads, he leads. Third, he administers. So, if I'm going to give him a break on the first one, I can certainly grade him "miserable" on the second two. And so, for that reason, he is unable to fulfill his role [as president], so I have no problem with this resolution at all. I think it states it very simply and succinctly, and in my opinion, we should just get on this bandwagon."

Surprisingly, Dr. Bharucha has continued to make appearances at alumni events, speaking at the Founders Day Award Ceremony and at regional fundraising events in California, and representing the college in messages to the Cooper Community and in interviews in The Wall Street Journal. The Tuition Plan has been re-christened the "Financial Sustainability Plan," a term which is repeated ad nauseum to various audiences, most recently in the announcement of the resignation of Dr. Teresa Dahlberg, Provost of the college, primary author of an unauthorized trashing of the Working Group Report, whose introduction of a Computer Science program over the objections of the faculty resulted in threats of an unfair labor practice by the faculty union. The "Financial Sustainability Plan" is also touted in "The State of Cooper Union," a document authored by Dr. Bharucha which has been refuted by The Alumni Pioneer News Archive and the Committee to Save Cooper Union.

According to the student newspaper, The Cooper Pioneer, Trustee Malcolm King, in an interview, reveals that the Attorney General is looking to broker a deal between the Board and the Committee to Save Cooper Union. The first part of the deal was an insistence on not renewing the president's contract, which the Board has voted to approve. In contrast to a series of articles planted in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. King "vehemently disagree[s] that avoiding an investigation was any type of motivation for the Board members...[It is] simply not true ... that the Board sold out the President in order to save itself."

The final nature of concessions from the Committee and the Board to settle the lawsuit is still pending. Meanwhile, the CUAA Council has approved a letter in support of the Attorney General investigation and mediation; the text is reproduced below, and alumni and others can electronically sign the letter. The original draft of the resolution was authored by Council member Brian Rose, modified by suggestions of several members of the Save Cooper Union Facebook group, and finalized by the Council.

May 6, 2015

The Honorable Eric Schneiderman
Attorney General of the State of New York
Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

We the Cooper Union Alumni Association (CUAA) welcome and support your investigation into the mismanagement and wrongdoing of the Board of Trustees and administration of our alma mater. For 156 years, Cooper Union has been at the center of New York City’s civic life, a beacon of egalitarian education, “free as air and water.” With the introduction of tuition by the Board of Trustees, that light has been diminished. Moreover, we have concerns about the long term impact of imposing tuition on admission standards, size of applicant pool, and caliber of academic excellence. The continuing viability of Cooper Union is in grave danger, and each day that passes brings the school closer to destruction.

We, therefore, appeal to you for swift and decisive intervention to save Cooper Union and restore Peter Cooper’s mission of free education based on the school charter, adopted by the New York State Legislature in 1859.

We call for the immediate removal of President Jamshed Bharucha, and we support the appointment of an interim manager with the stature, experience, and authority to put Cooper Union’s house in order. We also call for the replacement of those members of the Board of Trustees who are ultimately responsible for the current crisis. Board members must reflect the unique diversity of New York City, including women, minorities, and the continued representation by elected officers of the Cooper Union Alumni Association.

The CUAA also advocates the creation of “the Associates of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art” as prescribed in the charter of 1859, to promote the work of the school within the broader community and to act as a check on the Board of Trustees.

Although small in number, we are prominently represented in our fields here in the city and around the world. As the torchbearers of Peter Cooper’s mission, we are builders, designers, engineers, architects, and artists, of the past and present, and most important, of the future.

The Cooper Union Alumni Association stands with you in rebuilding our institution.

On behalf of The Cooper Union Alumni Association, Inc.

Brian Rose
B. Art '79
Council Member

John Leeper
B. Arch '85
CUAA President

Nils Anderson
B. Art '94
CUAA President-Elect

the Letter

Libeskind Tried to Censor Slavin in Violation of Charter

Kevin Slavin, elected by the Cooper Union Alumni Association as an Alumni Trustee in a dramatic write-in campaign led by Friends of Cooper Union and other members of the Free Cooper Union movement, is under threat from Daniel Libeskind, prominent architect, fellow Cooper alumnus, and newly appointed to the Cooper Union Board of Trustees. Kevin Slavin was elected to the board on a platform of transparency, following his dramatic speech in The Great Hall at the First Community Summit, in which he memorably stated, "Transparency is not a promise. It’s not an idea. It’s action. The answer to whether Cooper Union should be more transparent is not the word “yes.” The answer is to be more transparent."

The Charter of the Cooper Union explicitly allows for such transparency, stating that every trustee "shall be at all times at liberty, in his discretion, freely to publish any matter within his knowledge relating to the institution herein contemplated, or to its management in any respect, including any discussions in the Board of Trustees."

In an October 9, 2014, e-mail to the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Libeskind called for Mr. Slavin's ouster for following the Charter:

Dear Chairman Lincer,

I appreciate that you wish to bring the "point-counterpoint" to an end between Board Member Slavin and others. However, even though I am new to the Board, I wish to make the following point:

Executive sessions of the Board, with or without the presence of the President, surely have to be confidential. This is to ensure a frank and meaningful discussion. To have Kevin Slavin report on social media the contents of certain parts of our last Board Meeting was, frankly, something I find shocking and unacceptable.

Obviously, Mr. Slavin has every right to express any opinion that he wishes to express during the Executive session and he did. He made very clear his displeasure. But I believe that whatever his disagreements with the direction of the school, as a Board Member, once he leaves the Board Meeting, Mr. Slavin has to speak with a voice that echoes the decisions taken by the Board.

No one is trying to curb his right to freedom of speech - least of all, me. If Mr. Slavin feels that he wants to "broadcast" his disagreements about the direction of the School and with the Board, then he should be asked to leave the Board, so that he will then have an opportunity to voice whatever opinions he may have. That's free speech and good governance.

With best regards,

Daniel Libeskind
In a display of hypocrisy, on April 9, 2015, Mr. Libeskind himself revealed to the Wall Street Journal the contents of confidential executive session discussions about the renewal of President Jamshed Bharucha's contract, in which he disagreed with the Board's majority decision.

Justin Harmon, who, as new Vice President of Communication (and new Chief of Propaganda, replacing Diana Pearson, a consultant), has written to the trustees clarifying to them that, indeed, "the charter does state that trustees who wish to speak up about any given issue that concerns the school may do so." Kevin Slavin has expressed concern that Mr. Libeskind's disclosures to the press were not of a conventional board meeting but of a closed door vote and negotiation with Cooper Union's legal counsel about conversations with the Attorney General during an active lawsuit.

Many in the Cooper Union Community have expressed concern that the Board of Trustees requires trustees and members of trustee committees to sign Confidentiality Agreements that violate the Charter.

An election to replace Alumni Trustee Ray Falci, whose term ends in September 2015, was completed on May 1, 2015, with results reported by the Teller's Committee and affirmed by the CUAA Council on May 5, 2015. A record 1,667 alumni voted to install Peter Katz A'76 as a new Alumni Trustee, with 99% of voting alumni supporting continued CUAA representation on the Board of Trustees. 98% voted yes on a referendum supporting Council efforts to change the CUAA from a 501(c)7 fraternal organization to a full 501(c)3 not-for-profit, and 98% supported the CUAA's commitment to return Cooper to 100% full-tuition scholarship status. The Rock the Vote campaign garnered 25% of contactable alumni (it is believed that a total of twelve thousand are alive but not contactable). In a surprise move, key candidates endorsed by the Committee to Save Cooper Union (CSCU) beat candidates endorsed by the students and young alumni of Free Cooper Union (FCU), although FCU had worked hard to raise money for CSCU, and many alumni had contributed to help FCU publish a new version of their Disorientation Reader.

This content has been moved to a news archive:
12/14: CUAA Council, Frozen Out of Alumni Website, Mailing List, Goes Independent
- Barry Drogin's Extraordinary Service to The Cooper Union
- CNN Films: IVORY TOWER Asks - Is College Worth the Cost?
- Committee to Save Cooper Union
1/14: Board of Trustees Reject Cooper Union Community Bailout
12/13: Working Group Comes Up With Tuition-Free Plan
- Working Group Plan Endorsements
9/13: Cost-Cutting to be Focus of Anti-Tuition Working Group
- Who is "Cooper Union"?
- Alumni Giving Part II: The "Regular Contributor" and Other Myths
7/13: New CUAA President and Executive Committee Hit the Ground Running
- Administration Embarks on Summer Hiring Spree
6/13: June 2013 State of the Union
- Free Saturday Program Wins Reprieve with $1,000,000 Trustee Donation
- Statement from adjunct faculty
- Short-term "Solution" Used to Force Long-Term "Solution"
- Half-Decades of Non-Income Assets (construction loans)
- New Anti-Tuition Alumni Trustee/New President Salary/Free 154 Years/40% Alumni Giving: "Oh shit."
5/13: Bharucha Calls for Healing, but Epstein Threatens Extinction
- Joint Statement from the Leadership of CUFCT, CUOP, and U@CU
4/13: Cooper Undergraduate Education: Eighty Thousand Dollars
12/12: Is Peter Cooper History?
- Clueless Students Obscure Friends of Cooper Union Message
- Pearson Molds Propaganda Campaign

Cooper Pioneer




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News Archive

PDF version

PDF version

Customizable PPT version

Inspired Writing

Why Cooper Union Matters
Litia Perta
The Brooklyn Rail

The Way Forward
Cooper Union Community
Friends of Cooper Union

Open Letter to the Trustees
Sean Cusack
Cooper Union Task Force

2015 Student Commencement Address
Harrison Cullen
Free Cooper Union

Save Cooper Union and
You Can't Just End an Era
Sangamithra Iyer

When the financial crisis was first announced, Litia Perta wrote an articulate, contextualizing article for The Brooklyn Rail that lucidly expressed for all the various underpinnings of the situation. Soon thereafter, Sangu Iyer started writing a series of articles in her blog, Literary Animal, about The Cooper Union, including original research in the Cooper archives about the "amateur class." As the Board of Trustees delayed their final announcement, Sangu penned a great summary of the entire crisis, from the early days of the college up through the clocktower occupation and its aftermath. She provided an update after the Sit-In ended. These articles serve as must-read bookends to the crisis, from two of its most knowledgable writers.

These have been paired with three other Cooper Union documents: the community-authored "The Way Forward" from the Friends of Cooper Union, an Open Letter to the Trustees by Sean Cusack of Cooper Union Task Force, and the 2015 Student Commencement Address by Harrison Cullen of Free Cooper Union.

Summer 2012 Student's Guide to The Cooper Union Financial Crisis playlist:

Required Reading

Fixing College Through Lower Costs and Better Technology
The Lost Decade
New York Times/Chronicle of Higher Education

Behind the Three-Decade Scheme to Raise Tuition, Bankrupt Generations, and Hypnotize the Media
Administrative Bloat and Income Inequality

Stop Misusing Higher Education-Specific Price Indices
Center for College Affordability and Productivity

Beware Higher Ed’s Newest Budget Twist
Responsibility Centered Management
NEA Higher Education Journal

Conventional Wisdom is Killing Us
Ignore Reformers and Reinforce Relationships
Inside Higher Ed

Just in case you think The Alumni Pioneer is written by a bunch of disgruntled alumni hanging on desperately to the "cherished aspect" of free education at The Cooper Union, we highly recommend you "get educated" by reading what others think.

Favorite Abraham Lincoln Quote #1:
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Favorite Abraham Lincoln Quote #2:
Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

Cooper Pioneer




Page 2


News Archive

Original Analyses, Research, and Reporting (click here for abstracts)

  • Cooper
  • 2007 Strategy
  • Deficit Spending
  • Timeline
  • HEPI
  • Inauguration 10/18/11
  • Bharucha
  • Payroll
  • Trustees
  • Halloween 10/31/11
  • Bharucha Q&A
  • Narratives
  • Reinvention
  • Open Forum 11/8/11
  • Epstein Q&A
  • Fee vs. Tuition
  • WNYC 11/23/11
  • Cooper Voices
  • PR Questions
  • Summit 12/5/11
  • Summary
  • PPS1, PPS2, PDF
  • FLV1,FLV2,FLV3
  • Selected Slides
  • Address 12/13/11
  • Urtak Poll
  • Fantasy Address
  • Summary 12/16/11
  • Board Summary
  • PR Questions 2
  • Administrators
  • Summit II 4/26/12
  • Austerity
  • Philanthropy
  • Chess
  • Year Two 9/4/12
  • Guide
  • AQAF
  • RCM
  • Solutions
  • Lock-in 12/3/12
  • Rising Costs
  • Epstein
  • Two Coopers
  • Sit-in 5/8/13
  • Alumni Trustees
  • Alumni Giving
  • New Cooper
  • No Vision
  • Future
  • Real Narrative
  • The Deadline
  • Scenarios
  • Exit
  • - click on pic for second draft (2/21/12) of infographics by Matt Arnold AR '82 depicting Real Estate, Investments, Revenues, Annual Giving, Expenses, and Staff Changes

    09-17-2015 Testing Out New Narratives - Interim President William Mea steps up to the plate
    06-20-2015 Counter Narratives to the Administration Narrative Part II (rev 1) - A guide for the media against all of the persistent and final lies spread at the end of the 4-year reign of terror
    03-21-2015 Good Faith Reliance - Blow-by-blow response to the President's "The State of Cooper Union"
    12-06-2014 "Ivory Tower" Errata - Minor corrections and clarifications to the Andrew Rossi CNN documentary
    11-22-2014 CUAA Secedes from Union (rev 1) - Council fed up with censorship

    01-12-2014 Exit Through the Gift Shop - Post-Mortem
    08-11-2013 The "Regular Contributor" and Other Myths - alumni giving, part two
    07-28-2013 And the No Confidence Vote Goes to... - the next Chairman of the Board of Trustees
    06-23-2013 The Real Narrative - the history of The Cooper Union up to June 2013
    06-23-2013 Ask Mr. Misinformation - answers to more false narratives from the administration
    06-01-2013 Coffee, Donut, and a Dorm - kicking the vision down the road
    05-31-2013 Drinking the Kool-Aid: The New Cooper Union - full-tuition programs
    05-26-2013 Michael Borkowsky and Alumni Giving (rev 1) - the 20% lie
    05-19-2013 Unasked Questions for the Alumni Trustees
    05-07-2013 Fee vs. Tuition (rev 4) - why words matter
    02-15-2013 A Tale of Two Coopers - Before the March 1, 2013 Face-Off
    12-31-2012 The Education of Mark Epstein - in his own words
    12-29-2012 Solutions - alternatives to tuition
    12-20-2012 The Cooper Institute - short version
    12-18-2012 Facebook Policy - plus some good ramblings
    12-16-2012 The Real Cooper (rev 1) - 1883 documents
    12-08-2012 Yes, Alexander, There Is A Santa Claus (rev 1) - on exponential costs
    12-05-2012 New York Magazine-style article - for non-Cooper folk
    12-02-2012 RCM@CU - Bringing Responsibility Centered Management to the Non-Academic Units
    09-08-2012 Actual Questions Asked Frequently - Latest response to "the new transparency"
    08-29-2012 Endow a President - Financing the other half of the budget
    05-06-2012 See the Whole Board (rev 2) - Bharucha's Pre-emptive Surrender
    04-08-2012 Envisioning Austerity - layoffs and program reductions
    02-04-2012 A Fiduciary Timeline (rev 2) - Cooper's march to bankruptcy
    01-31-2012 The Deadline (rev 1) - would a five-year plan be sufficient?
    01-28-2012 Counter-Narratives to the Administration Narrative (rev 5) - a baker's dozen
    01-28-2012 Scenarios for End Times (rev 4) - don't say you weren't warned
    01-27-2012 Hide the Salami (rev 1) - Board Statement and Summary
    01-23-2012 Don't Worry, Be HEPI - how to portray an increase as a reduction
    01-15-2012 Becoming the Story - administrators who draw attention to themselves
    01-15-2012 The New Colossus - on reinventing The Cooper Union
    01-12-2012 Further questions the Office of Public Relations refused to answer
    12-28-2011 Summary of the Summary - of the December 5 Summit
    12-10-2011 Urtak Poll - what you think
    12-10-2011 (spreadsheet)
    12-09-2011 My Fantasy Presidential Address - if it were only so
    12-09-2011 Selected Community Summit Slides - the short version
    12-07-2011 Great Hall Financial presentation (silent, PDF, video1,2,3) - socko multi-media show
    12-02-2011 Questions the Office of Public Relations refused to answer - past, present, and future
    11-28-2011 Cooper Voices - eloquence, passion, and moving anecdotes
    11-27-2011 The Real Bharucha - what you'd rather not know
    11-26-2011 Do You Want Deficit With That? (rev 2) - inside the financial statements
    11-26-2011 (spreadsheet)
    11-20-2011 The Halloween Massacre (rev 5) - the opening salvo
    11-19-2011 Cooper Payroll - The Monkey on Their Back (rev 2) - non-academic bloat
    11-19-2011 (spreadsheet)
    11-18-2011 Questions answered by Chair Epstein - all 6 AP questions asked and answered
    11-17-2011 Trustees Mainly Board Junkies - just another not-for-profit to them
    11-17-2011 (spreadsheet.)
    11-14-2011 Cooper's Strategy through 2007 - Alum Pres observes Board before the crash

    We make mistakes, and we're continuously trying to make this better. If you read or see something that you know is wrong or that you think could be better, don't write us off - write to the Publisher. See the revisions listed above? It happens.

    Everything started with The Halloween Massacre. Then came Counter-Narratives to the Administration Narrative, followed by Questions answered by Chair Epstein. By this time, The Alumni Pioneer was born.

    The first version of Scenarios for End Times followed next, then Fee vs. Tuition, along with Cooper's Strategy through 2007, written by Don Toman, former Alumni Association President. Finally, the first analyses, Cooper Payroll - The Monkey on Their Back (and its spreadsheet) and Trustees Mainly Board Junkies (and its spreadsheet), were published.

    The Thanksgiving break was a major time for The Alumni Pioneer, with the initial publication of Do You Want Deficit With That? (and its spreadsheet). At the end of the long weekend, The Real Bharucha was published. Within a week the two had garnered over 400 downloads each.

    On Monday we changed tack with the inspiring Cooper Voices and published questions the Office of Public Relations refused to answer when, given three days to respond, well, the Office of Public Relations refused to respond to our questions.

    We posted The Deadline on the morning of the Great Hall Financial presentation on December 5, 2011. (Silent and PDF versions were posted two days later, and Selected Community Summit Slides two days after that).

    Dr. Bharucha enjoyed reading our publisher's Fantasy Presidential Address, but laughed it off. We took a snapshot of the Urtak Poll. The Board stayed on schedule and published their December 16 report on the financial crisis. This led the Cooper Union Community to the 2006 cy pres petition to the NYS Supreme Court. The false optimism of the fantasy presidential address has been replaced with the stark realities of the administration's Fiduciary Timeline and an attempt to analyze the Board Statement and Summary while they continue to play Hide the Salami.

    Just before the holiday break, the Gang of Six posted their summary of the Community Summit and announced a second set of breakout sessions, so we published a Summary of the Summary for those with really short attention spans - although we certainly encourage our readers to read the original summary, read the full transcripts, and watch the videos, if you are so inclined. Over that break we didn't sit still: we created a a new set of questions that the Office of Public Relations also refused to answer, we wrote about administrators who, through their actions, end up Becoming the Story, and we created a song and slideshow based on Bharucha's "reinvention strategy" called The New Colossus.

    We explain the Higher Education Price Index in Don't Worry, Be HEPI, and created some fantastic infographics in time for the third Breakout Session. We've changed our masthead slogan twice: now it's "Fighting For a Fair Risk-Free Austerity Budget Since November 2011." Prior to publication of "The Way Forward," we called for layoffs and program reductions in Envisioning Austerity. We all know what happened on April 24, 2012 - the pre-emptive surrender called the "hybrid framework" is analyzed in See the Whole Board. And to wrap up the first academic year of the crisis, we offered Endow a President, our slightly tongue-in-cheek guide to how the New Philanthropy can actually benefit The Cooper Union.

    The second year of the crisis, TC Westcott responded to our Student's Guide to the Cooper Union Financial Crisis with her FAQ, so we created a list of Actual Questions Asked Frequently. We had just written a critique of Responsibility Centered Management when the first lock-in on December 3, 2012, made everything get very busy. For the general public, we published our New York Magazine-style article for non-Cooper folk. We responded to clueless engineering students with Yes, Alexander, There Is A Santa Claus and discovered historical documents that revealed some inconvenient truths about The Real Cooper. The clueless engineering students took offense on-line, so we set up a Facebook Policy that we occasionally ease up on when the offending parties take a break to attend to classes and exams. In response to the constant refrain to offer alternatives to tuition, we posted a summary of Solutions from The Alumni Pioneer and Friends of Cooper Union.

    Over winter break, we decided to go musical again with The Education of Mark Epstein (also available as a PDF). Prior to a March 1, 2013, stand-off, The Alumni Pioneer offered A Tale of Two Coopers.

    We thought it would be over, but then came the tuition announcement and the May 8, 2013 sit-in. Mike Bokowsky kicked off that March 1 event, and was the first trustee to visit the sit-in, so we looked in our archives and published "the Borkowsky letter" and a critique of the 20% alumni giving lie in Michael Borkowsky and Alumni Giving. This has been followed by a more in-depth statistical analysis based on the FY 2009 Donor Report, The "Regular Contributor" and Other Myths. The tuition announcement, horrible as it is, is a distraction from the total abandonment of the merit scholarships, as described in Drinking the Kool-Aid and Coffee, Donut, and a Dorm.

    In response to more false narratives posted on the Cooper Union website, The Alumni Pioneer has created two YouTube videos, Ask Mr. Misinformation and The Politics of Distraction, as well as The Real Narrative. Also, selection of a new Chairman of the Board of Trustees was scheduled for September 2013.

    Our Publisher was elected to serve on the Working Group and signed a Confidentiality Agreement that shut him up for a few months (except for monthly reports to the Cooper Union Community published on the CU Alumni website). After the trustees voted to reject the Working Group Plan, our publisher wrote this port-mortem, Exit Through the Gift Shop.

    After the fight for a fair, risk-free austerity budget ended in January 2014, another fight began: the Committee to Save Cooper Union filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court. The administration launched a war against the Cooper Union Alumni Association, covered in CUAA Secedes from Union. The Cooper Union, and the president in particular, suffered a public relations fiasco with the release of the CNN Documentary, "Ivory Tower" (some errata published here). As an Attorney General investigation flared in the background, the president tried to line up a new job with a nonsensical document called, "The State of Cooper Union." The Alumni Pioneer came up with a third YouTube video, Good Faith Reliance, which it also released in PowerPoint format; much of the information was used by the Committee to Save Cooper Union in their own responsa, "The Real State of The Cooper Union." Finally, The Alumni Pioneer came back to where it started with Counter-Narratives to the Administration Narrative Part II as a media guide against all of the persistent and final lies spread by the five trustees, president, and dean who resigned in June 2015.

    The Attorney General, with a Cross-Petition that includes a cy pres petition and a Consent Decree, ended the toxic environment on campus on September 14, 2015, but the Chair won't be forced to resign until December 2016 and an interim president has attempted his first sales pitch. It is analyzed in Testing Out New Narratives.

    If this is too much, check out the lighter fare on Page 2 and a serial webcomic, Peter Cooper & The Demons of Debt. We've even added a couple of interactive games to amuse you.

    Cooper Pioneer




    Page 2


    News Archive

    Ten One Action Item for the Cooper Union Community:
    Remove Jamshed Bharucha
    The June 2012 Deadline Has Passed: Watch Out! Here It Comes!

    June 2015 Update: Action Item Achieved, Jamshed Bharucha Has Been Removed!!

    We are forced to conclude that the administrative action items demanded below will never be realized while Jamshed Bharucha is in office - that the "new transparency" is a sham. The demands are:

  • President lift all gag orders on administration staff, elected Alumni Trustees, and Alumni Association representatives
  • President endorse the Community Summit process involving all stakeholders, not just those "invited" by the administration
  • President state publicly and unequivocally that The Cooper Union will remain completely tuition free
  • Finance Office release the student 10.31.2011 presentation PowerPoint
  • Finance Office release FY 2011 unconsolidated financial information
  • Office of Public Relations answer 11-28-2011 and 01-09-2012 Alumni Pioneer questions
  • More criticism of Bharucha from Casey Gollan A'13 of the Cooper 11.

    Other Resources and Links

  • 2006 New York Supreme Court petition for cy pres relief
  • Audited consolidated financial statements, FY 2000 to 2010
  • FY 2010 Form 990 and spreadsheet of expenses from FY 2009 and 2010
  • Guidestar website Form 990s - full FY 2009, 2008, 2007, more available for subscription, more complete than ERI
  • Economic Research Institute website Form 990s
  • Complete transcript of first half of Open Forum with Mark Epstein
  • Youtube videos of both halves - click on Uploads to view in reverse chronological order
  • Historian Buckley Clarifies the Legend of Free Education

    Since site statistics indicate that readers are wandering all over the Not Nice Music website trying to figure out who the hell Barry Drogin is, here's a Cooper-focused page about the Publisher of The Alumni Pioneer.

  • "It's one thing to be stuck at the helm as the ship hits an iceberg,
    it's another to say it deserved to hit the iceberg because buoyancy is unsustainable."
    - Sean Cusack, 5/30/13

    Cooper Pioneer




    Page 2


    News Archive

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