Dear Commons Community,
Cooper Union, the prestigious university for art, architecture and engineering in Manhattan, is being sued by professors, alumni and newly admitted students over its decision to start charging tuition for undergraduates in the fall. Undergraduates at Cooper Union have not paid any tuition since it was founded by inventor and industrialist Peter Cooper 155 years ago. As reported in the New York Daily News:
“The scathing Manhattan Supreme Court documents accuse the school’s leaders of spending on fancy new buildings, borrowing more money than the school could afford and losing tens of millions by investing in a trustee’s own hedge fund.
The lawsuit also accuses the Board of Trustees of frittering away millions by endorsing another conflict ridden, 40-year, sweetheart deal with Tishman Speyer for the rent it will pay on land that the school owns under the Chrysler Building.
The lawsuit asks the courts to block any tuition — both this year and permanently — and to order a financial audit of the storied institution whose alumni include Thomas Edison, Felix Frankfurter, Nobel Laureate Russell Hulse and One World Trade Center architect Daniel Libeskind.
Last year, the school’s trustees voted to impose a tuition of $19,500 starting with the class arriving in the fall of 2014 saying it was “an option of last resort to prevent insolvency.”