I attempted to attend Cooper Union’s President, Jamshed Barucha’s speech, last night. He was speaking in a forum with the students and alumni regarding the dreadful fiscal picture in which the school currently lies. There wasn’t any space left in the room because of an unexpected turnout so I cannot provide a play by play. However, here is a liveblog of the event and here is a recording of the event.
The event was in response to certain rumors about the options that the board of trustees has been considering to keep the school afloat. These include charging tuition to students or shuttering parts of the school. The President assured the students and alumni who piled into the Rose Auditorium of the (very expensive) recently built building at 41 Cooper Sq. that he would not allow any of the three schools to be closed. However, he suggested that charging tuition was very much on the table. He announced the formation of a task force that will be comprised of alumni, students, and faculty to look into all possible solutions.
For those of you who do not know, Cooper Union grants a merit-based full tuition scholarship to every accepted applicant and it is one of the most selective schools in America. According to the President, this year the school has a deficit of $16.5 million, or 28% of expenditures.
The way I see it, the school has three option; raise revenues, cut costs, or some linear combination of the two. While many may scream about how the school must be free as air and water, if there is no significant increase in revenues then costs have to come down some other (probably more painful) way. I do not envy the President’s position.
The parallels to America’s fiscal situation are fascinating.
For more coverage see here.
I remember reading this not so long ago.