Category Archives: Analysis

Gender Diversity at The Cooper Union

By Afshin Khan (CE ‘19)

An overview of the Board of Trustees Meeting from June 21, 2017 describes an initiative of President Laura Sparks to improve diversity at the Cooper Union. The “Diversity Task Force” is fully endorsed by the Board of Trustees and is expected to launch soon. According to the minutes from this meeting, “the committee will look to external resources to employ best practices and break new ground in this area at Cooper”. Cooper Union has always held diversity in its highest regard, allowing women to enroll in courses in an era when that was uncommon, allowing even those of limited means to benefit from the school’s resources.

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After Tuition Part III: Turning a Ship

By Matthew Grattan (ChE ’19)

Fred Fontaine is Professor and Jesse Sherman Chair of Electrical Engineering at The Cooper Union. In addition to being a faculty member since 1987, Fontaine is also an alumnus of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. Fontaine spoke with The Pioneer on the subject of tuition and how it fits into the school’s ongoing narrative.

“If everything else had happened, except they actually never put in tuition, we would have issues. It’s part of a symptom; it’s part of a larger problem.”

For a school that had been tuition-free for over 150 years, charging tuition was a historically significant event. Cooper Union is now a bit more like every other higher education institution in the US. Perhaps, something characteristic to Cooper has been lost, beyond being “as free as air and water.”

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The Cooper Story: “To the Trustees of The Cooper Union…”

By Afshin Khan (CE ‘19)

Photo source: The Deed of Trust and the letter to the Board of Trustees can be found at

On April 29, 1859, Peter Cooper and his wife, Sarah Cooper, bestowed upon The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art both the property and land that currently houses the Foundation Building. The Deed of Trust was followed by a personal letter that Peter Cooper wrote to the trustees of the institution. It was not until 97 years later, in 1956, that the letter was published in a pamphlet, to remind its readers of Peter Cooper’s vision for the institution.

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After Tuition Part I: Questions and a Brief History

By Evan Bubniak (ME ‘21) and Matthew Grattan (ChE ‘19)\

Since the announcement in 2013, The Cooper Union has admitted four tuition-paying classes. That is to say: Barring fifth-year architecture students, every undergraduate at Cooper pays tuition, and the first-ever class of tuition-payers in Cooper’s century-and-a-half history will graduate in the spring.

Cooper is not—and never has been—the typical American college experience. Yet, is it possible that tuition has changed our institution? Have we lost something beyond the full-tuition scholarship? Or conversely, have we gained anything?

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Mission Statement Rewrite

By Juan José García (Art ‘20)

Yet, maybe it is precisely that impetus to move forward that might get in the way of the intent of the draft.

On Tuesday March 7, 2017, a campus notice was sent to the Cooper community containing the current draft of the mission statement of Cooper Union. The draft was sent with hopes that it “will generate the kind of discussion and debate that will add to the renewed sense of institutional purpose at this time,” while also aiming to receive input from the community.

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The New and Improved Code of Conduct

By Gabriela Godlewski (CE ‘19)

A Joint Student Council committee is currently rewriting The Cooper Union Code of Conduct to keep the administration and student body up to date with the ethics and conduct expected of Cooper students. The committee members—Octavia Parker (Arch ‘20), Marianna Tymocz (ChE ‘18), Clara Zinky (Art ‘17), and Anton Luz (CE ‘18)—have been meeting weekly with Dean Christopher Chamberlin to ensure that the new code will be written to express the best interest of students and faculty. They are in the process of presenting the current, and hopefully final, draft to the JSC for ratification.

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