(Editor’s Note: The version of the letter published to the website was adjusted for formatting. A link is avaibable to the unchanged article in the body of the text. A link has also been provided to sign the letter here)
A few hours after President Trump tweeted “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” on July 6th, the Department of Homeland Security released a broadcast message titled “COVID-19 and Fall 2020”. Seemingly politically and financially motivated, the announcement reeked of xenophobia. It stated that nonimmigrant F-1 students taking a fully online course-load, which the Cooper Union was following as of June 2020, may not remain in the United States, possibly facing deportation. On July 9th, the Cooper Union administration responded to this crisis with an email stating a shift to a hybrid model of learning, which requires all international students to be in the US. However, with the SEVP regulations preventing students from taking online courses outside of the US in a hybrid model, international students would not have the ability to remain in their home countries to continue remote learning. In the administration’s email, this clause was misunderstood, which, given the severity of the crisis, shows irresponsibility. A collective of students took action to ensure that the Cooper Union protects all international students at the institution in a letter emailed to the administration.
The following letter was written collectively over the course of 36 hours and amassed almost 250 signatures before being sent to the administration on June 9th at 8 PM EDT:
I hope this article finds you ready to join a movement long overdue in architecture. Within the architecture community, minorities face many challenges that most architects would never even consider. Following the petition put forth by the students at Cooper, the faculty and students have been working diligently to reimagine curriculum. There are places within the architecture and design community where privilege impairs diversity, and here are some statistics to paint the picture of what I’m talking about. I have gathered data collected by the National Architectural Accrediting Board regarding diversity in accredited architecture programs:
The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences talked about the purpose of its program in relation to the three schools
with President Sparks in 2017, according to Peter Buckley, Acting Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences. “It was not generally known by the students that the faculty had already requested a full program review from the president, which is going to be announced by the president shortly. [...] It dates back to 2017, when we went to the president to say ‘look, it’s about time the overall learning objectives of HSS were examined, and we’re willing to do it.’”
In case you missed the performances, tie-dye shirts, and mildly disturbing Peter Cooper inflatables that took over Instagram last month, Sept. 22 marked the day of the fifth annual Peter Cooper Block Party. Organized by the Cooper Union Alumni Association alongside the spirited “Astor Alive!” Festival, the Block Party served as a way for the Cooper Union community to come together before the semester’s workload inevitably took over.
The final debate for the Democratic candidates for Attorney General of New York took place this past Thursday in our own historic Great Hall. The event continues the tradition of using the Great Hall to host this debate.
Last Monday, on the eve of the inauguration of President Laura Sparks, Cooper students, along with invitees from the Aspen Institute and Public Theater, filled up the Great Hall for an evening of truth.
As a renowned trumpet player and composer, Wynton Marsalis’s reputation preceded his speech in the Great Hall two weeks ago. Nonetheless, his skill as an orator was a surprise to the packed auditorium.