Category Archives: News

What used to be Beirut under development. Photo Credit: Andrew Njeim CivE ‘24

An Explosive Throwback for Lebanon

By: Afifa Areya (ME ’24)

On the morning of August 4, 2020, a bride celebrated her transition to a new life. It was peaceful but thrilling with cameras focusing on her, a day where she could be beautiful and jovial. As soon as the camera panned down to take a shot of her beautiful white dress, a strong blast shook the camera and her elegant dress out of focus, while shards of glass and debris flew behind her. A catastrophe getting in the way of what was an exciting day for the bride of Beirut.

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Call for Protection of International Students

By Minah Ali (CE’23)

(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:

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NEW YEAR, NEW CHAPTER: The Call for Diversity in Architecture Education through NOMAS at Cooper

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By MC Love AR’24

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:

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Collective of Students Work to Create an Anti-Racist Institution

By Brighton Huynh (CE’21)

(Editors Note: The content of footnotes have been moved to the end of the article. For those whom the letter is addressed to, I have shortened two job titles and moved the full titles to the end of the article to maintain continuity in the formatting of the letter)

Update (1JUL2020): The Cabinet of the President posted a recent response to the collective letter on June 8th recently.

Systemic racism has plagued the country since its founding and continues to do so. The cold-blooded murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Nina Pop have prompted a mass movement calling for the nation to proactively confront systemic racism. A collective of students took action to ensure that the Cooper Union transforms itself into an actively anti-racist institution. The following is a statement from some of the students involved accompanied by the body of the letter:

The letter below, addressed and delivered on June 8, 2020, to the administration of The Cooper Union, is by no means exhaustive in scope but hopes to serve as merely the beginning of a series of conversations needed to foster and transform The Cooper Union into an actively anti-racist institution. The actions proposed were initially questions and concerns voiced in a town hall hosted by students on June 1, 2020, as well as informed by other school-wide meetings held during that week. The letter circulated around various social media networks to reach students and alumni across the three schools. The letter was edited collaboratively using Google Docs and any signee was permitted to suggest changes and post comments to the letter. Each of these suggested changes or comments were addressed individually by the organizing members. The hope is that these conversations surrounding institutional racism will continue to develop throughout The Cooper Union.

Since the submission of the letter to the administration, the document has been further copyedited for typographical errors and improved readability.

The original collaborative document is available on Google Docs here.

If you wish to add your signature to the letter, please do so here.

If you wish to join the conversation, please read, comment, suggest, and share the developing list of questions—most of which were delivered jointly on June 8, 2020 with the letter below—which is available here.

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Students want meaningful change to HSS curriculum and faculty

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By Matthew Grattan (BSE ’19)

Photo by Julius Freyra (CE ’21), courtesy of Humans of Cooper Union

The third course of the mandatory humanities and social sciences core curriculum is entitled HSS-3: The Making of Modern Society. “Once I remembered that, it was ridiculous for me to say that modern society as it exists today only exists because of Europe,” said Mahmoud Khair-Eldin (CE ‘21) over the phone one night last week.

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Grossmann on HSS Protest: ‘We need a different structure’

By Brian Frost (EE ’19) and George Ho (BSE ’19)

According to Professor of History Atina Grossmann, she and Professor Ninad Pandit, a post-doctoral fellow in social science, “significantly changed” the HSS-3 curriculum to include readings with non-Western perspectives. The changes are ostensibly a reaction to the HSS petition in 2016, but it is unclear how these readings are incorporated into the classroom.

Separately, Professor Sam Keene, chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, emphasized that changing the HSS curricula is entirely up to the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Task Force serves an advisory role only.

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