LIVE: Students Occupy Cooper Union President's Office
Posted 9 years ago on May 8, 2013, 2 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: student debt, cooper union, direct action, education
“This is a non-violent direct action, you are not being held in this room, you are free to exit when you please. We no longer recognize your presidency at Cooper as legitimate and in so doing we commit to re-claim this office in the interim until a suitable administrative alternative is secured."
Over 50 students have overtaken the office of Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha in response to the Administration and the Board of Trustees announcing the implementation of tuition for the incoming class of 2014- desecrating a 154 year old tradition of meritocracy and free education. "We stand together with the extended Cooper community in opposition to this decision; we reaffirm all of the previous and future actions of our fellow students and allies."
UPDATE: Cooper Union Students are calling for a Solidarity Rally Tonight at 6PM outside the Foundation Building at Cooper Square Park.
The students delivered a Statement of No Confidence from the School of Art, one of the three colleges that make up Cooper Union. Similar Statements of No Confidence are currently in the process of being drafted and voted upon by the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering.
On April 23, 2013, Cooper Union’s board of trustees announced that they will begin charging tuition, ending the university’s 144-year-old mission of providing free education to all those who merited entry. The decision was met with a united uproar of dissent from nearly all sectors of the university community, including students, faculty, and alumni. While it might seem counterintuitive to get behind a relatively small struggle at one of the most exclusive universities in the country—an old-fashioned meritocracy in a world in which a young person’s “potential” is directly proportionate to their family’s economic station—Cooper Union is by far the most diverse of all elite colleges: white students are a minority here and two-thirds of the student body attended public high schools.
Institutions funded by philanthropy and real estate earnings are clearly unsustainable as foundations for a quality education, but the school’s economic problems and its board’s regressive solutions mirror the situation currently taking place at countless other universities, both public and private. From CUNY tuition hikes to the torpedoing of Medgar Evers College to NYU’s unprecedented land grab, students across the city are fighting back. As student struggles continue across the globe, Cooper Union is a flashpoint for something much larger than itself.
Peter Cooper, the school’s founder, railed against the scourge of student debt a century and a half before the streets of Montreal exploded with resistance, before New York universities faced a string of militant occupations, before students in California put their bodies on the line against tuition hikes and the commodification of higher education. The ongoing fight at Cooper Union is but one part of the broader struggle against austerity, debt, and all other symptoms of capitalism.
On May 1, a 36-page mini-zine that serves as a postscript to last year’s Why is Cooper Union Being Occupied? was produced and distributed around the city. Collecting recent articles, editorials, and primary source documents, this basic update outlines the current situation at Cooper Union, at once a eulogy and a call for new resistance.
Download the PDF here, read online here, or come down to Cooper Union and pick up a hard copy.
For Live Updates, follow Free Cooper Union on UStream and Twitter
On Monday, the interest rate on newly originated federal Stafford student loans is set to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.
A month ago, I introduced a bill that would give students the same good deal we give the big banks. This proposal seems like commonsense to me, but, in this Congress, I knew it would be a long and tough battle.
I am in total disbelief, though, that the Republicans made clear this week they won’t even allow a vote to keep the rate at 3.4 percent. Instead, they are pushing a plan to make more money off students. The government is already profiting $51 billion off its student loan program this year alone, and the Republicans want a deal that would increase those profits even more.
The Republicans have made clear their philosophy: “I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.” And so we need to keep fighting.
That is why our team is still working harder than ever to organize students, get our message out, and fight for real investments in our future. Can you make a donation by our June 30th fundraising deadline to help?
With your help, we've collected more than one million supporter signatures, made phone calls, and written letters, pushing Congress to give students the same low interest rates than the big banks get. We haven’t won the fight yet, but we are together helping to shape the debate in Washington and put pressure on Republicans to give up their outrageous obstruction.
You’ve also helped fight for across-the-board, consistent accountability on Wall Street -- to raise your voice and shine a light on those who broke our economy and demand that our federal regulators do more to push back.
We’re already starting to see the fruits of our labor here too: just last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it will start, in at least some cases, requiring admissions of guilt in settlements with wrong-doers -- putting an end to its standard, one-size-fits-all practice of settling without admission. We put a spotlight on bad, pro-Wall Street policies, and we are starting to see change.
And you’ve also helped to keep more progressive champions working alongside me in the Senate -- whether it’s electing Ed Markey this week or re-electing Al Franken and Jeff Merkley next year. They are so grateful for the support you’ve given them, and I am too.
I’m not in the United States Senate to protect the millionaires and billionaires who have already made it. I’m there to level the playing field for working families. This is how we make real change -- we do it together.
Help our team keeping fighting for America’s middle class. Please make a donation before our Sunday night deadline.
Thank you for being a part of this,
All content © 2013 Elizabeth for MA, All Rights Reserved PO Box 290568 Boston, MA 02129
In Compliment - Sen. Elizabeth Warren's first bill to the Senate.
Like many of your family and friends, I paid for college with student loans. I'm happy to have done it (well, maybe not happy), because it was an investment in my future, and would allow me to give even more back to society.
So it really pissed me off to learn that Congress is set to double the cost of student loans from 3.4% to 6.8% --while offering huge corporate banks the low rate of 0.75%.
You read that right. Congress punishing young men and women looking to start their careers and families, while offering the biggest banks a 900% discount.
Here's what Sen. Elizabeth Warren had to say about that:
"As a country, every time we advance money to the big banks at low interest rates, we invest in those banks. We should be making at least that same kind of investment in our students."
She's right -- and she just introduced her first bill to the Senate to fix this absurdity.
Back up Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- become a citizen co-sponsor of her bill to give students the same ultra-low interest rates as big banks.
We elected Sen. Warren because this is exactly the sort of progressive leadership we need -- standing up to Wall Street, giving a voice to the middle class, and pushing the sort of common sense solutions that we need to get the country back on track.
She's doing her part. Now, she needs our help to make her first bill become law.
Become a citizen co-sponsor of Sen. Warren's bill right now.
Thank you for everything you do.
Arshad Hasan, Executive Director Democracy for America
Cooper Union has long been a bastion of free political thinking, and where people have spoken out against injustices
In CU's Great Hall, Lincoln gave a famous speech denouncing the proliferation of slavery. Many historians credit that oratory for him winning his party's nomination for President
And in that same hall, a few months shy of 50 years later, Clara Lemlich gave a very concise speech which sparked the Uprising of 20,000
The next day garment workers throughout the city went on strike protesting intolerable working conditions, and they met in Union Square for a Solidarity rally
So the students at Cooper Union are carrying on a revered, historic tradition, and they deserve our full support
Congress apparently needs to learn some simple math.
Every year Congress hands out about $4 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to Big Oil, which is the most profitable and most environmentally destructive industry on the planet. Yet, the House and Senate are struggling to find a way to keep college student loan rates from doubling on July 1, because they cannot figure out a way to raise the $4 billion needed to avert the increase.*
oilsubstuitionrates2.pngCongress is working to prevent the student loan rate from doubling on July 1, but so far the Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been unable to forge a deal. They're considering a range of options, but so far no agreements have been made. And in one week, every student in America will have to pay more money for the same education.
The solution is really much more simple — cut the wasteful and harmful subsidies to the oil industry, which doesn't need the money and uses it to further harm the planet by increasing global warming pollution.** Please sign our petition today asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to end the Big Oil Billion Dollar Bailout and keep college affordable.
My plan is a win-win situation. Giving subsidies to Big Oil is steals from our childrens' future by creating a harsh environment with warmer temperatures, extreme weather, whole species lost forever, and cities and communities destroyed by sea level rise on a scale we've not experienced.
On the other hand, keeping college loan rates low gives our kids a better chance at a higher education. Heck, maybe one of these kids will go to college, major in climate science and then figure out a way out of this global climate mess. Certainly, more people with a higher education should at least create a generation of potential senators and representatives who won't have as much problem with simple math.
Tell Sen. Reid today that you want Congress to cut oil subsidies and not raise college tuition loan rates. It will help the environment and our future.
Drew Hudson Environmental Action, Director
** Four Hot Summer Budget Battles that Affect You, National Priorities Project, website, June 2013.
Operation Debt Free - Orlando - Florida??? No shit. Huh - How strange.
In Compliment - From Working Families:
Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced her first bill, and it's awesome. The bill would allow students to borrow for college at the same low interest rates the big banks get.
Show you've got Elizabeth Warren's back. Sign this petition urging Congress to pass Senator Warren's Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act.
When Wall Street banks borrow from the government, they get rock-bottom loan rates. Less than 1% interest! So why are loans so expensive for students and families struggling to pay for college?
The sad truth is that students pay a much higher rate than big banks do. And if Congress fails to act, student loan interest rates will double to 6.8% this summer -- around 9 times more than what banks pay.
Student debt hurts young people and often saddles us with debt well into middle age. And the $1 trillion in accumulated student debt is dragging down the economy and posing a serious risk to the recovery.
Unlike big banks, students don't have armies of lobbyists and lawyers. And unlike Wall Street, our generation is actually too big to fail.
But what students do have is folks like you on their side, and Congress needs to hear from you today in order to make Senator Warren's great idea a reality.
Add your name:
Thanks for your support in this,
Nelini Stamp Working Families
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In compliment: The Other 98%
We’ve all heard the stories or lived the hardship ourselves: young Americans trying to move their lives and our country forward but being saddled with so much student loan debt it’s nearly impossible.
Now, if Congress doesn’t act, our already-too-high student loan rate of 3.4% is about to double to 6.8%.
Meanwhile the criminal big banks that shattered our economy and the law without spending a minute in jail? They'll get to keep their sweetheart deal of 0.75%.
We agree with Elizabeth Warren, who just introduced the Bank On Students Loan Fairness Act: ENOUGH.
Join us if it's time for us to start giving hard-working students the same deal we give law-breaking banks:
Thank you for all you do to make this movement real.
John Sellers, The Other 98%
I got a message saying the cops were moving in last night. Does anyone know what happened?
Very Good - fight measures that limit access to education.
Try reading the post it will aid your comprehension.