Students occupy college to keep tuition free
Students at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art are protesting a new tuition plan.
May 14th, 2013
09:22 PM ET

Students occupy college to keep tuition free

Editor's note: This story was updated May 16, 2013, to reflect new information about the student protest.

By Dantel Hood, CNN

(CNN) - For more than a century, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York provided free education to all admitted students. But the school isn’t immune to the money crunch forcing tuition increases at colleges across the country.

In April, Cooper Union announced that it will start charging tuition for undergraduate students matriculating in fall 2014. Citing a $12 million annual budget deficit, the Cooper Union Board of Trustees will scale back the full scholarship it has traditionally awarded.

Students believe the administration’s decision casts a shadow on future students’ education.

At least 50 of Cooper Union's nearly 1,000 students have been occupying President Jamshed Bharucha's office on the seventh floor of the school's Foundation Building. The students organized a sit-in to protest the decision to charge future undergraduate students half the cost of tuition, up to $19,000 a year.

This week, they painted the office’s lobby black as a symbol of their protest. Cooper Union junior Troy Kreiner said it was an extension of a demonstration by architecture students, who painted another lobby black to protest tuition.

“Painting the lobby is a nonviolent action that visually transforms a space by the students. It is also a way to mobilize students in direct action through communal effort,” Kreiner said.
Bharucha met with the students, who have occupied his office for more than a week, although no resolution has been reached, according to Claire McCarthy, Cooper Union's director of public affairs.


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Filed under: College • Economy • Financial aid • School administration • Students
My View: The damaging messages of proms
Prom night is a big deal for many teenage girls. Author Rachel Simmons questions the lessons learned.
May 14th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

My View: The damaging messages of proms

By Rachel Simmons, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Spring may be graduation season, but the most coveted rite of passage for many teenage girls is the prom.

From the latest craze of "promposals" to the minute-by-minute social media broadcast of it all, the rituals of prom form a throwback cultural primer called "How to be a young woman." Teen girls are competing relentlessly to be queen.

The queens of prom are the conventionally beautiful, the wealthy and the heterosexual - always passively waiting to be asked.

Isn't prom just a fun dance that hardworking students deserve? Sure, but it's also an event where girls internalize damaging cultural messages. Those who are exalted on this "once in a lifetime" night offer an object lesson in how modern girls are expected to look and act.Prom is a cultural report card of sorts on how well, or not, young women are doing.

Here's what a bright 17-year-old girl learns as her lace gown drags behind her into the school gymnasium:

She learns that she must have money to attend the prom

Prom was modeled after the debutante ball of the old days, where elite girls formally announced they were ready to date, while a hand-picked bevy of suitors watched. Today, prom is still a rich girl's party.

In 2013, prom spending will rise on the shoulders of a more robust economy. Families who plan to spend money on the big night are expected to drop an average of $1,139. All that cash might be good for business, but it disadvantages the poor and working class girls who can't keep up. Meanwhile, boys can get away with renting a tux for less than $100.

Read Simmons' full column

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Filed under: Gender • High school • Prom • Students