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