There’ll be no more pizza airlifts at Cooper Union.
Students camped out in President Jamshed Bharucha’s office for 65 days have reached an agreement with the Board of Trustees that ends their occupation. Student organizers announced the accord, reached Friday, on various social media platforms and with a press release earlier today.
The debate over the financial future of the school now enters a new phase, in which students, faculty and administrators have equal voice. The end of the occupation, where students slept in sleeping bags scattered on the presidential office floor, was contingent on the promise of a 16-member commission that will be “established promptly to undertake a good faith effort to seek an alternative to tuition that will sustain the institution’s long-term viability and strengthen its academic excellence,” according to the joint statement released by the occupying group, the administration, and the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Union.
In the proposal, the two sides also agreed to include, for the first time ever, a student member on the Board of Trustees, and to open a community space on campus that will serve as a center for students, faculty and alumni. (The community space just opened, per Free Cooper Union’s Twitter.)
The 16-member commission will consist of three trustees, three administrators, three students, four full-time faculty members, and three alumni. Independent financial advice will be sought from a “nationally recognized expert in higher education finance at selective institutions,” if needed.
The administration agreed to open the books to the commission in order to facilitate the effort. The group will have until December 1, 2013 to present their findings to the administration and the Board of Trustees, after which the Board will consider the commission’s recommendations. Any individuals who may have violated laws or Cooper Union policy in the course of the occupation have been granted amnesty, per the agreement.