Five alumni and admitted students have filed suit against Cooper Union’s board of trustees, alleging that their behavior leading up to the historic end of free tuition violated duties prescribed by the school’s charter, the Wall Street Journal reported. The 39-page legal petition, filed yesterday in New York State Supreme Court, states that Cooper lived “beyond its means” and lists a number of alleged abuses. These include the construction of a $150 million Thomas Mayne building “the school does not need” and purportedly lavish spending by Cooper President Jamshed Bharucha; the group claims Bharucha’s administration laid out $350,000 for his inauguration ceremony, including a $50,000 speaking fee to columnist Fareed Zakaria, and spent excessively on the president’s personal expenses, from $10,000 blinds in his residence to hiring a retinue of personal bodyguards. The group is seeking a court injunction against the charging of tuition, an investigative accounting of the school’s “current economic instability,” and attorney fees.
The suit was filed by an entity called the Committee to Save Cooper Union Inc., which is currently raising $150,000 to cover legal costs through an Indiegogo campaign promoted on the website savecooper.org. That campaign has thus far raised $7,400, though the preliminary expenses, which include lawyers and a publicist, were paid for “by soliciting donations from concerned members of the Cooper Union community, mainly alumni,” petitioner and alumnus Adrian Jovanovic said. The committee is also registered to Jovanovic and listed at a Washington Heights address deeded to his family, according to public records. Jovanovic is joined in yesterday’s petition by professors Mike Essl and Toby Cumberbatch, who are also Cooper alumni, as well as admitted students Isabella Pezzulo and Claire Kleinman; according to the suit they are all “beneficiaries of the trust established by Peter Cooper through the Deed of Trust and have a special interest in the trust’s assets and funds.” This 1859 Deed of Trust, the petitioners argue, plainly states Peter Cooper’s hope for the institution (“I am determined to secure to our country a perpetual course of free lectures and instruction”) and established a fiduciary duty breached by the trustees.
Free Cooper Union, an activist group sympathetic to the lawsuit’s cause, held protests on campus today coinciding with the school’s commencement ceremony. A spokesperson for Cooper Union told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that the university is “disappointed that the Committee to Save Cooper Union would choose costly litigation over constructive conversation.”
The Committee to Save Cooper Union is represented by Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff, & Abady, a firm that has previously litigated against city plans for the High Line and the Atlantic Yards.
Update, 5/28 5:20pm: This story was revised to include comment from Adrian Jovanovic.
As museums readily draft land acknowledgments, they should also be ready to leverage their presence and power on the land to meet the needs of their neighbors today.
Decades later, a letter written by the group has resulted in a permanent exhibition at Bosque Redondo Memorial in New Mexico.
International audiences have free access to the media collections of MMCA Korea, Sharjah Art Foundation, and ArkDes through this subscription-based art streaming platform.
Assembly Required suggests it is high time to strap on a colorful mask and play with someone you don’t know — or don’t know well enough.
The pet home is on view at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, Wright’s largest public project.
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal” in the Hän language, is “the most complete mummified mammoth found in North America.
A childhood accident took her arms away but the transgender artist survived to create paintings, photography, and performances focused on depicting the body.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
Fans of director Claire Denis should check the film out, but as an agnostic, I find it one of her few truly awful pictures.
There are 30 nations represented in the international exhibition. Some aren’t in their best moment today. A comics diary.
Some have compared her album art to John Collier’s 19th-century portrait of Lady Godiva, but Beyoncé can channel her radical spirit without evoking Western art history.