Student Protests Force Out Shamed Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha

President Bharucha on Alignment and Synchronization of Brain States through Music. Picture: Courtesy The Cooper Union.
President Bharucha on Alignment and Synchronization of Brain States through Music. Picture: Courtesy The Cooper Union.

The Board of Trustees of New York’s Cooper Union school voted in favor of not renewing President Jamshed Bharucha’s contract next year, reports the Wall Street Journal.

In light of recent news about the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opening an investigation into the Greenwich Village university, the board took this initial step in hopes of ending the investigation and litigation against the educational institution (see Scandal Erupts As  New York Attorney General Investigates Cooper Union for Shady Financial Dealings).

“The board fired the messenger that delivered the bad news,” Daniel Libeskind, an architect and Cooper Union trustee who opposed the motion, told the Journal. That “bad news” was Mr. Bharucha’s decision to charge undergraduate tuition amid the institution’s financial troubles (see Will Cooper Union Charge Tuition?) .

But others disagreed. One said Mr. Schneiderman’s office had been pressuring the Board for Mr. Bharucha’s resignation, while another said it was simply a good time for change and that even if the Attorney General wasn’t probing into the school’s financial dealings, Mr. Bharucha’s leave would benefit the school.

The lawsuit is critical of supposed unsound spending and lack of financial transparency that Mr. Bharucha and the trustees have demonstrated in times of the school’s financial crisis (see Cooper Union Alumni and Students Strike Back at President’s “State of Cooper Union” Report).

With the school having been tuition-free since its founding in 1859, it’s hard to imagine Mr. Bharucha made a lone decision to introduce tuition. In an interview, Mr. Bharucha defended his time at the school, stating that the board had a say in his decision-making and that he believes he brought some stability to Cooper.

However, the ongoing financial distress of the school show the inability of its president and its board to come to at least some kind of consensus.


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