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It Happened Very, Very Fast

Dear Alumni and Friends,

In 2010, the Board of Trustees formed a search committee to find a new President. In violation of school policy, the search committee excluded the deans of the Art and Engineering schools. They then hired a search firm, developed a list, and narrowed it down to final candidates. Astoundingly, Jamshed Bharucha, who was not on the search committee’s list of finalists, was chosen to be the 12th President of Cooper Union.

Much of what we know about how he became President comes from Mr. Bharucha himself: “Next thing I know, I got a call on a Saturday morning... two hours later we [Bharucha and a trustee] were having lunch at a Chinese restaurant... the next day they flew me down to NY to meet with the trustees... that night they offered me the job. It happened very, very fast.” You can watch him tell the story here. To our ears, he sounds surprised, even bemused at the trustees’ lack of process.

We also know that the precipitous offer of the presidency to Bharucha was made without the full board ever meeting him.

Jamshed Bharucha had never served as a college or university president and had no background in art, architecture or engineering. It seems that the Board had misrepresented Cooper Union’s financial condition during the search process, and in desperation quickly settled on someone willing to accept the job and violate Peter Cooper’s Trust specifying free education. It’s worth viewing part one of an interview with Dr. Pola Rosen conducted prior to Bharucha’s $350,000 inaugural event. Listen and make your own assessment of his vision and agenda.

In the interview, the pre-president, who would soon claim that tuition was a last resort, studiously avoids ever describing Cooper Union’s future as tuition free or having any knowledge of a Trust that requires it to be free. Interestingly, though he never mentions the looming tuition, soon after he started as President, references to free tuition were pulled from Cooper’s website.

If the trustees short-circuited a proper search process to bring in a leader with the ability and experience to manage a fiscal crisis, why choose an academic, a cognitive neuroscientist? If solving the fiscal crisis was the central agenda of the incoming President, why hire Bharucha? Why fire the head of finance soon after, with no replacement “on-deck?”

What we do know is that Cooper needs a President that feels an obligation, a duty, to follow Peter Cooper’s Trust; who can rally the faculty, students, and alumni to the cause; and who can properly manage the financial situation. We need a board that will use its collective resources and experience to recruit and support a new President who will fight for the mission that has defined Cooper Union for over 155 years.

We don’t need someone who rallied the board as Bharucha did at the September 19, 2012 meeting: “Yeah, you know, the one thing we all have to recognize in this situation is that there is no easy path. From a rational standpoint it is really not clear that there are any paths at all.” —President Bharucha

Inspiring words indeed.

Please help us set Cooper Union back on its rightful path. Your donation now can fill the remaining $15,000 gap in the final days of the $100,000 round 2 legal fund campaign. Thank you!

Please also join us at the Thurs. Nov. 13th: “Our Education!” 7pm Ivory Tower showing at Pioneer Works followed by a panel discussion and reception/afterparty. See Facebook event for more details.

New alumni-donated artworks have been added as rewards for your contributions!

Scott Lerman, Art ’81
An original photographic print, entitled “Liquid 2 (Square)”, 2013, from the edition of 12. Signed on the back. 30” x 30” Archival pigment print, matted and framed (38” x 38”). Available for a contribution of $1200.
This image was awarded an honorable mention by guest curator Jason Landry, director of the Panopticon Gallery, in the 2014 Black + White exhibition at The Center for Fine Art Photography.
“Scott Lerman’s high-speed LIQUID photographs capture the beauty, strength, and exuberant chaos of water drops. In these images, water forms shapes that are oddly familiar, often funny, sometimes ominous. There is no singular or objective truth captured, but our imaginations can’t help but imbue the forms with personal meaning. And while the images are technically color, these small worlds insist that they are black and white. Primeval. Elemental.”
Scott is a New York fine art photographer whose work has been recently exhibited at The Center for Fine Art Photography, Kadoya Gallery, PhotoPlace Gallery, The Garner Arts Center, and Duncan Miller Gallery’s yourdailyphoto.com. In 2015, a series of his LIQUID photographs will be part of THE BIG PICTURE exhibition in Denver. Scott’s work has also been recognized with silver and bronze medals in the Epson International Pano Awards and included in two editions of Kolor’s Panobook.
For more info, see: www.scottlerman.com

Donated by Scott Wilson, Art ’76

An original signed R. Neilson Orientalist Painting, dated circa 1920-1964. Oil on Board, 11.5x15.5 image in a 15.5x19.5 inch frame, available for a contribution of $1600.
Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson (American, 1881 - 1964) was born in New York City and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1905. He studied at the Art Students League in New York, in Paris, and at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Known for portraits and still life painting, Neilson won many awards for his painting including exhibition prizes at the Paris Salon, the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915, the National Academy of Design, and the Salmagundi Club. Other exhibition venues included the New York World’s Fair of 1939, Carnegie Institute International, and Grand Central Art Galleries.
This painting was donated by Scott Wilson, Art ’76, from his collection of Neilson’s Orientalist paintings, which he cherishes, but believes this cause is more important. Scott is a designer and fabricator of props and displays, and also a musician who plays music from the Middle East.
For more info: www.concepts2realities.com
For more info: www.scottwilsonmusician.com

To claim any of these new artwork perks, simply visit our Indiegogo page, select the perk and follow the directions. More information on these artworks can be found at the bottom of our Indiegogo page.

Sincerely yours,

The Committee to Save Cooper Union Founding Directors:
Adrian Jovanovic, CU BSE ’89
Mike Essl, Associate Professor of Art, CU ART ’96, M.F.A.
Toby Cumberbatch, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Ph.D.