« CSCU updates

Runaway Spending

Dear Alumni and Friends,

If we look at information provided by CollegeMeasures.org, we see that Cooper Union’s cost per student of $54,000 / year is exceedingly high (97th percentile) compared to other 4-year colleges. Also from that data, we see that the average baccalaureate college in New York State costs approximately $31,000 / year per student. Why is Cooper Union’s cost per student so much dramatically higher than average?

The recently released Cooper Union 990 form (the public information the school is required to file as a non-profit organization) for the fiscal year ended June, 2013 offers some clues. In it we see President Bharucha’s excessive compensation totaling $659,000. Back in 1998, President Iselin’s compensation was $198,000, so it’s more than tripled since then. Administrative wages rose by $5 million from 2006 to 2010 while full-time faculty wages remained flat.

The 990 filing reveals some troubling information about administrative expenses. Contractor “FJC Security Services Inc.” pulled in over a million dollars, an excessive amount for a small institution with no serious security issues. This does not include the fees for Bo Dietl’s security firm which has been providing additional security such as personal bodyguards for Bharucha at Cooper since early 2012. Those fees have not been disclosed and are rumored to be outrageous.

The highest paid consultant for the the 2013 fiscal year was CDG Group at $1.2 million. CDG is a consultancy that was brought in to make recommendations to improve and streamline the school’s administrative structure—recommendations that were not followed!

All of the above is on top of the previous year’s $350,000 spent for Bharucha’s inauguration party and $1.5 million on “unbudgeted expenses” for consultants to support “reinvention” — both extravagances funded during a supposed time of fiscal crisis. Not to mention about $50,000 spent on lavish furnishings for Bharucha’s residence — including $10,000 for an interior decorator, over $7000 for upholstery & textiles, about $17,000 for a dining room credenza, etc.

Please donate to our legal fund to support our action and help hold current and future Trustees to a higher standard.

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.