Cooper Union Tries to Chill Out Students, Via New Rules

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An individual was handcuffed during a protest outside of Cooper Union on April 25, 2012. An individual was handcuffed during a protest outside of Cooper Union on April 25, 2012. (Brigid Bergin/WNYC)

After a tumultuous year where students occupied the president's office for 65 days, Cooper Union is revising its student code of conduct. A draft of the proposal would define "disruption" and "obstruction" — and their negative consequences — for the first time. 

The board of trustees met Wednesday to discuss a proposed draft to the current code, deciding to delay voting until faculty and students could review the draft, according to Justin Harmon, Vice President for Communications at Cooper Union.

Harmon said the school reviewed student conduct regulations at 26 other schools when drafting its own revision. He said the school needed to revise its old code to keep up with a changing "legal environment." 

"Trustees are on the hook, legally, to ensure that there aren't student behaviors that compromise the health and safety of others," Harmon said.

Mike Essl, an Associate Professor and chair of the Faculty Student Senate, said that if stricter rules restricting student protesting are adopted, it would be the lowest point in the school's history.

"The Great Hall has been the site of political and cultural movements for decades, and now, of all times, that they're going to clamp down on the voice of students, it's despicable," he said.

The school expects to hold a vote on the new code of conduct by the end of next semester.






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Comments [3]

stephen gemberling

As a student at Cooper in the mid 1960's to early 70's [[taking a leave of absence to complete my Selective Service Work as a Conscientious Objector]] I was witness to the derelict behavior of the trustees with regard to protection of the School's Financial Assets and again the same behavior is being shown to Their most important Asset- The Student Body.
The trustees were "on the hook legally" to protect the School/Students then as now and if they are unwilling or un able, they should have the decency to step down, or they should be removed.

Dec. 13 2013 02:13 AM
CU faculty from East village

Cooper Union needs a code of conduct for administrators to protect the safety of students!

The police were attracted to the peaceful protesting because of a person on top of the statue of Peter Cooper. That person was not arrested and was treated very gently by police because he was the son of a NYFD officer, meanwhile a petite uninvolved student was arrested (and hauled into the a precinct outside the area, held overnight and eventually releases with charges dropped) for no reason on the campus of her own school. Cooper Union's highest administrators were safely in their offices and hiding off campus, no regular school security were present looking out for the safety of the students just trying to go to class even after calls were made by faculty at the advice of police officers at the scene. CU failed to protect their students that day.

Dec. 12 2013 02:57 PM

i watched the arrest in this photo go down. it should be noted that the girl had literally just shown up to the front of the building and was trying to get inside so she wouldn't be late for class. she could not have been more than 100 pounds and was maybe 5'2". they literally grabbed her in mid-stride, when she posing absolutely no threat, was not even part of the students protesting, and threw her forcefully to the ground and handcuffed her with their arms and legs on her back. it was brutal. and 100% unwarranted.

Dec. 12 2013 12:39 AM

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