Cooper Union Tries to Chill Out Students, Via New Rules

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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.