From:  CUAA Executive Committee
To:  All Alumni
Date: December 3, 2014

Thank you all for your questions. We received nearly 100 from our request last week, and out of respect for your in-boxes and the volunteers who worked to answer the questions, we have grouped the emails together by subject and will respond to several  topics each week.

The joint statement, understandably, came as a surprise to many alumni. The meeting attended by John Leeper (President CUAA) and Peter Ross (Secretary/Treasurer CUAA) with Richard Lincer and Rachael Warren, members of the Board of Trustees and Jamshed Bharucha, President of CU and Caitlin Tramel, Director of Alumni Affairs was the first step in establishing how the CUAA Council and administration will work together after a period of several months of not having a working relationship. These meetings are on-going, and many of the more specific questions received about the CUAA and the Cooper Union can’t be answered at this time. What is important is: the dialog is on-going, additional meetings will be held, and the CUAA Council is allowed once again to meet on campus. Future meetings with members of the Board and the Administration will result in outcomes that will require discussion and approval by the Executive Committee and the Council, and will be communicated to you.

The questions we are responding to in this email come from Barry Drogin EE’83, Tim Haviland ’75, Kim Holleman A’95, Lawrence Kutnicki AR’74, Rolf Lesem ME’53, James Liubicich CE’83, Robert W. Moorhead CE’70, Nicholas Musolino, and Neil Silverman ’64. Thank you.

Cooper Union Alumni Association Communications and Transparency

Until August 2014, the CUAA Council did not have its own mailing list – we relied on the CU Alumni Office to send information out to you on the CUAA’s behalf. It became increasingly important that the CUAA Council establish its own independent mailing list to communicate directly with alumni. By independent, we mean you are now receiving news directly from the CUAA Council, which is a group of elected alumni volunteers. This “new” mailing platform is hosted by Mailchimp®, and you can find information about us (as senders) in the footer of the email. You may be on other mailing lists from Cooper Union – you will continue to receive those emails as well. Emails sent from the Cooper Union administration have similar information in their footers.

The CUAA Council is no longer sending emails out through the Cooper Union and its Alumni Affairs and Development Office. We have resumed regular emails and communications, and you will be receiving emails from us several times a month with information about Alumni Events, Alumni News, and Council News, and updates from the CUAA President. All information will be archived on the new website, to be launched during the month of December.

The CUAA Council continues to meet and will resume publication of meeting notes and minutes, as well as summaries of other events and our governing documents, on the new volunteer-created website. We will also restore the archive of the last several years of meeting minutes and notes, Alumni Newsletters, and other information of interest to alumni, as the CUAA Council no longer has the website as a communication tool. We continue to post and host discussions on our Cooper Union Alumni Facebook page, Cooper Union Alumni LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The CUAA Council is proud of the work it has accomplished to support and engage Alumni, and we look forward to continuing to communicate these successes and opportunities to you. Our alumni are a broadly diverse and interesting group of people, and we appreciate every chance to meet and speak. We are also proud of the level of communications we have fostered and shared during the last several years. We will continue to share information and news with you through our social media sites, email bulletins, and website. We appreciate your attention.

Cooper Union Alumni Association and the Annual Fund

The Annual Fund is the Cooper Union’s annual fundraising fund which the CUAAhas traditionally supported by volunteer participation in the Phonathon and other fundraising events. The CUAA historically had a Chair of the Annual Fund who collaborated with the Development manager in charge of the Annual Fund. However, in 2011, the Annual Fund became the responsibility of the Development Office. This change coincided with Derek Wittner coming to Cooper as the VP of Development, near the end of George Campbell’s term as President and the restructuring from the Office of Alumni Relations to the Office of Alumni Affairs. The CUAA only aided Cooper Union in raising money for the Annual Fund. The CUAA never had input in the dispersal of the funds raised. The Annual Fund has, according to CUAA’s understanding, always been used as a general fund for the Cooper Union to spend as needed.

The Memorandum of Agreement identifies an Alumni Fund that The CUAA would manage, however, this Alumni Fund is not an active fund administered by The CUAAor The Cooper Union.

At this time, while there are a number of Alumni who volunteer directly with the Development Office in the raising of funds for the Annual Fund, The CUAA does not have an official role in this fundraising endeavor and there is no Annual Fund Chair or committee at this time.

We would like to make a nod of appreciation for the hard work of Mr. Darrell Low (former Chair Annual Fund), Ms. Kelly Smolar, and Mr. Nils Folke Anderson. Under their guidance the Free Since 1859 campaign raised approximately $167,000 last year.

The CUAA Council is currently determining how to re-establish our 501(c)(7) status or change it to a 501(c)3, and we will keep the Alumni up to date on that process.

Prior Cooper Union Alumni Association Statements regarding Tuition and the Mission of Cooper Union.

The CUAA Council has met and discussed the Mission Statement of Cooper Union several times, and voted on resolutions related to the mission and tuition both before and after the Board of Trustees voted to charge tuition. The text of these resolutions can be found below. With the exception of the August 6, 2014 statement, these resolutions were historically communicated out to alumni in emails and newsletters. The August 6, 2014 statement was voted on when the CUAA Council did not have access to an alumni mailing list.

In addition, CUAA President John Leeper has repeatedly requested that the BOT engage in a process similar to that of the Working Group (Community Representation) so that the current, short term and long term mission of the Cooper Union would be defined, agreed to and posted on the Cooper Union website.

February 8, 2012 and reiterated on December 11, 2012

“We, The Cooper Union Alumni Association Council, as the elected representatives of the Alumni Community, believe that The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art embodies an ideal of higher education and we unequivocally support its mission statement, which states: “The College admits undergraduates solely on merit and awards full scholarships to all enrolled students. The institution provides close contact with a distinguished, creative faculty and fosters rigorous, humanistic learning that is augmented by the urban setting.” Currently Cooper Union faces a financial crisis which threatens these ideals and its very survival.

“We resolve to:
* inspire the Cooper Union community through this period of financial difficulty, serve the institution in a manner that cultivates a culture of trust and collaboration among the trustees, administration, faculty and students,
* bridge the present financial gap to the maximum extent possible by encouraging our entire membership to give financially to the extent of their capability,
* encourage our entire membership to also give in non-financial ways; to volunteer time, talent and effort to support and strengthen both the school and the Alumni Association, communicate to the general public the message of Cooper Union’s exceptional contributions to the educational ideals of excellence, equality, opportunity and
* avow our commitment to Cooper Union and stimulate the support of others outside the Cooper Union community.

“We believe The Cooper Union must be saved and we therefore will make every effort to bring the greatest possible number of our fellow alumni to join us to secure the character, strength, and future of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.”

December 11, 2012

“The CUAA Council requests that the Cooper Union Board of Trustees conduct a series of public forums in the Great Hall, to engage the Cooper Community on the critical issues confronting us today. The first forum should be held before the next board meeting.”

December 17, 2013

“Resolved, on this the 17th day of December 2013, the Council of the CUAA hereby endorses the Working Group proposal presented to the Cooper Union Board on December 11, 2013 to replace the imposition of tuition on the entering class in 2014 and subsequent undergraduate classes. We pledge to support efforts of the Cooper Union Administration to refine the Working Group Plan as needed to ensure that a sustainable financial plan is maintained and we will assist in every effort to implement that plan and ensure that it achieves its objectives.”

January 10, 2014

“The Cooper Union Alumni Association resolves that The Cooper Union Board of Trustees affirm in a public statement that, “In recognition that the tuition-free model at Cooper Union has long been one of the institution’s defining characteristics; and inasmuch as it has also been of significant importance to the institution’s status as a premier educational institution, to the institution’s success in attracting excellent students, to the institution’s mission of preserving a meritocracy, and to past fundraising efforts; therefore, The Cooper Union Board of Trustees affirms its commitment to working toward a restoration of the full scholarship for all students, no matter how long that may take.”

January 10, 2014

“The Cooper Union Alumni Association resolves that The Cooper Union Board of Trustees partner with The Cooper Union Alumni Association, and the rest of the Cooper community, in determining the Mission of the Cooper Union.”

August 6, 2014

“In light of recent and ongoing developments, the CUAA issues the following statement:

“The CUAA is committed to a return to free tuition for all students, and encourages all efforts to defend the Charter and founding documents, founding principles, and Mission of Cooper Union which states that “the College admits undergraduates solely on merit and awards full scholarships to all enrolled students.” To this end, we resolve to make it a priority to provide current, relevant and accurate information related to the tuition controversy and related developments, in an effort to foster an informed alumni body. Furthermore, we unequivocally respect and defend each individual’s right to engage in and support efforts to defend the Mission of Cooper Union as they see fit.”