From: John Leeper, CUAA President
To: All Alumni
Date: March 4, 2015
Re: Upcoming CUAA Election

Dear Fellow Cooper Union Alumni,

On March 15, 2015, the CUAA election will begin. It includes President, Alumni Trustee, one third of the Council and other positions in the Cooper Union Alumni Association. The ballot includes referenda on issues that face us today. This election is the most important in the history of the CUAA. It will be online. It will last six weeks.

This academic year is the first with tuition. 

Last year, Cooper’s struggles were a subject of a national documentary on education. Last year, a community-wide plan to replace or reduce tuition was rejected. Last year, members of the Cooper community, alumni and others, sued the school and the Board of Trustees. That suit remains unresolved. Last year, the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the CUAA and the school and the Board of Trustees was all but abandoned. The only part that remains is that alumni trustees continue to sit on the Board of Trustees. This too may be abandoned if the CUAA is seen as not representative. This brings us to this year’s vote: The most important in the history of the CUAA.

This year the CUAA faces the reality of independence. 

We are here because the school defunded us. Independence may take the form of a 501(c)3 organization. Prior to the original MOA of February 1, 1974, the CUAA was a 501(c)7, a fraternal organization. The major distinction between the two is that a 501(c)3 allows donations to be tax deductible. A 501(c)3 provides an opportunity to make donations and provide scholarships. A 501(c)7 doesn’t. The choice will be on the ballot.

The CUAA’s long-stated mission is to serve the alumni and Cooper Union. 

The Cooper Union Alumni Association, Inc., was incorporated on February 1, 1943, 72 years ago. The incorporation certificate speaks to that mission and of Peter Cooper’s ideals. In the spirit of Peter Cooper’s gift, I believe we must continue to engage in this mission. His incredible gift benefited all of us. Together, with the rest of the Cooper community, we carry that gift forward for the benefit of current and future students. This ballot is designed to engage us in that mission again.

This is the first CUAA election with a competitive slate. 

Every position is competitive this year. Everyone on the ballot will share their vision of moving the CUAA and Cooper forward. Your voice will decide whose visions will lead the CUAA into the future. At 13,000 strong, the Cooper Union alumni body is by far the largest part of the Cooper community. It is Cooper’s greatest potential resource, but only if its voice speaks and is heard. Cooper needs to hear from its alumni. Cooper needs to hear that its alumni remember the gift received and recognize themselves as stewards of Peter Cooper’s gift for the future. Cooper Union is our school.

If you’re receiving this e-mail you’ll receive a ballot. 

The CUAA belongs to all alumni. This letter is about the need for more Cooper alumni to have a voice in the CUAA. It’s about the need for more Cooper alumni to vote in the upcoming CUAA election. Please vote in the 2015 election. Rock the vote. There is no voice without your vote. They’re watching our vote.

If you know of any alumni that are not receiving these e-mails, forward this document so that they can either register on or send an email to to be added to the list.

This year, the alumni will choose the way forward for the CUAA. Please cast a vote on March 15th.


John Leeper

B.Arch. ‘85

CUAA President