September 17, 2020 – Held via Zoom

Meeting started at 6:30pm

Margaret Matz opened the meeting and introduced Nader Tehrani, Dean of the School of Architecture and Hayley Eber, Assistant Dean of the School of Architecture. Margaret provided a brief summary of Nader Tehrani and Hayley Eber’s accomplishments.

Dean Tehrani provided an update about the school. He noted that the studio space has been updated with new desks and storage areas. A new workshop was set up as well. He praised the students, faculty, and administrators in their success of moving classes, exhibitions, and final reviews online as a result of COVID-19. He encouraged attendees to visit the virtual end of year exhibit. He mentioned recent exhibitions by Cooper students and alums that are located worldwide and posted online. Dean Tehrani mentioned that this was an extraordinary summer with COVID-19 and social injustice issues. The school set up an antiracism taskforce with Hayley Eber as a leader. He turned the presentation to Hayley to discuss the taskforce’s findings and plans.

Hayley Eber explained that the taskforce was to dismantle structures of racism. The taskforce presented a list of action items for the school, which can be found online. The purpose is a path to social justice and antiracism.

Hayley presented about Venice Biennale. “Microcosms and Schisms” was a graduate design studio in the spring to work on an installation for the Biennale. The question was “how do we all live together?” The installation was divided into four microcosms, each headed by a faculty member. The project was a dome with the four microcosms. The project was under construction in March.

  • The Parks and Recreation group looked at how we live together in parks. Students explored how people could occupy the exterior environment during COVID-19.
  • The Sanctuary Architecture group looked at resistance to deportation and persecution of undocumented groups. They looked at a church that was serving as a sanctuary.
  • The Microclimates group looked at new domesticity in quarantine.
  • The Deep Segregation group looked at housing projects and how we live together.

Nader Tehrani discussed his contribution to the Venice Biennale. The curators asked him to develop two projects, asking “how will we live together in different ways?” They are beginning to develop space for the Biennale itself, and considering what would be done for housing. Dean Tehrani’s team developed structures using cross-laminated timber.

At 7:05pm the meeting was opened for questions.

At 7:15pm Anna Brook took Roll Call and requested Ex Comm and Council members to send in the Conflict of Interest forms.

Margaret Matz addressed donation results. FY 2018 had 23.1% alumni participation, FY2019 has 18.6%, FY 2020 (ended June 30, 2020) has 17.6%. Alumni groups increased activity and participation in events. Margaret called on alumni to collaborate, work together, and set aside differences. She mentioned themes from Council Retreats – justice and collaboration, international and regional outreach. She introduced the Committee Chairs and plans.

At 7:30pm, Margaret Matz turned to the Committee Presentations.

Laura Spinner (Chair of the Awards Committee) presented the Awards Committee plans. She introduced the Chairs of the ASG (Henry Chapman / Bill Wolf), Gano Dunn (Mark Vasquez), John Q. Hejduk (Lily Zand), Public Service (Dr. James Haywood Rolling, Jr.).

Laura mentioned the challenges to schedule virtual awards events, and hope that a virtual platform will increase attendance. The committee is looking for fundraising/donations to help with the awards ceremony and Cooper Together. Nominations are open year-round online at the CUAA website.

Mary Lynch asked that alumni provide reasons that they are nominating someone for an award and provide full information if they have it or can get it.

Rob Marano (Chair of Annual Fund Committee) presented the Annual Fund Committee Plans. Rob stated that a goal is to increase alumni participation, in part because low participation negatively affects large donor rates. The Committee plans to enable alumni ambassadors to solicit donations and to coordinate with other committees such as Communication and Events, and with the Alumni & Development Office. Regional groups and alumni ambassadors will help with tracking down alumni whose contact info is not known.

Margaret Matz mentioned that the Executive Committee has not yet selected a Communications Chair, and that Bernie Codd is the acting Chair, Shankar is the outgoing chair.

Bernie Codd stated that he is looking for committee members, especially with computer/software backgrounds to help select a platform for hosting the CUAA website. Mary Lynch noted that the committee also needs content writers for articles / newsletter.

Barry Drogin presented on behalf of the Constitution Committee. Goals include recruiting members, generating an action item list, and preparing amendments for consideration by Council.

Mark Vasquez presented on behalf of the Events committee. The committee plans to have events to increase engagement with the Cooper community and provide support to alumni and Cooper Union. Mark addressed the types of events (First Tuesdays, Alumni Showcase, Alumni Excursions) the committee has been organizing. He also mentioned holiday parties, the awards ceremony, and potential new events (e.g., quarterly alumni art gallery).

Margaret turned the meeting over to Ron Vogel to present for the Treasurer. Ron noted that he works with the OoAA and the Executive Committee to set a budget for the CUAA. The budget is around $20k which is in line with previous years. Line items include technology, events, insurance. Ron suggested that the budget be presented in more detail at the next council meeting.

Donato Giacalone (Chair of Faculty/Student Committee) presented plans for the Venice Biennale and photos of mock-ups of several options for the exhibit. Donato presented the invitation and noted that this would be a curated exhibit.

Mary Lynch noted that committee membership and schedules need to be cleared up so that Council members can plan for participation. She noted that there was an alumni rep on the Admissions committees for the various schools and that the VP Faculty/Student Liaison should get the Admissions committee meeting schedule from the schools. Mary mentioned that the CUAA needs a pool of people who could be available to attend school meetings.

Mary Lynch spoke on behalf of the Nominating Committee. She addressed the process for selecting and approving alternates for three open Council slots (2 for the term ending in June 2021, and 1 for the term ending in June 2022). Mary disagreed with the characterization that the Council needs “a lot” of alternates.

Mary Lynch noted that the season for nominations has begun for the Spring 2021 ballot. Nominating committee will need nominations for all Officer posts, Council, and Nominating Committee.

Motion to adjourn made and seconded. Meeting was adjourned at 9:10pm.