A Response to the Meeting with Mr. Epstein

John-Elio Reitman November 8, 2011

John-Elio Reitman

Here is a hopefully coherent rambling about tonight’s meeting with Mark Epstein (Monday, November 7th, 2011).

It is clear, despite having gone to The Cooper Union, that this Mr. Epstein does not represent our ideals, our ethics. He assumes the role of dictator in our political structure: he is an unimpeachable figure who wishes to make our decisions for us despite our protests. Though I cannot say I fully agree with President Bharucha’s public responses and words about the matter of tuition, I can say that I feel heard by this man. However, I felt as though Mr. Epstein was deaf and dismissive of passionate defences and eloquent responses.

It is my hope that the President will recognize these terrifying facts and do something about them. If we are smooth-talked, I suggest continuing to get the attention of the press, to hopefully attract the Wallstreet Journal and suggest they do a followup on Mr. Epstein’s boastful comments prior to Cooper’s financial transparency; anything to pull him away from the central circle of gravity. The notion of problem solving with this man makes me feel very uneasy; we are dealing with someone who believes he understands Cooper Union more than the audience members of tonight, who’s prospective financial decision-making overrides the clearly stated ethics at stake. He believes he makes sense.

I am less interested in accountability at this very moment, because I feel the heat, incongruent to Mr. Epstein’s statements that we are not yet in a crisis. For example, I don’t like the 41 Cooper building as much as anyone (we all know it did not need to look like the future in order to give us our future).

I am interested in how the task force will problem solve, and I am very optimistic about what will be generated in the months and years to come. My ultimate concern/hope is to find a way to not only enable this task force, but find a way for this group to become the primary form of advisement for the President and his administration. I think it is not farfetched to have this task-force (of which requirements for participation are comparable to those of the board of trustees’*) be empowered in the situation, and not have to appeal to a jury represented by Mr. Epstein.

*Correct me if i’m wrong, but isn’t one elected on the board by only another member. there is no donation standard in terms of money. If we must donate, we’ll give, we just might not have several million
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