Letter to the President

Jamie Alexander November 6, 2011

President Jamshed Bharucha
Cooper Union
New York, NY 10003

Dear President Bharucha,

It is my duty as a student of the Cooper Union School of Architecture to state the fundamental philosophy and foundation of this institution and remind you that this philosophy is not just a fictional concept but is inherent to the reality of the institution itself. The Cooper Union was founded by Peter Cooper to provide an opportunity to students who did not otherwise have the means to obtain an education. It does not have a model to follow because there is no other institution comparable to it. The Cooper Union is a sacred place because it was built on this very idea.

“I determined to do what I could to secure to the youth of my native city and country the benefits of such an institution … and throw its doors open at night so that the boys and girls of this city, who had no better opportunity than I had to enjoy means of information, would be enabled to improve and better their condition, fitting them for all the various and useful purposes of life.”

-Peter Cooper

To ignore this philosophy would be to remove the foundation of a structure and expect it to last. It will not last and will without a doubt collapse. Cooper Union was intended to be a school for those who did not have the privilege to receive the education they desired. It had one of the first libraries open to all comers. It did not discriminate against anyone who wanted to learn. To keep the name “Cooper Union” and ignore the foundation of the school would be immoral. It would be an empty shell of an institution. It is impossible to find a solution by borrowing the tactics of other institutions or universities because the Cooper Union is inherently different.

As the new President of the Cooper Union, I feel that it is your duty to find a way to preserve the Cooper Union without compromising the very foundation of it.

Thank you,

Jamie Alexander
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