Cooper Union, CUNY students rally to support free education

Saar Shemesh, an art student at Cooper Union, joined around 200
 other students and faculty from New York City colleges to rally in
 support of the students barricaded in the Cooper Union Foundation

New York: Around 200 people, mostly students, gathered at Washington Square Park in Manhattan on Saturday to participate in a citywide rally supporting the 11 Cooper Union undergrads who've been in the eighth floor of the school's Foundation Building for the past five days, protesting of the school’s decision to start charging tuition for graduate students.

Cooper Union is one of the last higher education institutions in the U.S. to not charge students tuition -- they're all covered by a full scholarship which is currently valued by the school at more than $38,000.

Cooper Union announced that it would be charging tuition for the first time in its history last April. The possibility that Cooper may soon charge tuition for the first time in its history has prompted a week of student protests.

The students are asking that Cooper Union “publicly affirm the college’s commitment to free education,” according to a statement sent to administrators that was quoted by  The New York Times‘ City Room blog. A banner reading “FREE EDUCATION TO ALL” has been hung from the school’s clock tower at Astor Place.

The student occupiers have received more than a dozen letters of support from student unions and professors, from around the U.S. and overseas, who have been involved in their own protests against tuition and privatization measures.


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