I am in receipt of your letter dated Feb 9, 2011.
The first thing I have to point out is that the Administration is
responsible for negotiating union contracts, not the Board of Trustees. The
Board of Trustees has oversight on the budget proposed by the
administration, and those contracts are part of the overall budget. In
essence, the Board makes a determination if the college can afford the
proposed budget. Salaries and Benefits account for the vast majority of the
That being said, I want you to know that the Board of Trustees is aware of
the enormous dedication and contributions of the staff at The Cooper Union.
We all know that The Cooper Union is a special place that we are all proud
to be a part of. The Board members are so committed to the mission of the
college that they devote considerable time and effort on the various
committees with no financial compensation. In addition, each and every
Board member donates money to The Cooper Union as an additional show of
Considering the facts at hand; a sluggish economy, the recent collapse of
the markets (somewhat recovered), reduced contributions, and increased
costs, I truly believe that the administration is acting in good faith.
The Cooper Union is not a government entity that can ‘print’ money. Just as
we all benefitted during the easier times, we all have to share some of the
burden during these trying times if The Cooper Union is to continue to
provide access to excellence to our students for another 150+ years. That
is the goal, and the responsibility of The Board of Trustees.
This might not be exactly what you wanted to hear, but it is the truth.
Thank you for everything you do for The Cooper Union.
Looking towards better times ahead, Sincerely,
Mark L. Epstein (Art ’76)
Chairman of the Board of Trustees