By Ché Pérez
September 17, 2013 Rm LL101 41CS
Election of Officers
Reading and Approval of Minutes
Cooper Union’s Ombudsperson/EOO
Charge of the Working Group
Huron Consulting and the Departure of TC Westcott
Admissions and Recruitment
Report from Standing Committees
Student Officers to be presented at next meeting. Please use doodle to pin down meeting day/time. http://doodle.com/y3r2mmswk23e5km5
TC Westcott’s departure means many roles to be filled. Faculty and staff unsure of the channels of communication at present. Grievances, Cleric(disclosure of security policies, acquiring and dispersal of federal funds, etc.) in other words both the legal and the social roles covered by Ombudsperson/EOO.
At the moment, the Chief Financial Officer is Robert Spenser(sp?). He will be looking after financial matters and filling in the role of TC’s. Yvonne Moore will be taking up some other responsibilities. All administrative roles are subject to change as needed. A system of supervisors and delegation.
As roles can become more defined, people can do their jobs better without being distracted. (The Officer for Finance can focus on that and not be bothered by other responsibilities).
The Working group’s charge is as published: “Over the next three months, Trustees Michael Borkowsky and Jeffrey Gural will Co-Chair a Working Group comprised of trustees, administrators, full-time and part-time faculty, staff, alumni and students. The Working Group’s charge is to explore ways in which Cooper Union may revert to providing full-tuition scholarships for all enrolled students while establishing a sustainable financial model and continuing to invest in academic excellence. The definition of a sustainable financial model will be provided by the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Working Group will submit its report to the administration and Board of Trustees by December 1st for consideration at the December Board of Trustees Meeting.”
Document that defines sustainable financial model has already been drafted and will be published shortly. Will include both short term and long term necessities. Long term should look to about 2 rent steps in revenue from Chrysler.
Rumors about the aim of the working group to focus on cost cutting. Bharucha disagrees with that position and thinks the goals should include new emphasis on fundraising and increasing revenue.
Cooper’s financial model is very unique with the step function of the Chrysler Building rent. It doesn’t respond to inflation-both economic and healthcare. Must think about the Post Retirement Healthcare Liability, is a huge factor to take into consideration(FASB 106). In the past Cooper functioned on a year to year basis not taking into account long term expense increase.
Some things will be contracted out. Robert cannot do everything for modeling and financing systems. Yes additional expense to Cooper but necessary according to Bharucha. Analyses need to be done.
First President of Cooper to bring up the systemic financial problem of Cooper was President White. First to point out that income from Chrysler is not enough to offset increases in expenses to run institution plus and increases in healthcare benefits, etc.
What other income has been looked at aside from tuition. Point was raised many times that tuition will not cover this long term problem?
Campaign planning. Preliminary Prospect Analysis, a matrix that looks at capacity of donors vs connectedness to the institution. Want to target both people with low connectedness with the institution and high capacity and people with high connectedness and high capacity and of course everyone at the base with low capacity and high connectedness.
At the moment there is a need to be conservative. Development can target for long term pledging for securing a future donation base with naming Cooper in one’s will, etc. or Development can go for immediate donations with a decrease in long term pledging. Truth is, Cooper is entering into this game 30 or 40 years later than other institutions so it is difficult commitment wise since many people already have obligations to other institutions. It is a cultural thing and needs to be cultivated. We need to be patient about donations and building a good base. Consultants are needed to provide data so that decisions can be quantitatively as well as qualitatively made.
Alumni Council Meeting was held. Co-chairs of the annual fund committee spoke. Good question asked. How much money will we have to raise in annual fund in order to be able to revert to full scholarship policy? Tom Driscoll calculated 8.6 M more than the 2.7 M budgeted for annual fund. These are in unrestricted cash gifts. Total 11.3M. This will be put dollar for dollar into incrementing scholarship fund- Increasing the scholarship across the board per year once funds are raised.
Huron Consultants- From Cal Tech- to advise on assumptions, economic forecasting. They work part-time. Robert Spenser to do the work of treasurer and will work with Trustee Finance Committee and Working Group. Cooper Union has suffered from not understanding its problem. Both Operational and Financial.
Question of maintaining Quality of Students entering the school. Consultants have been hired to admissions office. Recruiters also employed to seek out quality students at various schools. Dean Lipton confident quality of students can be maintained.
Do you recognize in the School of Art the quality and diversity of student body?---Yes
What school do the recruiters serve since Art school do not need them. Have they been representing the art school? Has the dean met them? ---Dean met them once in a luncheon and there will be more.
Art admissions committee does not need the service of the recruiters, why should funding that could go into art school be spent on recruiters.--- The recruiters can be instructed not to recruit for art school and funds will be redirected for other expenses to do with art school for instance. We can work on that.
Need Blind admissions. How can we ensure this policy is adhered to? Not many schools actually are need blind admissions even if they purport to being so. What would be the process? ---Admit need blind and then apply for additional aid after being accepted. This additional aid will be need-based. Tuition paid will help the neediest families. (there is no distinction made between domestic, international, race, etc.)
If tuition is meant to offset expenses’ the numbers do not add up. The increase in consultants, and inflated benefits for all new employees increases expenses both long term and short term on the institution while the deficit still stands. Right now, Cooper cannot meet its federal aid demand of students. Tuition will be eaten up by new expenses even before it can reach the neediest students. It doesn’t add up. ---It doesn’t add up quantitatively but based on data and expert advise it works in a model quantitatively. As with any economic model, things must first be tried and many unforeseen circumstances will have to then be addressed so that we can readjust the numbers.
Won’t we have to change the mission statement? How will this look to students who will begin application process soon? Since nothing will be decided, what if the working group comes up with something, we will have to change it again ---We will begin working on the statement change shortly. All students to be applying will be clearly told what expenses to expect when applying. It is better to expect to pay something and then to be told after that actually we will be giving you more scholarship as opposed to being told you will get full scholarship and then be told later that we actually can’t afford to do that.
Security Guards (one at Fisher house paid for by Cooper Union). Security will be looked at and reassessed for Foundation Building and NAB.
A request to invite Robert Spenser to make a report to Senate on current finances of Cooper Union voted on.
Question about Milton Glazer’s involvement with Cooper’s affairs since he is also chairman of BOT of SVA which is a competitor of Cooper Union. Did he attend Alumni meeting as an Alum or as Trustee
Emeritus(conflict of interest)? He was also involved in the petition against the occupiers ---Can’t speak for him but it was an open meeting for Alumni so assumed that he must have attended as an Alum. Glazer has been a great supporter of Cooper. “I for one am immensely proud to have him as an alumnus. As a council he has was on the board of trustees for a long time he has been a generous donor to the institution one of the most generous alumni donors to the institution. And a very, very brilliant and wise man. And I thinkWe should all be thankful and grateful to him for continuing to have this kind of dedication and love and interest and engagement in his alma matre.”Bharucha