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According to a secret transcript, members of Cooper Union’s board of trustees joked dismissively about student protesters; Jamshed Bharucha called the students’ demonstrations “performance art”; Stanley Lapidus expressed doubts that the pupils “know what they’re protesting.”
“Welcome to 1968,” trustee Mark Epstein quipped, adding, “Haven’t been tear-gassed in decades,” before dismissing the delegation of trustees for lunch.
More from the transcript—in which the board discusses closing Cooper Union down, screws early decision applicants, declares tenure as good as dead, and tries to avoid scrutiny from the state attorney general—on the Village Voice’s Runnin’ Scared blog.
What Cooper Union should do is, they should put ads in their classes. So, like, when a teacher is leading a class, they should stop every 15 minutes or so and show a 30-second video ad, for Coca-Cola or Google or PetSmart, and then say, ‘This class is brought to you by [insert advertiser’s name here].’ They could also change the name to, say, Ambien Cooper Union or FedEx Cooper Union, or just lose the Cooper part altogether. That guy’s legacy has no meaning to the Board anymore. Just FedEx Union. And sell ad space on the walls in the hallways.
You think I’m kidding. You only think that because no school has done it yet. But they will. Probably in Michigan first. It will be sold as ‘innovation’, and they’ll use the Google ad network, or the Facebook ad network, and WIRED will write it up as a great way to offset tuition increases. But here’s the thing: it won’t offset anything. Any revenue will just be used to increase the salaries of Board members, administrators, and athletics coaches. Movie tickets aren’t any cheaper now that they show ads before the movie. Football and Baseball tickets aren’t any cheaper after they sell the naming rights and plaster ads everywhere in the stadium. Education won’t be any cheaper, and its tuition increases won’t rise any slower just because schools start selling naming rights and placing ads in the common areas and in the curriculum. I predict.