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The Free University of NYC Stands in Solidarity with The Students for a Free Cooper Union

We, The Free University of NYC, openly support the Cooper Union student occupation. We believe that Cooper Union and all education should be free!

We recognize the occupation of the Peter Cooper Suite by The Students for a Free Cooper Union as a vital effort to defend access to a free education for future generations. Their occupation serves as an inspirational, positive, and productive example of resistance in the broader struggle for access to education in NYC and around the world.

We see clear connections between the struggles that students at Cooper Union face and those of students across New York City and students struggling everywhere.  The lines between private and public education in this city have separated us for too long. We will not be divided by institutions, claims to prestige, or profit margins. Public schools are becoming clandestinely privatized, while private schools are increasingly run and financed by our collective student debt. Our grievances are connected and our struggle is necessarily collective.

We know that access to education is our path to empowerment, agency, and success.  We continue to fight for the opportunities to affect change in our communities and we believe that accessible education for all New Yorkers is an important step to achieving a more equal and just society.

We stand with the students of Cooper Union as they pressure their administration to recognize and respect the mission of the Cooper Union and hold them accountable to honor the history of their institution and the founding vision of Peter Cooper.

We also see the occupation of university spaces as a legitimate recourse for students to express their discontent over the existing governance structures in their universities. For too long students have been purposefully excluded from decisions that affect their future and the future of their universities. Students and faculty should have more control over their institutions. Students should not be treated as passive consumers of educational commodities; faculty should not feel compelled to act as dutiful enforcers of policy they do not write.  Both students and faculty should be recognized as powerful and active members of educational communities, which they build with their own voices. The Cooper Union Student Occupation is a powerful expression of this demand for respect and a demonstration of student power.

The Cooper Union Student Occupation is an inspiration for students and educators across the greater New York City region who are struggling on their respective campuses against austerity measures, against the privatization and corporatization of the University, and against the commodification of learning.

In fierce solidarity,
-The Free University of NYC
December 5th 2012