How Cooper Union’s president and trustees nearly killed it
By Felix Salmon
The best piece of in-depth investigative reporting you’re likely to read this week comes not from any journalist, but rather from the office of Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general. His 55-page reportinto what went wrong at Cooper Union should be required, and sobering, reading for anybody who cares about higher education in America.
The story here is narrowly about Cooper Union, and the way in which two presidents – George Campbell first, then Jamshed Bharucha – managed to bring a great institution to its knees, destroying its most precious and unique principle. More broadly, the report is an indictment of otiose trustees, egotistical technocrats, and a culture where university administrators gone wild can effectively railroad allstakeholders, including students, faculty, alumni, and even the attorney general’s office.