Edifice Complex and the Decline of Cooper Union

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10 Responses

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    Without endorsing the plan, I want to push back on the implication that there’s something odious about having to pay $200 million in interest on a $175 million loan. That’s a perfectly reasonable amount of interest to pay on a thirty-year loan, especially when it’s backloaded like that. I think that’s about a 5% interest rate, which is not bad considering the fact that no other lenders wanted to touch it.

    Also, there are any number of schools that are essentially free for students of modest means, including several (all?) of the Ivies and a number of the nation’s other top schools. Need-based aid at those schools also covers living expenses, which I assume Cooper Union did not, given its $1200 per student per year aid budget. I guess its primary distinction was that students from well-off families got free tuition, too?Report

    • It’s an idiotic amount to take on when you don’t have the $375 million (in fact, not even $175 million), nor the cashflow to keep up the payments. It might have been almost not completely insane to do a one-time big fundraising effort and use that money to build, but locking the college into a long-term payment plan was criminally irresponsible. And earned the usual penalties: it’s just that when the rich and powerful do it, other people pay them.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    You would think blatant lying on a petition to the AGs office would result in a perjury charge, or something? I mean hell, the FBI can mess me up if I told them I went to McDonalds for lunch on Tuesday, when it was actually Wednesday.Report

  3. Cooper Union is where my father’s chemical engineering degree came from; it was the Depression, and he wouldn’t have been able to attend anyplace that charged tuition or was too far away that he couldn’t live at home in Brooklyn.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    A big problem is that you get credit for doing things in our culture. Nobody gets credit for being a stable administrator that maintained the machinery and kept things going. For liberal and moderate politicians and non-political leaders and administrators, credit goes for building shiny new things and projects. For conservative politicians, you get kudos for changing the tax or regulatory code in ways that are seen as benefiting capitalism. To get rid of the edifice complex, there needs to be a system where a politician or administrator can at least get some credit from keeping things in good working order and not messing with something.Report

  5. Will Truman says:

    It’s very unfortunate. I liked that there was a place like Cooper Union was.Report

  6. notme says:

    I answered this question in the last edifice thread when i said it would continue to happen as long as humans are human. Why do we keep revisiting this topic? Does anyone think the answer will change?Report