With the recent charging of George Zimmerman for the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin plastered across national headlines, personal responsibility and justice are top-of-mind.
It may be just these issues that drew several hundred New Yorkers through the Italianate brownstone arches of The Cooper Union Wednesday evening for a lecture by Dr. Michael Gazzaniga: Who’s In Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain.
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"I once saw him make a bowl of Kryptonite out of a piece of tinfoil," artist Julian Schnabel said. "He also sang the best version of Chrissie Hynde’s 'I’ll Stand By You’ that I’ve ever heard. I honestly think he’s one of the smartest, most talented young men I’ve met in a long time."
"As I have sought to learn about the history of Cooper Union," said school president Jamshed Bharucha, who was appointed president of the school in July, "there has not been a sustainable budget or financial model for at least forty years, and probably going back further."
Bharucha described a $20 million per annum shortfall. The school is expected to decide in the spring how to best get back on firm financial footing.
Fueling this fight are fundamental differences of belief among students, alumni, board members and faculty at the Cooper Union about the significance of its free education to its mission. Bharucha has described it as "a feature"; school administrators talk in terms of access. But others see the free-for-all mantra as the very reason for Cooper Union's existence.(5)