December 2013 Board Report
To: Members of the Cooper Union Community
From: The Cooper Union Board of Trustees
Below is a summary of the actions taken by the Board of Trustees Meeting at its December 11, 2013 meeting:
Election of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees unanimously elected Richard Lincer Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Lincer is a Partner with the firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York. He is the son of a Cooper alumnus (CE ’42) and has been a trustee for nine years.
Mr. Francois deMenil was elected Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.
In acknowledgement of Mark Epstein’s leadership of the Board over the past four years, the trustees passed a resolution electing him Chairman Emeritus.
Student Representative to the Board
The Board of Trustees appointed and welcomed Devora Najjar as Student Representative to the Board of Trustees. Devora is the first student to hold such a position. In her acceptance comments, Devora expressed her gratitude to the Board on behalf of the student body and communicated her commitment to bringing the varying student perspectives to provide additional input to the Board in its decision making. The Board, in turn, expressed great satisfaction with her appointment.
Election of Trustees
The following individuals were unanimously elected to the Board:
Jeffrey S. Hersch (EE’87)
Eric Hirschhorn (ME’89)
Malcolm Marcus King (EE’97)
The Board also welcomed Kevin Slavin (A’95) as Alumnus Trustee.
Review and Issuance of the 2013 Audited Financial Statements
The Audit Committee conducted its annual review of the draft 2013 Audited Financial Statements prepared by KPMG. The trustees reviewed and accepted the draft Audited Financial Statements, which will be formally issued by the auditors in the coming weeks and will be available on the Audited Financial Statements page of the Cooper Union website before the end of the calendar year.
Mr. Borkowsky provided introductory comments about the Working Group Report (3.36MB*) that had been circulated to the Board of Trustees Executive Committee and the Finance Committee one week prior. It was presented to the full Board of Trustees for the first time at the December 11th Board meeting by the following members of the Working Group who had chaired the subgroups that had focused on the various aspects of the report:
Professor Benjamin Davis, Engineering Faculty Representative
Professor Diane Lewis, Architecture Faculty Representative
Robert Tan, Alumni Representative
Lawrence Mesich, Staff Representative
Barry Drogin, Alumni Representative
The presenters also responded to questions from the trustees throughout the presentation. Following the presentation the trustees thanked the members of the Working Group for their efforts and for the thought and care that went into the report.
After the presentation, the board proceeded to an extended discussion of the report. It was the consensus the Board that more time will be required to give the proposals contained in the report the serious and rigorous review and analysis that they warrant. The Board will undertake this review over the course of the next month and plans to meet again in mid-January to discuss the findings and determine whether, in its assessment, the plan proposed by the Working Group in fact presents a sustainable alternative to tuition.
Code of Conduct Revisions
Mr. Lincer and Dean Steven Baker led a brief discussion concerning the proposed revisions to the Student Code of Conduct that had been initiated by the Executive Committee and the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Board. Ms. Najjar reiterated concerns that had been previously expressed by the students concerning the process by which the revisions were developed and presented for consideration by the members of the Cooper Union community. While it was noted that the Student Code of Conduct will nonetheless require updating to, among other things, take account of current legal realities applicable to the Cooper Union, it was agreed that Dean Baker and Associate Dean of Student Affairs Chris Chamberlin would undertake a consultative process with the Joint Student Council after the winter break to develop appropriate revisions that they can recommend to the Board of Trustees for consideration.