Community Rights, Protections, and Resources

Cooper Statue

The Cooper Union was founded on the fundamental belief that an education “equal to the best" should be accessible to all members of society without regard to gender, race, religion, or economic status. It is that founding mission and commitment to diversity and inclusion that make Cooper the community it is today.

A diverse community brings perspectives, approaches, and experiences that can challenge embedded worldviews and enrich social and intellectual life. Different viewpoints, voices, and experiences are essential to questioning the status quo of a learning environment. Cooper's commitment to inclusive pedagogy and curricula aims at fostering engagement, collaboration, shared understanding, and common purpose.  



It is hoped that minor differences can be resolved without requiring a formal complaint process. Nonetheless, there are situations where a formal process is needed to settle disputes through reasoned discussion and mediation. This process does not supplant formal processes associated with student conduct issues; administrative or academic processes and rules; or provisions of collective bargaining agreements. In addressing student complaints, we strive to respect the concerns of the complainant, respondent, and any other parties involved, while fully addressing the underlying events leading to the complaint.


The Office of Student Affairs is a starting point for any student seeking information and guidance related to discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. 

Below are additional resources on these topics.

Office of Civil Rights Resources


New York Resources




  • Equal Opportunity Officer
    Natalie Brooks, Chief Talent Officer
    Office: 30 Cooper Square, 
    7th Floor, New York, NY 10003
    Phone: (212) 353-4156
  • Title IX Coordinator
    Grace Kendall, Associate Dean of Students
    Office: 29 3rd Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003
    Phone: (212) 353-4053
  • Student Medical & Disability Support
    Alex Fischer, Director of Student Care and Support
    Office: 29 3rd Avenue, 
    3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003
    Phone: (212) 353-4130


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the landmark legislation prohibiting discrimination in several areas including housing, employment, and education. The sections of the Act relating to education are Title IV, which authorizes the Attorney General to address certain equal protection violations based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion in public schools and institutions of higher education; Title VI, prohibiting discrimination by recipients of federal funds on the basis of race, color, and national origin; and Title IX, permitting the United States to intervene in pending suits alleging discrimination. Additionally, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 prohibits, among other conduct, deliberate segregation on the basis of race, color, and national origin.

Federal Civil Rights laws include:

  • Discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin is prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited by 
    Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
  • Discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Discrimination on the basis of age is prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.
  • The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report campus crime data, support victims of violence, and publicly outline the policies and procedures they have put into place to improve campus safety.

These civil rights laws are enforced by OCR and “extend to all state education agencies, elementary and secondary school systems, colleges and universities, vocational schools, proprietary schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, libraries, and museums that receive U.S. Department of Education funds.

Higher Education Areas covered by Title VI may include, but are not limited to: admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housing, and employment.

A school, college, or university violates Title VI when:

  • harassing conduct on the basis of race, color, or national origin is sufficiently serious as to limit or deny a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program, i.e., creates a hostile environment;
  • a responsible employee of the school knew, or should have known, about the harassment; and
  • the school failed to take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent the harassment from recurring, and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.  

Title VI’s protection from race, color, and national origin discrimination extends to students who experience discrimination, including harassment, based on their actual or perceived: (i) shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics; or (ii) citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity. Federal civil rights laws which are enforced by other federal agencies also prohibit religious discrimination in schools, colleges, and universities. Religious discrimination by public schools and colleges is addressed by the U.S. Department of Justice. A student with a complaint about religious discrimination should contact the Office of Justice Programs.

Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX, Title VI, Section 504, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination Act may also be directed to:

  • U.S. Department of Education
    Office for Civil Rights
    New York—Region II
    32 Old Slip, 26th Floor
    New York, NY 10005
  • Telephone: (646) 428-3800


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.