Coronavirus & the Residence Hall Update -- March 18

Following up on the earlier notice from President Sparks, I am writing today to update you on the status of residence hall operations at The Cooper Union. Our goal has been to continue to operate our residence hall as we normally would for as long as we safely can. As the situation related to COVID-19 in NYC and across the world continues to evolve, we have continued to revisit our approach as the city releases new directives.

The NYC Mayor recently announced that he is considering a shelter-in-place order for NYC within the next 48 hours. This order would restrict movement within NYC to essential travel. Individuals would largely need to remain in their apartments.

We know this is a place you call home and we’re here to support you. With this evolving situation, we know that many students would be more comfortable relocating and we will support you through that process. We will continue to be here to support students who want and need to remain in the residence hall, but we encourage all students who want to leave to take action now. If you want to move out, now is the time to do it as the city’s decisions may impact your ability to do it later.

We are fortunate to have a residence hall that is structured like a traditional apartment building and not a traditional dormitory. Our structure allows us to continue providing options for independent living and social distancing for students who want or need to remain.

Students who remain do so with the understanding that their health is their responsibility and they commit to following any/all governmental directives and the practices recommended by the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and guidance The Cooper Union may provide from time to time.

In order to manage the residence hall going forward, all residential students must complete this Spring 2020 Housing Form by no later than 5:00pm, Thursday, March 19, so that we can confirm who is staying, who is leaving, and the support resources we will need to have in place to assist you.

This form will allow you to select from four options:

  1. Student has already vacated the residence hall and removed all belongings.
  2. Student can and will vacate the residence hall and remove all belongings by no later than 5pm on Sunday, March 29, 2020. We don’t know whether / when the city may impose limits on travel, so we encourage residents to come and get their belongings as soon as they are able. If you are unable, please see the next option (3) below.
  3. Student is planning to vacate the residence hall, but is unable to remove all belongings by Sunday, March 29, 2020. Students who select this option will be contacted by staff in Residential Education and Housing to schedule a day and time to retrieve their belongings when we are able to do so. Students who do not pick up their belongings may have the entire content of their apartment packed by Building and Grounds and placed in storage until we can coordinate with students to retrieve their belongings.
  4. Student needs to remain in the residence hall. Students who select this option will likely be relocated within the building to a different living space. We will be reassigning students in an effort to balance social distancing requirements while also keeping residents in proximity to help combat isolation. Students will likely be housed in an apartment with another student. Our goal is to keep students in separate bedrooms.

Students who vacate the residence hall will receive a prorated refund of housing costs. The details of refunds and the refund process are still being finalized and will be provided in the near future.

Residential students will receive additional communication directly from the Office of Residential Education and Housing.

We hope these options are helpful to you during a time that is otherwise uncertain. If you have any questions, please reach out to Ryan Gambino, Director of Residential Education and Housing, at

Be well.

Chris Chamberlin
Dean of Students

  • 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.