WHO RULES COOPER UNION?—Part 7: A Look at Cooper Union’s Bristol-Myers Squibb and Vassar College-Yale University/Bain Capital Connections
(A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of the Lower East Side underground/alternative newspaper, “The Shadow”)
The Cooper Union Administration’s recent rationalization for abandoning its free tuition policy and establishing a tuition of nearly $20,000 for future Cooper Union students is its claim that the tax-exempt, “non-profit” college can no longer afford to provide free tuition. Yet MITRE and Con Ed Director and former Cooper Union President Campbell is not the only administrator or professor at Cooper Union whose annual total compensation exceeds that of most people who work in New York City these days. According to the Cooper Union Administration’s most recent Form 990 financial filing, for working 35 hours a week between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, the following “non-profit” Cooper Union administrators and professors, for example, received the following total annual compensation packages from the Cooper Union board of trustees:
1. Cooper Union School of Architecture Dean Anthony Vidley was given a total compensation package of $327,333;
2. Cooper Union Vice-President of Development Derek Wittner was given a total compensation package of $300,858;
3. Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha was given a total compensation package of $387,079 and “was provided with housing as a condition of employment;”
4. Cooper Union Vice-President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Theresa Westcott was given a total compensation package of $296,238;
5. Cooper Union School of Art Dean Judith Saskia Bos was given a total compensation package of $250,516;
6. Cooper Union Professor of Engineering Simon Ben Avi was given a total compensation package of $235,424;
7. Cooper Union Dean of Humanities and Social Science William Germano was given a total compensation package of $249,084;
8. Cooper Union Professor of Civil Engineering Jameel Ahmad was given a total compensation package of $195,389;
9. Cooper Union Secretary to the Board of Trustees Lawrence Cacciatore was given a total compensation package of $153,131; and
10. Cooper Union Dean of the Engineering School Eleanor Baum was paid $110,850.
And according to its most recent Form 990 financial filing, between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, the book value of the “non-profit” Cooper Union’s endowment funds increased from over $609 million to over $640 million (and is currently estimated to exceed $666 million), the value of Cooper Union’s net assets increased from $576,032,253 to $576,235,352 and Cooper Union’s annual investment income from stock dividends and interest was over $35.5 million. Only 115 other U.S. universities or colleges have endowments whose market value exceeds that of Cooper Union; and the current market value of Cooper Union’s endowment is still greater than the current market value of the endowments of schools like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Pratt Institute, The New School, Fordham University, St. John’s University, Wagner College, Sarah Lawrence College, Reed College, Marquette University, Holy Cross, Bucknell University, Mount Holyoke College, Northeastern University, Occidental College and Howard University.
Over $29 million of the book value of tax-exempt Cooper Union’s investments represents its Hedge Funds holdings, over $39 million represented its Limited Partnership holdings and over $557 million represents its real estate investment property. As Cooper Union Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Epstein noted in a May 14, 2013 letter to the editor that appeared in the May 17, 2013 issue of the "NewYork Times":“We `own’ the Chrysler Building subject to a long-term ground lease…Retaining our Chrysler holdings provides an outstanding revenue stream…Revenue of $28 million a year, rising to as much as $55 million in 2018.” And according to Doug Turetsky’s February 12, 2013 post on the "Independent Business Organization" [IBO]blog, New York City's Finance Department estimates that the current market value of the Chrysler Building real estate of Cooper Union is over $448 billion.
(end of part 7)