Talk About Pie in the Sky: Cooper Lock-Ins Get Floating Pizza Delivery [Updated]

The lock-in is being livestreamed here.
IMG_5797Alexa Mae Asperin At today’s press conference.

If you were wondering how the students who seized the eighth floor of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building were going to get hot meals, here’s your answer: this afternoon, supporters delivered pizza to them by stringing it up with dozens of balloons.

According to Joe Riley, a junior in the art school who is one of the twelve currently barricaded inside, the Two Boots pizza (fancier than his usual fare) was sent up by the Bruce High Quality Foundation, an artist group made up of Cooper Union alums. “The pizza delivery today was really just a show of a support,” he said. “We didn’t really need it. We came in here with plenty of food.”

Nevertheless, the students were happy to snag it. “They just made the catch,” said Tyler Paige, another occupier.

The delivery, photos of which appeared on Twitter, came shortly after a press conference in which senior art students Rachel Appel and Audrey Snyder, speaking on behalf of the occupiers outside of the building, said tuition would be “the end” of the art school.

Rachel AppelRachel Appel

“The administration is placing an emphasis on profitability rather than quality education,” said Ms. Snyder, later adding, “Students cannot afford the rising costs of education that is required to make a livable wage. This is an endless cycle of debt, burden and lack of equal opportunity.”

“We’re not fighting for ourselves,” said Ms. Appel. “We’re fighting for people who have not yet come to Cooper and want them to have the same experiences we had.”

According to Ms. Appel, the Cooper Union administration has made a formal statement to her asking the occupiers to leave, but the students won’t do so until their demands are met.

Mr. Riley told The Local that he learned after the press conference that Jolene Travis, Cooper Union’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs and Media Relations, had been passing out flyers outlining a brief university response. The students are currently hashing out a reply.

Occupiers looking down from 8th floorAlexa Mae Asperin Occupiers look down from 8th floor.

At the end of the press event, students, faculty and other supporters chanted “Free as air and water” as they looked up to the twelve occupiers.

As the standoff enters its second night, Mr. Riley said he and his colleagues are making themselves at home. “It’s kind of like sleeping on somebody’s couch or floor or something,” he said. “It’s been a little chilly at night, but we have a lot of sleeping bags and blankets and stuff like that, so we’re pretty well equipped.”

Update | 12:14 a.m. Mr. Paige has now sent a photo of the “Press Statement from The Cooper Union” that was distributed at the press conference. As seen below, it states that “the eleven art students who have locked themselves in the Peter Cooper Suite do not reflect the views of a student population of approximately 1,000 architects, artists and engineers,” and notes that the school’s president has “held informal meetings with various groups of students on campus throughout the morning,” in addition to about 80 previous community meetings.

In a response, Students for a Free Cooper Union have accused the administration of displaying “repeated incivility,” calling the press release a “willful attempt to undermine civil dialogue by suggesting that discourse exists at all. While we maintain a stance of non-negotiation, it is reproachful and unprofessional that President Bharucha has not directly addressed us.” The entire statement can be read below.