Four Floors Below Cooper Union Occupiers, a Solidarity Sleepover

Cooper Freshmen (2)Courtesy of Lina McGinn

While eleven Cooper Union students, along with another from the New School, occupied the eighth floor of the art school’s Foundation Building last night, a group of first-year students banded together and camped out on the fourth floor to protest the possibility of undergraduate tuition.

“In a mass, we thought we could basically sleep there overnight without locking ourselves in but still resist requests for us to leave,” said Lina McGinn, who organized the group.

Around midnight, about 20 students armed with sleeping bags entered the studio space four floors below their colleagues. Because the studio closes at 2 a.m., they were asked by security to vacate the premises but refused.

“They went back downstairs and basically just sat outside the door the rest of the night,” Ms. McGinn said of the security guards. “They didn’t call the cops.”

Cooper Protest TuesdayAlexa Mae Asperin A demonstration today.

The students left early this morning and hope to continue sleeping in the studio tonight. It’s uncertain what will happen on Thursday, when the space opens around-the-clock to all students, in conjunction with finals week. For now, the group is “brainstorming actions” and “playing it by ear” in hopes of potentially finding a new space where they can continue their support.

“If they were to charge tuition, the school would completely change and go against what it was founded on,” Ms. McGinn said. “There would be a different dynamic.”

Update | 2:45 p.m. The students on the eighth floor have sent photos from last night’s sleep-in.