Corruption probe at City College of New York points to decline of public higher education


Corruption probe at City College of New York points to decline of public higher education

Fred Mazelis

4 March 2107

A federal investigation into the former president of the City College of New York has expanded, according to a report last week in the New York Times .

Lisa Coico, the first graduate of the college to become its president, was forced to resign last October after reports suggesting possible misappropriation of funds, as well as an effort to cover up the irregularities with a memo that appeared to be fabricated.

Coico became president in 2010 and within a short time, there were allegations of improper activities in connection with the college’s non-profit fundraising arm, the 21st Century Foundation. The general counsel of the City University of New York (CUNY) ordered Coico to reimburse some $51,000 in expenses in such areas as housekeeping, food and furniture.

Last year’s probe of the relationship between the Foundation and Coico’s finances has now expanded to include the City College Fund, a smaller non-profit fundraising organization that was founded in 1946. It provides scholarships and financial aid to students and also organizes alumni reunions.

CUNY, the largest urban university system in the US, consists of two dozen institutions and enrolls some 270,000 degree-seeking students and a similar number in continuing education programs. City College, with about 15,000 students, is the flagship and historic symbol of the entire system. The CUNY system reflects the diverse character of the working class in the city, with roughly equal percentages of black, white, Hispanic and Asian students.

CUNY, which traces its origins back to 1847, was tuition-free until 1976. Forty years ago, City College students would have been dumbfounded at charges of…

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