A group of 11 students barricaded themselves in the Peter Cooper Suite, a room on the eighth floor of the Cooper Union, at noon today. The New York college, which has programs in art, architecture and engineering, has been embroiled in controversy over the institution of tuition fees after 100-plus years of full scholarships for all.

The students say they will remain until their demands are met. They are calling for president Jamshed Bharucha to step down. They also demand that the school affirm its commitment to free education and more democratic decision-making processes.

"This action is in response to the lack of transparency and accountability that has plagued this institution for decades and now threatens the college's mission of free education," says a statement by the students at the website cusos.org.

"We are prepared to stay until we see change or until we are otherwise removed," said Victoria Sobel, a student organizer, speaking to A.i.A. by phone.