April 14th, 2010
06:32 PM ET

Students protest JPMorgan CEO as speaker

Students from the 2010 graduating class of Syracuse University are protesting the school's decision to have JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon speak at this year's commencement because of his company's role in the financial crisis.

More than 900 Syracuse seniors have signed an online petition titled "Take Back 2010 Syracuse University Commencement," which states that the signers do not want "to restore the public image of the banking industry."

Matt Sheehan, a student signer of the petition, wrote next to his signature: "This is a slap in the face to us students. As we enter the work world in this economy, it is an insult to have as a speaker one who bears the responsibility of why we will struggle to gain employment." JPMorgan Chase declined to comment on the petition.

Dimon is still scheduled to speak at the May 15 ceremony. In a letter posted on the school's Web site, Chancellor Nancy Cantor responded to the outcry. "It is rare that a university is able to bring a speaker with a bird's-eye view of, and extensive on-the-ground experience with, a major global challenge, and that was in the forefront of my mind as I made my selection this year."

According to a Syracuse University spokesperson, Cantor was given a list of possible speakers from a student selection committee and Dimon was a top pick on that list.

JPMorgan Chase received $25 billion in federal bailout money in 2009, which it has since repaid.

- CNN's Nicole Bliman contributed to this report.

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. John

    Sounds like they're learning about how fundamentally hypocritical our world is a little late..isn't Syracuse a pretty good school?

    April 14, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ace

    I, for one, am getting a bit tired of these brilliant college students protesting every speaker that comes through for commencement ceremonies or other important events. Can't we agree that there are many different points of view and that it is impossible for a campus of almost 20k students to completely align? If those students who feel that the banking industry is the most to blame for where we are get their way and invite, for example, Barney Frank, you would have many complain that he was a primary player in this debacle, as well.
    Just round out your education with some opposing views, learn to think critically, be reasonably respectable towards those who visit your campus, and grow up a bit.

    April 14, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jonathan

    JP Morgan did not make suprime loans, nor did they buy or sell SIVs made up of subprime mortgages. As a result, they never lost money in any quarter, and were able to help out the government by taking over Bear Sterns and Washington Mutual.

    There is no doubt that they are a business that is out to make money, and there will always be complaints about some aspect of their business. But if all banks had followed the example of JPMorgan, and of Wells Fargo and USBank, we would be in much better shape.

    April 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. J

    They don't know why they're protesting him. He actually helped to steer JPM away from being impacted and also did take actions to help trying to stabilize the economy.

    JPM never needed the bailout $ and one of the more stable banks.

    April 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Trisha

    JP Morgan Chase did in fact buy packages of loans that contained sub-prime loans, not aware of that at the time, mine was one of them. They have made the big bucks off people like me trying to put a kid through college and take care of a dying husband. Raising my credit card rate to 34%, raising bank fees, raising my home loan rate from 6.25% to 9.99%, and after a ton of paperwork offered a loan modification to 9.275. That would have increased my payment by over $800 per month. Glad they were able to come out of all of this clean, NOT! CEO should not have a job, let alone be a mentor to college grads. I don't need a tax refrund, I need a CHASE refund.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dustin

    My hat is off to the Syracuse students! Jamie Dimon may have taken actions to steer his bank away from some of the "dirty banking" that went on, but JPM still received bailout money. The students whose families have lost jobs, drained their bank accounts, and wonder how they will pay their child's loans back have to listen to a man whose gains came at their expense! He may be an intelligent businessman who tried to help stabilize the economy, but he personally represents the wealth (in billions) that the audience (American people) no longer have. The symbolism is obscene and obvious. His personal and professional gains came at their expense.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Karen

    They should welcome the President of JPMorgan Chase. Banking will be involved with a very large percent of this graduating class. They should learn now how to appreciate such a well run bank! I am sure Jamie Dimon will give an inspirational speech that they can learn from. I didn' t have any home loans from CHASE, but they were there for us when we needed a large sum of money that we used towards the construction of our new home. They approved our ADVANCE when it was very difficult to get money from any bank or credit card. They gave us the money within one hour, too, when we were in dire need! Also, they lowered our interest rate upon request and removed special fees. They have an excellent customer service department. We appreciate that they were there for us, when barely any banks were. Because of this, I will always – and will recommend others – do business with CHASE!

    April 16, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jennifer Caporin

    To all Syracuse University students protesting the commencement speaker from J.P.MorganChase:

    I hope that you do what you do with pride and integrity in your beliefs. It would be a loud and strong voice for this community and the United States. It is time that everyone should see that our young future leaders are not left wing sheep, but intelligent, thinking adults that will do the right thing to make a positive difference in our world. Do it with respect and peace. Do it knowing that we are all counting on you to bring truth and honesty back to the land that we love.

    With the utmost respect;

    Jennifer Caporin – Syracuse

    May 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Josh

    I would love to see how many Syracuse students (not finance majors of course, because I GUARANTEE the finance majors are embarrassed by this protest) know the basics of financial accounting. I'm sure it's a small number. And I'm sure none of them have ever even seen a 10K before, especially that of JPM. I find it interesting to see so many people feel so passionate with regard to what they know little to nothing about.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |