Commencement speakers at college graduations remain a hot-button issue in 2010, and some of the controversial selections this year relate to what's making the whole country angry, and that's the struggling economy and the much-antagonized banking industry.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, was named Syracuse University's 2010 graduation commencement speaker in March. Ever since then, pockets of students have staged protests against the selection, led by the Take Back Commencement Group, building tension between the student body and the school administration, ran by Chancellor Nancy Cantor.
The protests get the most attention from the media, like Fox News, but there's a good portion of campus that feels very divided and even supportive of the selection. Most students who are against the selection believe it means the university is getting too close to a corporation, and that the school's decision is basically a political way of saying "thank you" to Dimon for donating roughly $30 million.
Leader of the Take Back Commencement group, Ashley Owen, is mostly displeased by the fact that the selection process didn't include the voice of the entire senior class.
"When Jamie Dimon was announced as the commencement speaker, I was unhappy with it for a number of reasons," Owen said. "First of all, I felt like the majority of the senior class was left out of the discussion."
Supporters of the Dimon pick believe he can offer valuable advice for a recovering economy and that he offers great leadership advice, and the rest of campus is either apathetic or doesn't even know who he is.
Dhaval Parikh, a mathematics and finance major, loved the selection because he felt like it re-enforced a strong bond between JP Morgan and the school that helps a lot of SU students get jobs at the company.
"As far as I know, there are a lot of kids getting hired by JPMorgan on Syracuse campus," Parikh said. "I feel like JPMorgan and Syracuse University has this great relationship and by inviting Jamie Dimon, we're strengthening the bones of this relationship which should be really important to the students in the future."
Check out the video to see the mixed reactions:
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