Occupy Invades Another B-School

by John A. Byrne on

The Occupy Movement's protest at the Kelley School last night forced J.P. Morgan Chase to cancel a career event. Photo from the Indiana Daily Student

The Occupy Movement invaded a second major business school last night (Nov. 29), breaking into Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Drawn to the school by a J.P. Morgan Career visit, the protesters blocked a door, sat cross-legged on the floor with their arms linked, and refused to leave.

“J.P. Morgan,” protesters shouted, “feel free to leave. Not on our campus!”

The demonstration successfully shut down the presentation by Morgan’s private bank and asset management divisions. “JPMorgan-Chase was among the major financial institutions that caused the 2008 financial collapse with its criminally greedy, fraudulent lending practices,” claimed protester and Indiana student Nick Greven in a prepared statement (see video of the disturbance below).

Last month,the Wharton School’s Huntsman Hall was invaded by some 100 Occupy Wall Street protesters. The Oct. 21 demonstration led House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to cancel his Wharton Leadership Lecture hours before it was to occur. It also led to back-and-forth taunting between undergraduate Wharton students and the protestors.

At Indiana, little more than 40 protesters blocked the door to a room in the graduate and executive education center where officials from J.P. Morgan were recruiting business students. J.P. Morgan is a major MBA recruiter. A recent analysis of top recruiting companies found that the investment banking firm hired 103 MBA interns from just 12 schools last year and 54 graduating MBAs from just ten top schools.

After being tossed out of the building, the protesters issued a statement to the media suggesting that more demonstrations were likely. “This action is an important local step in the progression of the Occupy movement and will be a visible discussion topic in the upcoming weeks,” according to the statement.

Police arrived minutes after the protest began and warned protesters that they needed to exit the doorway or they would be arrested. Most of the protesters moved to the hallway but several of them remained seated in front of the door despite the requests of the police.

Police eventually cleared the protesters from the building after a issuing a final warning that those who remained inside the building would be arrested.

According to the public radio account, students who were in the Kelley School during the protest appeared largely unsupportive, calling it “frustrating” and unnecessary. The campus newspaper quoted one undergraduate at Kelley who had tried to attend the J.P. Morgan presentation.

Paul Gillette, who identified himself as a sophomore who hopes to land a job in investment banking after graduating, expressed disappointment that he was unable to attend the event.

Gillette, who told the newspaper he disagrees with the Occupy movement, said he thinks the protesters are trying to take away the essential component of the American Dream.

“I was very disappointed that the event was cancelled,” Gillette told the Indiana Daily Student newspaper. “JPMorgan and other banks that make the trip from New York to Bloomington invest a lot of time, money and other resources recruiting the incredible talent that the Kelley school has to offer. What the protesters don’t realize is that they ruined the presentation for all of the hard-working students attending the event.

“With Thanksgiving just last week, it’s really important to remember how much opportunity there is in America to be thankful for. There are no limitations in this country preventing any one of us from chasing our dream.”

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  • http://www.gerirosmanpr.com Geri Rosman

    Thank you for covering/sharing this. Disappointed to see this happen at my alma mater. (Though I was a Journalism major at IU/B.) I feel badly for the J.P. Morgan representative who made the trip and for the students who didn’t get the opportunity. Shameful.

  • Jose Quiles

    JPMorgan Chase is the same company that outsourced
    jobs to India while laying off many workers in Florida just
    before the holiday season began. That is truly unpatriotic of them.

  • James

    I think it’s shame that any group of students would use their freedom of speech to selfishly deprive their fellow students of the opportunity to network with potential employers (this includes military recruiters). Such actions are particularly self-defeating in this difficult job market which the protesters are so quick to point to as a symptom of “Wall Street’s” unbridled greed and selfishness. Who’s selfish now, geniuses? Congratulations on your brave contribution to the situation.

  • Rob

    What don’t these people understand about the concept of private property?

  • Dave

    This question is for Jose. What types of jobs and how many did JP Morgan outsource to India? How long have subsequent Indian operations been active and how has that helped the company? Same questions for the employees in Florida.

    Could you post a link to the sources of your information?

    Thanks.

  • ASDF

    Rob, I’m pretty sure IU buildings are owned by the state given that it’s a public university…

  • 1%er for the 99%

    Wow, really you are upset with the protesters? “Boo hoo, I missed a chance to talk about my future six-figure salary” You can’t understand that these people are upset because this company, JPMorgan, was a huge part of a system that almost (and may yet), tore down our entire way of life?

    I can tell you that when the average person sees stories like this it’s not the soon to be IB, MBA candidates that they feel sorry for (and let’s be honest–JP isn’t going to hire a smaller number of them because of this protest–if anything, the smart ones will be able to spin this into getting a job).

    This is why the rest of the country (and the world to be honest) is so upset with those of us in Finance/with MBAs. As a group we need to step back out of the little wealth bubble we have created for ourselves and understand what other people are going through. And we need think about what our priorities are–what are we contributing to our country and to humanity.

    Shameful

  • MBA Aspirant 2012

    Whoa! the video looks intense.

  • Carl

    I want to echo what was said a few comments above me.

    MBA, IB, Wall Street aspirants should be cautious to angrily lash out against protestors like these. I’m not saying they’re right in their means or even their cause, but the massive amounts of anger that has been directed towards the financial system of the U.S. has to come from somewhere.

    What we need least now is to adopt an elitist attitude that dismisses the protestors as nothing more than hippies and lazy idealists. Instead, let’s take time to judge the ways in which the protestors may be right in their claims, and in what ways they’re wrong.

    A thorough and level-headed analysis and discussion is much more meaningful and productive than bitter name-calling.

    Empathy, not antipathy.

  • backliteyes

    Not shown in the video: JP Morgan scheduling to come back in a month or two when everyone’s forgotten about this. Or (unfortunately for Kelley) planning to hire more at another school where the reception is warmer. In the end, I doubt they’ll have any effect on JP Morgan.

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