Syracuse Graduation Readies for Fireworks

With the embattled JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon speaking at commencement, Syracuse students plan to protest.

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There was a big stink about the speaker for Syracuse University and SUNY—Environmental Science and Forestry's commencement this weekend. Not because he's some politician or anything like that; it's more about what he represents. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, one of the many embattled bank executives on Wall Street, is the speaker. Needless to say some students aren't too happy with that choice. After protests and other moves failed to convince the schools to pick a new commencement speaker, those opposed to Dimon speaking will take a new approach: taking off their robes.

The members of the Take Back Commencement movement will be removing their graduation robes when Dimon speaks, the Daily Orange reports. According to the Daily Orange, the laundry list of complaints against Dimon includes the process by which he was chosen to speak, dissatisfaction with the banking industry, and what some students see as the "corporatization" of Syracuse. The company has significantly invested in campus facilities at the school.

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One of the leaders of the Take Back Commencement movement, Mariel Fiedler, argues that the commencement speaker is supposed to inspire graduating seniors, something she doesn't see a Wall Street exec doing very well. In fact, Dimon and Fiedler recently spoke about their differences over the phone.

"He said to me, 'I hope you don't disagree with my right to speak,' and I just said, 'I support 100 percent that you have a First Amendment right to speak, but that's not the issue here. But there is something essentially different about giving a speech at commencement,'" Fiedler says.

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