The Occupy Wall Street movement has been crucially related to American higher education, but pundits talk about the relationship mostly in terms of education debt. Now many students are taking the protest right to their campuses, when financial companies come there to recruit for new positions.
According to an article by Allie Grasgreen at Inside Higher Ed:
Most students involved in the Occupy movement can’t just pick up and leave for Wall Street. So some at elite colleges have been letting Wall Street come to them. Taking advantage of their special access to investment banking firms such as JP Morgan-Chase and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which have long sought employees from those campuses (and been eagerly received), Ivy League students crashed a handful of December recruiting sessions, leading the firms to cancel other scheduled visits, and making for some seriously awkward first impressions.
Unsurprisingly, the incidents got a lot of attention on campuses – even when the job market isn’t dismal, finance recruitment sessions are major networking opportunities for elite students. The tactic also marked a shift, however small, for the college Occupy movement, which up to this point had primarily targeted either their institutions or Wall Street as a whole.
While this tactic has roots, as the article points out, in the protests of the Vietnam War era, it’s perhaps a rather indirect attempt. College students may have a legitimate problem with the policies and practices of America’s banks and financial institutions, but it’s not the recruiters who determine such policies, or have any power to alter them.
Here’s one iteration of the Occupy the Recruiting Session tactic:
(Note that the “we are the 99 percent” slogan is perhaps a less appropriate in this particular venue.)