Today, numerous Philadelphia protesters from groups including Occupy Philly, Americans United for Change, Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Fight for Philly, SEIU PA State Council, Protect Your Care, Keystone Progress, Moveon.org, NCPSSM, Progress Now, and AFSCME demonstrated at the Wharton School for Business at the University of Pennsylvania after Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) canceled his speech there, apparently afraid of dissident audiences.
As the hundreds of protesters entered the Wharton School and chanted about economic justice, a number of students appeared on the balcony above. These students began chanting in unison, “Get a job! Get a job!” Watch video shot ThinkProgress’ Josh Dorner:
While the students who jeered the protesters certainly do not necessarily represent all Wharton students, it’s important to understand the context of the elite status they likely either come from or graduate into. Wharton graduates much of the nation’s corporate elite, with the median starting salary for an MBA graduate being $145,000 — six times the poverty level for a family of four.
The school’s Board of Overseers is staffed with with multiple Goldman Sachs executives and high-ranking employees of a wide variety of financial firms. Meanwhile, it’s Graduate Executive Board is staffed with senior employees of Bank of America, Blackstone Financial Management, and PMC Bank. Wharton’s endowment is $888 million, greater than that of many large public universities. Essentially, the students jeering the protesters represented the future financial elite.
Later in the protest, another Wharton student taunted the protesters with a sign that read “Get in our bracket.” The protesters responded with chants of “We are the 99 Percent! So are you!” and “Join us!” The Daily Pennsylvanian grabbed a photo of the sign: