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Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Boycott Shiru Cafe

By and
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This letter was published in The Herald’s Dec. 6 print edition, but was not published online. The letter is published here in its entirety. The Herald regrets the error. 

To the Editor:

The article “Cafe to connect students with sponsor companies” published in The Herald Dec. 4 described a new cafe which will be opening on the University’s campus next semester. We are writing to express our concern that The Herald’s story is written to promote the cafe to students as an opportunity for free coffee and networking. As students on this campus who are concerned about the cafe’s opening, we wanted to point out the possible adverse consequences that this cafe might have on our community and propose a boycott of the cafe when it opens in February.

According to CareerLAB’s website, 42 percent of 2016 University graduates who were employed in their first year out of college were in the finance, consulting and technology industries. A mere 2 percent were in jobs related to “environment and sustainability” and 2 percent in “community development and organizing.” One contributing factor to the large number of Brown graduates pursuing careers in finance, consulting and tech is that representatives come to the University campus in the fall semester to recruit students for their companies. According to The Herald’s article about the Shiru Cafe, “last year, 40 percent of JP Morgan Japan’s new hires were Shiru Cafe patrons.” This statistic is alarming, given that JP Morgan engaged in deceitful financial practices which likely contributed to to the 2008 financial crisis and then became the only large financial institution to make a profit during the crisis.

Instead of looking forward to the days of free coffee (only if you stay in the cafe to drink it), we are writing to call upon the University community and the broader Providence community to boycott the cafe. As the cafe’s first location in the United States, Brown should send a clear message rejecting the cafe’s stated desire to draw smart and talented people to work for large corporations, whose principles are frequently at odds with those of our community.

Julia Rock ’19 and Harry August ’19


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  1. Man with Axe says:

    Shouldn’t the individual students have the free choice to work for big corporations, or not, according to their own ethical standards, and not yours?

  2. Hugh Janos says:

    If JP Morgan is full of evil, greedy capitalists, wouldn’t it be morally preferable for Brown students to go to work there to 1) eat up JP Morgan job offerings so they are not given to more greedy capitalists 2) change the culture at JP Morgan?

  3. Hugh Janos says:

    “[L]ast year, 40 percent of JP Morgan Japan’s new hires were Shiru Cafe patrons.”

    40% of hires were patrons at Shiru Cafe, but certainly far less than 40% were connected with JP Morgan through Shiru Cafe. What seems most likely is that the vast majority of these patrons were interested in and would have applied to JP Morgan even if they were not patrons. The statistic is misleading.

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