The Bank Dispute: Pro Bono Legal Advice for the UC Regents

The successful bank blockade has sparked a lovers’ quarrel between US Bank and the UC administration over who cheated whom.

US Bank blames the Regents (who are technically the bank’s landlord) for having “constructively evicted” the bank.

What this means, in real-world terms, is that US Bank is mad because the University did not attack and/or arrest the blockaders.

“The Regents have refused to remove or arrest the persons participating in the gathering even though the Regents have used available laws to disperse protestors who have congregated elsewhere on the University’s campuses. U.S. Bank asked repeatedly for immediate intervention so U.S. Bank could conduct business at the Branch.”

This seems like a reasonable objection, given that the UC administration is indeed world-famous for its violent removal of protesters from places “elsewhere on the University’s campuses.”

US Bank is saying that it had, upon entering into a contract with the University, a reasonable expectation that its ability to do business on campus would be maintained by violent means, if necessary. This, in itself, says much about the coercive nature of both banking in general and of many “services” foisted upon students at today’s universities.

The bank claims a breach of covenant and is attempting to “hold the Regents liable for all losses, including, but not limited to, the unamortized value of the costs incurred by U.S. Bank to outfit the Branch, the business losses suffered by U.S. Bank, moving expenses and the rent paid during the time U.S. Bank was barred from using the Branch.”

The bank’s objections come despite language in the contract that releases the University from the obligation to provide security at the bank branch. “Bank assumes all responsibility for the protection of Bank, its agents and invitees from acts of third parties.”

US Bank wishes to avoid defaulting on its contract by having prematurely vacated the premises, and the Regents will now bear the legal costs of a “partnership” with a vulture corporation intent on reaping profit from all possible sources. Meanwhile, the UCD News Service laments the loss of what one administrator called a “new, fun source of revenue.”

Fun-loving guard at the "source of revenue."

The UC administration, in order to limit its liability, is claiming that the bank “chose to close” and terminated the contract prematurely, before the university could get “law enforcement to prosecute proven violations of the California Penal Code and also allowing for peaceful protests.” (It seems violations are “proven” prior to prosecution in the authoritarian world of the UC administration.)

Yet the UC Davis News Service, with its typical zeal for demonizing protesters, inadvertently promotes US Bank’s claim to damages by echoing the bank’s hyperbole about employees being “effectively imprisoned in the bank.”

The News Service also trumpets the administration’s latest attempt at repression—it has requested that the Yolo County DA bring charges against six of the blockaders, for interfering with “lawful business.” Since the UC administration is now arguing precisely the opposite, namely that business was not substantially interfered with and, moreover, that US Bank “was not genuinely interested in maintaining a long-term presence at the Davis campus,” we advise them to withdraw their request to the DA, thereby ceasing the judicial repression of students.

Documents:

Letter from US Bank to UC Regents

Letter from UC Regents to US Bank

The contract

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2 Responses to The Bank Dispute: Pro Bono Legal Advice for the UC Regents

  1. Dora says:

    This is so enjoyable. It makes me ask whether we should specifically try to find other ways of setting UC at odds legally with itself and its “partners”

  2. Despite eligibility University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau denies enrollment to thousands of instate students. Qualified instate applicants to public Cal. are replaced by a $50,600 payment from born abroad foreign and out of state affluent students. And, Birgeneau subsidizes foreign and out of state tuition in the guise of diversity while he doubles instate tuition/fees.

    University of California Berkeley is not increasing enrollment. Birgeneau accepts $50,600 foreign students and displaces qualified instate Californians (When depreciation of tax funded assets are included (as they should be), out of state and foreign tuition is more than $100,000 + and does NOT subsidize instate tuition). Going to Cal. is now more expensive than Harvard, Yale. Like Coaches, Chancellors who do not measure-up must resign.

    More recently, UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police deployed excessive force – rammed baton jabs – on students protesting Birgeneau’s doubling of tuition. The sky will not fall when Birgeneau and his $450,000 salary are ousted. Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu

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