Sunday, October 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD sues U.S. Bank for closing over protests

By
From page A1 | May 06, 2012 |

UC Davis filed suit Friday against U.S. Bank, alleging that the bank breached its contract by shutting down its branch after repeated Occupy sit-ins there.

On March 1, U.S. Bank pulled out of a 2009 agreement, worth an estimated $3 million over 10 years, with the money earmarked for student services. Bank officials said UCD had not done enough to end daily protests at the Memorial Union branch.

UCD spokeswoman Claudia Morain said the university is seeking lost revenue in Yolo Superior Court because the bank threatened legal action of its own.

“We did it reluctantly after several months of trying to resolve it and avoid litigation,” she said. “We did it in the best interest of the campus community, which the agreement was intended to support. We remain open to a negotiated solution.”

Teri Charest, a spokesperson for the Minneapolis-based bank, declined comment until its attorneys can review the filing.

Problems for UCD and its banking partner began Jan. 2 when Occupy UC Davis protesters began blocking the branch each day, singling it out as a symbol of the privatization of the university and corporate profits made at the expense of struggling students and families.

Eleven days later, the bank sent a letter of default, accusing UCD of a “severe breach” of the lease.

The bank said it had been forced to hire its own security guard after campus police refused to act (a charge UCD denies), suggesting instead that the bank close its doors and let in one customer at a time.

The bank’s letter said the protesters were “led by a UC Davis faculty member.”

In a reply Feb. 10, UCD said it was not responsible for the actions of protesters. As for the faculty member, English professor Joshua Clover, “conducting a ‘sit-down’ at a bank is not within the course and scope of any faculty member’s employment at UC Davis,” the university says in its complaint.

In its complaint, UCD acknowledges that police were cautious because of the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters on the Quad:

“The police were especially careful to avoid escalating conflict. Based on experience, the police formed the opinion that trying to physically remove protesters posed an unacceptable risk of emboldening the protesters and others to act violently, or to cause the situation to deteriorate in other ways that would be more difficult for the police to manage.”

The bank, then, was asking the university to “ignore the professional judgment of the police and to order the physical removal of the protesters, no matter the consequences. … The (university) cannot exercise its governmental authority contrary to the professional judgment of the police just to serve its commercial interest with the bank.”

Under the terms of its deal, UCD had 30 days from the time of the bank’s notice to put things right.

UCD says that after the week of Jan. 13, the protesters instead held their sit-ins in the hallway — solving the bank’s original complaint. U.S. Bank did not send a written notice about protesters just outside its doors, says UCD.

The campus also contends it asked for the bank’s assistance in addressing the protests, suggesting such steps as mediation with protesters, a public relations campaign, allowing employees to be interviewed by police and seeking a restraining order.

UCD says the bank did not cooperate; U.S. Bank says that’s not true.

In a letter dated Feb. 1, UCD officials noted that the campus had formed a “Protest Management Team” of police, student affairs officials and senior administrators that began meeting twice weekly after the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying. A member of the team “negotiated” regularly with protesters outside the branch.

It also told the bank it was consulting with other police departments and the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.

On Feb. 22, the bank sent a letter to the university complaining that protesters continued to take actions like locking arms and not allowing employees to enter the branch.

“The protesters must be removed so the bank can operate,” wrote attorney Gregory Haworth. “U.S. Bank cannot accept more excuses. Customers and employees need full and unfettered access to the branch without intimidation.

“(UCD has) requested that U.S. Bank not use security forces to gain access to its branch. That request has been honored by the bank. However, while U.S. Bank has stood down, (UCD has) failed to remedy the situation.”

The branch continued to shut down early, day after day. After telling UCD it was ending the deal, U.S. Bank informed its customers in a March 12 letter that it was closing for good.

The DA’s Office has since filed charges against 11 students and one faculty member, Clover, on misdemeanors of obstructing movement on a street or in a public place and conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor. The defendants are due in court for arraignment on Thursday.

U.S. Bank is seeking $1 million in restitution from the protesters.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Cabral has said he plans to offer the protesters a plea deal for community service.

Cabral would be obligated under law to present the request for restitution from the bank or account holders listed as victims. On Friday, he said he had not yet heard back from the bank about its wishes.

Chancellor Linda Katehi and Provost Ralph Hexter have said in a letter to the campus community that UCD will not seek restitution from the protesters.

— Reach Cory Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Howzat! Cricket tradition grows in Davis

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Housing First pilot project targets West Sac homeless

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Return to sender: MRAP removal options go to council

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    $18.75M grant aims to build global food security

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Cop witnesses car-pedestrian collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Hawaii hit by winds, rain as hurricane veers west

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Evidentiary hearing set for man shot by CHP

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Firefighters on the town

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

     
    Donate used books at Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Love-life tips on ‘Heart to Heart’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Volunteers sought to chip in on parks cleanup

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Crash victim ID’d as Woodland man

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    Senior Computer Club hears from county official

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Guns to be discharged at police range

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    DHS ski and snowboard swap set on Nov. 9

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Wolk sets ‘Morning with the Mayor’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Safe viewing of solar eclipse planned

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fill the Boot for the hungry

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    Quiz Master Gardeners at open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Celebrate origami at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Esparto home targeted in three-city pot bust

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

     
    Apply by Friday for Biberstein grants

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Wolk earns perfect score from senior advocates

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    UCD celebrates 50 years of global agricultural success

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Special education information night scheduled

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

    Be on the lookout for tagged Monarch butterflies

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A16 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Old news disturbs the present

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Take time to reach out for help

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

    Are we there yet? Yik Yakking the day away

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8

     
    A bionic hand with feeling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Ain’t Snow Mountain high enough

    By Our View | From Page: A14

     
    Let’s take Davis’ energy future seriously

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

    Teach cyclists to obey laws

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

     
    Proposed lights harm kids

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

    Water theater isn’t fun

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

     
    Elect Granda to board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

    Yes on Prop. 47: reasonable changes to curb recidivism, save money

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

     
    No on Prop. 47: an end to safe neighborhoods, and more victims

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    Be careful cycling on Fifth

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Sports

    Competitive Aggies fall at No. 6/7 Montana

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils stick it to Chico, cancer

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Vargas emerges from crowded Aggie WR corps

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    JV Devils fall to Franklin

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Niemi leads Sharks to win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    UCD roundup: Big crowd sees Aggies nip Guachos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

     
    Davis is a temple for fine beverages

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Arcadia Biosciences earns spot on global innovation list

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    35 employers will be at West Sac job fair

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Rob White: Building an economy on innovation

    By Rob White | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Sadie Louise Barga

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Morgan Wheeler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Peggy Belenis Swisher

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, October 19, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8