Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD sues U.S. Bank for closing over protests

By
From page A1 | May 06, 2012 | 10 Comments

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

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 10 comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • legal beagleMay 04, 2012 - 7:19 pm

    According to the law of "constructive eviction" UCD has no chance to win this and shouldn't.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RMay 05, 2012 - 1:33 am

    @legal beagle: The bank was engaging in a type of predatory lending, going beyond what was allowed per the contract with UCD, pushing the limits on how it was marketing loans to students. You have to look at the whole picture, and consider the possibility of there being new elements to the case which have not been adjudicated before in the courts.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • common senseMay 07, 2012 - 10:39 am

    UCD allowed the "Davis Dozen Idiots" to shut down the US bank on a daily basis. Was the bank really expected to put up with that indefinitely??? I hope the bank prevails in court and Katehi and her cowardly staff lose their jobs. Protesting something like the arrangement between text book publishers and Universities would be far more noble of a cause, but would lack media attention. In my view those protesters were just clueless and hypocritical.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • UC Davis sues U.S. Bank for closing over protests they ALLOWEDMay 07, 2012 - 8:27 pm

    [...] UCD sues U.S. Bank for closing over protests [...]

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Joseph StalinMay 08, 2012 - 10:42 am

    This person could not have said it any better. I tried to get into the bank but the "Davis Dozen" blocked my entry. We exchanged word and I eventually walked away only to see that there was a police officer standing right behind me the whole time listening to everything that was said. Katehi needs to do her job or resign. At this point I am under the impression that she will do or say anything to keep her job. As for the law suit, UCD will fail miserably which mean more wasted taxpayer dollars as well as student fees. Honestly, they should outlaw protesting on campus, there is no need for it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • UCD AlumnusMay 13, 2012 - 10:33 pm

    Agreed; Katehi is DONE. Your impression is absolutely right, she is shameless in her pathetic attempts to hold on to a job she was never qualified to get in the first place. If she was qualified, she would have handled everything in a completely different manner and this never would have happened. But I disagree with you about the protesters...constitutional right to protest. And I do love our Constitution.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rich mckoneMay 08, 2012 - 11:08 am

    The University passed up a "teaching moment". Instead of referring the faculty member and students to the District Attorney for prosecution, the University should have turned the sit-in into a teaching moment by just requiring each arrested person to just finish a simple sentence: "Even though it will raise my tuition, I was protesting the presence of a Bank on campus because?" I am sure most readers would like to know the response - it would be a real "teaching moment" for most taxpayers!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • UCD AlumnusMay 13, 2012 - 10:28 pm

    I love the quote, "The police were especially careful to avoid escalating conflict." Yes, so instead, the UCD Administration, with the blessings of Yudof, file criminal charges against its own students and faculty. This Administration is so lame and inept it defies belief. So the bank shut down...well cry me a river....good for the protesters, now students can get some exercise by walking the two blocks over to Golden One Credit Union!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • UCD Sues U.S. Bank for Closing over Protests | SUPPORT THE DAVIS DOZEN    DROP ALL CHARGESAugust 04, 2012 - 9:37 am

    [...] [full article (Davis Enterprise)] Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditDiggPrint This entry was posted in News by egress. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • UCD Sues U.S. Bank for Closing over Protests | SUPPORT THE DAVIS DOZEN    DROP ALL CHARGESOctober 20, 2012 - 7:47 pm

    [...] [full article (Davis Enterprise)] Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditDigg This entry was posted in News by egress. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

A springtime ritual

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

 
Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Ortiz lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Steadfast in their support

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quilters gear up for annual show

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

 
Calling all Scrabble fans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

League hosts a series of candidate forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

.

Forum

Take ownership of your health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Keep your baby safe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Core values on campus

By Our View | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Road diet? No, city diet!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 5 Comments

 
We’re reveling in our equality

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Devils burn up the track

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Will Davis get an Old Soul?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

 
Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

University Honda wins another President’s Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8