Bank shot

UC Davis student blockade forces closure of U.S. Bank branch, prompting possible legal battle

Read more SN&R coverage of the UC Davis-U.S. Bank protests at

Occupy UC Davis 1, Wall Street 0?

After UC Davis student protests against the campus U.S. Bank branch, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the nation has informed the Regents of the University of California that it intends to permanently close its UCD branch.

This shutdown also means the early termination of a potentially lucrative public-private partnership between the school and the bank—which could prompt lawsuits over who is to blame.

In a letter dated March 1, U.S. Bank referred to the Occupy UCD blockade, which took place regularly each day beginning in early January, as “intolerable.” They also argued that the protests “effectively imprisoned” its employees.

A UCD spokesperson told SN&R that the university hopes to mediate with U.S. Bank and possibly save the partnership. But U.S. Bank says the Regents owe them money—possibly a few million—for defaulting on their contract, which dates back to 2009. University of California lawyers argue the bank is to blame, though, because they are in charge of security for the branch, not UCD.

Occupy lawyer fees, it seems.

Occupy UCD members shared a group hug out front of the currently defunct bank branch on Monday, the first day of finals, and say they’re looking forward to planning a new campus action during the spring quarter. Discussions include the conception of a student-run credit union.

Activists first formed their blockade outside the campus’s U.S. Bank branch the second week of winter quarter. These occupiers were upset with what they referred to as the bank’s “underhanded” and exclusive corporate partnership with the university, which included the bank’s logo on student ID cards. They also disliked the fact that U.S. Bank, they say, profits off of student-loan debt.

On most days, the bank chose to close its doors in reaction to the protests. In fact, the bank had not opened for business since February 28. Occupiers say they found out with everyone else, this past Friday, that the bank would be closing for good.

More than 2,500 students had opened checking accounts at the campus branch. The UCD-U.S. Bank partnership brought in $167,000 for student programs last year, the most since the bank’s arrival in 2009.