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UC Davis Dozen Case Resolved, Protestors Walk!
This just in: The Davis Dozen (AKA The Banker’s Dozen) walk! Poet and University of California-Davis professor Joshua Clover and the eleven UCD students charged with a possible 11 years in prison and a million dollars in fines for protesting a campus branch of USBank–we were following this when all went down last January–are free to move on with their lives. According to the press release: “The resolution comes in advance of a trial that Assistant District Attorney Michael Cabral was seemingly anxious to avoid, perhaps unwilling to burn further County funds on another failed effort at political repression. Each protestor accepted an infraction ticket and nominal community service.” The rest of the statement on the matter:
Last January and February, numerous protestors peacefully blockaded the campus offices of USBank. The branch shuttered its doors and abandoned the sweetheart deal through which it purchased captive customers from the university. Twelve students and staff were selected arbitrarily for the hyperbolic charges. Evidence gathered via subpoena now shows a national network of high-priced attorneys, public relations executives, security professionals, and corporate administrators deployed, not to protect bank or university community, but to exact as much punishment as possible. In the end, the UC administration, the bank, and the DA did not get their wish.
Evidence also shows that the prosecution was largely driven by the university’s top administrators who, which despite having high-salaried in-house counsel, elected to spend considerable public money on private attorneys. One upscale San Francisco firm was retained solely to avoid exposure of any internal documents regarding UCD’s relations with the bank, and to conceal the administration’s dossiers on students, staff, and faculty. Like the DA and police, the university seemed motivated by the need to send a message regarding the risks of protest — a message sometimes written in pepper spray.
In this case, the message turned out to be: no convictions, no bureaucratic revenge, and no bank. The absurd case is now history. The questions of the university’s increasing entanglement with finance; the catastrophe of student debt; and the systematically brutal, excessive, and wasteful criminalization of protest remain very much of the moment.