We’re Breaking Up
By Chris Hicks, National SLAP Coordinator
This Valentine’s Day students are celebrating the holiday a bit different – we’re breaking up with someone that we’ve been in a relationship for way too long. We don’t want to be cliché about this, because look, we both deserve better. It’s you – not us.
Bank of America, US Bank, M&I Bank, Wells Fargo – we’re done. We’re moving on, and we’ve found someone better in our local credit union. Your bad business practices that have included profiting off of student loans, giving out predatory loans to recent graduates buying homes, and trying to buy our democracy – all while giving yourselves million dollar bonuses after crashing our economy – are too much for us to stay in this relationship. We’re waking up and realizing that we’ve been in a rut for too long and it’s time we make a change.
You knew this was coming. It all started in January when the United States Student Association’s Board of Directors voted to move its money from Wells Fargo after finding out you were the second largest profiteer of student debt. Your continued exploitation of college students isn’t okay.
You knew this was coming when United Council of University of Wisconsin Students found out that you helped bankroll Governor Walker, M&I Bank. Receiving $1.7 billion dollars in TARP bailout, you turned around and gave $46,308 to Gov. Walker. That just doesn’t sit well with us, because we don’t want to privatize our schools and we like the workers on our campus.
You knew this was coming when University of California Student Association heard that US Bank was the 8th largest holder of student debt in 2010 and when you hurt our families by demonstrating a lack of willingness to engage in good-faith efforts to negotiate sustainable permanent mortgage modifications.
Let’s be clear: This is no small break-up. Just the few institutions above that have moved our money represent over 4,350,000 students. We have moved millions of dollars away from you and your corrupt practices – and we’re not done yet.
Peralta Community Colleges, which administers four campuses and over 50,000 students, voted on December 15, 2011 to divest as much of its $140 million trust as possible from large banks and move this money to local finance institutions. University of California – Berkeley has voted and passed moving their money, as well. The list is growing and the students are waking up to your tricks.
We have the tools we need to move our money, we are following where you are, and as Robert Reich said: “The days of apathy are over, folks.” So we, and our friends like Responsible Endowments Coalition, New Bottom Line, and the Other 98%, have just one Valentine’s Day message for you.