The University of California, Berkeley has provoked an investigation into a bank with loose ties to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after the publication of a student op-ed calling for the end of the partnership.
French bank BNP Paribas owns Bank of the West, a Berkeley bank with which UC Berkeley has a 10-year contract, according to Campus Reform. The editorial board of UC Berkeley’s student paper urged the school to end its relationship with Bank of the West after the revelation that its parent company has invested in U.S. private prisons that do business with ICE.
“When UC Berkeley is tied to companies like this, so is its revenue,” the board wrote in The Daily Californian. “In 2015, when UC Berkeley’s 10-year contract with Bank of the West was announced, it was predicted that the campus would make $17 million from this partnership. This money is tied, however indirectly, to the abhorrent practice of separating families at the border.”
The board noted the UC system contains approximately 4,000 illegal alien students, with 500 of them attending UC Berkeley. (RELATED: Princeton Defends Border Patrol Job Listing)
“It’s time to call on donors and sponsors to fill the hole Bank of the West would leave,” The Daily Californian editorial board insists. “Ultimately, money comes and goes, but an association with moral corruption is something that will leave a stain on this campus for decades.”
Bank of the West said the holdings are not principal investments.
“BNP Paribas and Bank of the West have confirmed that the holdings in question are not principal investments,” Bank of the West spokesman Joe Rauch told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The shareholdings are tied to client-requested activities that the bank conducts as a service to their customers: more specifically, the trading of common equity indices of which the companies in question’s equity shares are members.”
UC Berkeley spokesman Roqua Montez said the school was not aware of BNP Paribas’s investments when the student paper published its article.
“Since becoming aware of this information, the campus has voiced its concerns to Bank of the West, which has prompted both Bank of the West and BNP Paribas to conduct an internal evaluation into the details of the investment,” Montez told Campus Reform. “They plan to have an updated report to our campus within the next few days.”
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