Campus monopolies

Wayland E. Noland

On June 21, all vestiges of U.S. Bank disappeared from Coffman Union when its lease was not renewed. This included the convenient full-service ATM and banking office on the ground floor, near the bookstore, and the only ATM in the basement under the escalator near Goldy’s Gameroom.

U.S. Bank, which is based in Minneapolis, has provided relatively error-free banking services for many years. So far, Wells Fargo Bank — formerly based in Minneapolis as Norwest Bank but now based in San Francisco — has managed to survive with an ATM underneath the escalator on ground floor.

Now, the all-encompassing TCF Bank, also based in Minneapolis, will occupy the vacated space, after a brief period of mourning. That also brings to mind the Coca-Cola Corporation. The two major entities have an authorized monopoly (similar to an exclusive franchise) on the University of Minnesota campus. It is true that the University has exacted substantial tribute from both of the entities. It is also true that it is probably easy to handle complaints “within the family,” so to speak. The question lingers, however: Are such cozy relationships in the economic long-term best interest of the students, faculty and staff of the University of Minnesota?

Wayland E. Noland, University faculty