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Local Bank of America burned, 1970 February 28, 2011

Posted by ucisca in Activism.
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A fire was ignited at the entrance to the local branch of the Bank of America, located directly across the street from UCI on the ground floor of the Town Center Building, shortly after midnight on October 26, 1970. This is certainly among the most mysterious, and controversial, occurrences in UCI history.  This event was viewed by some in the community as having a direct relation to the burning of the Bank of America at UCSB during anti-war protests in the Spring of 1970. That action drew national attention to the anti-war movement at UCSB. Then Chancellor Aldrich received many calls from the local community with concerns about the Irvine event, many accusing UCI students of this action. Chancellor Aldrich took exception to this assumption. Opinions voiced during this period ranged from those on the far right accusing the students and blaming UCI campus administrators for their tolerance of this type of dissent. Some on the left blamed those from the far right of carefully calculating and executing an event that would cause limited physical damage but significant political damage among local community members and taxpayers. Damage to the bank was estimated at $125,000 but no cash or records were lost in the short blaze.  There were no witnesses to the event and no one was ever arrested.

AS-061. University Communications Photographs. Special Collections and Archives, the U.C. Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.

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