The Ché Café Collective has made their home at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) for the last 34 years. Turns out UCSD is really, really not good at playing House.
Some brief history: Since UCSD students formed the Ché Café Collective in 1980, the all-ages space has become a fixture in the international DIY music scene. They function as a volunteer-run co-op on the University campus, and decently co-existed until the University started to create weird false-flag situations to evict the Ché. That started as early as 1993. Since then, there have been several attempts to evict the space with the most recent attempt happening this May. The administration attempted to dissolve the space based on falsified costs of renovation for fire code’s sake. For now, the dispute centers around whether or not the fire code regulations are mandatory or simply “recommended.” But the dollar discrepancy is huge. UCSD claimed these repairs would cost a prohibitive $700,000, while the Ché is only aiming to raise around $80k for fire-related safety renovations.
Next week, the Ché takes it to court. In a press release that came out on Tuesday, the Collective announced that they filed a lawsuit against the administration challenging the basis for eviction, and pressed for more transparency around their decision-making process:
“If the University wishes to decertify the Che as a student organization, it should do so in a fair and open hearing and give proper notice of the hearing so members of the campus community can participate,” states Bryan Pease, attorney for the Che. “Instead, this hearing was held with basically no notice, and only one student could give public comment.”
The one student who was able to find out about the hearing in time to give public comment is also a petitioner in the lawsuit, which alleges that the GSA [Graduate Student Association] abused its discretion by failing to support its decision with substantial evidence, and failing to proceed in a manner authorized by law.
You can read the full release here. You can also donate to their GoFundMe campaign to help with legal fees and costs of renovation. Write a letter of support to any of the administration below, and copy firstname.lastname@example.org while you’re at it.
Chancellor Pradeep Khosla email@example.com
Vice Chancellor Gary Matthews: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chancellor Alan Houston: email@example.com
Associate Vice Chancellor Gary Ratcliff: firstname.lastname@example.org
UCEN Director Sharon Van Bruggen: email@example.com
Associated Students President: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate Student Association President: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
This seems to be an increasing issue facing co-ops– especially those on college campuses (SUNY Purchase I’m looking at you)– around the country. How do you negotiate the dynamic of a volunteer-run space on a campus?