New lease signed for Che Café, Groundwork Books, Food Co-op and General Store Co-op
On July 28, 2017 the UCSD administration signed the successor lease for the Che Café, Groundwork Books, Food Co-op, and General Store Co-op! The co-ops had all signed it during the prior week or so.
This ends the long fight of the Che Café Collective and supporters to reverse the June 13, 2014 termination of their lease and to defeat the administration’s lawsuit to evict the Che. It also ends the Boycott of Alumni Donations to UCSD. The boycott was initiated by the Che Café Support Network in 2015.
Here is some early press on the news:
Co-ops and UCSD joint press release http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/uc_san_diego_and_student_run_co_ops_sign_new_master_ space_agreement
San Diego Union-Tribune (PLEASE read Monty Kroopkin’s comment to the online article) http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/education/
The UCSD Guardian (PLEASE read Monty Kroopkin’s comment to the online article) http://ucsdguardian.org/2017/08/03/lease-renewed-for-che-cafe-khosla-to-pay-for-necessary- renovations/
The Reader (PLEASE read Monty Kroopkin’s comment to the online article ) https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2017/aug/03/blurt-che-cafe-okay-stay/#
Alumni Boycott of UCSD Begins in Support of the C.H.E. Cafe
Donations to Stop Until Eviction Dropped and Lease Restored
LA JOLLA – The annual UCSD Alumni Weekend will be June 4 – 7 this year and features many events for alumni at the campus. They will be greeted with informational leaflets and sign-up sheets to join a boycott of alumni donations to the university.
On March 24 a court order for eviction went into effect, to push the C.H.E. Cafe Collective out of its home of 35 years, the C.H.E. Cafe. The Cafe’s appeal of the court order is still pending in the appellate court.
Rally to Protect the C.H.E. Cafe. March 24, 2015, 5 a.m.
Following a 5 a.m. Rally to Protect the C.H.E. Cafe attended by over a hundred people, an occupation of the building by students and other supporters was started on March 24. The occupation, or sit-in, has continued for over two months, in defiance of the eviction order.
Since the sit-in/occupation of the C.H.E. Cafe began, events and activity at the Cafe have multiplied. Events at the Cafe in recent weeks have included Student Film Nights, UCSD Triton Art, Earth Day Planting Party, Creative Dance Class, Paint the C.H.E. With Mario Torero, Co-op Prom, presentation on activist history at UCSD by Professor Emeritus Fred Lonidier, Meatless Mondays, an ongoing Queer Film Night, and events with the Roger’s Community Garden.
Paint the C.H.E. With Mario Torero event. April 16, 2015
The UCSD administration has shown no interest in calling off the eviction and Sheriff’s Deputies can arrive at any time to try to force people out of the building. With the summer break starting on June 13, the administration and the Sheriff’s Department may make their move to finalize the eviction once most students are gone. Although this timing tactic would reduce the size of the student body response, supporters are confident that the general community will turn out to protest.
For over a year the UCSD administration has attempted to shut the C.H.E. Cafe Collective out of its historic home using a variety of secretive bureaucratic maneuvers, manipulations, and blatant lies. More than a million dollars is the cost projection the UCSD administration has claimed to need to make the C.H.E. Cafe building “safe” to use. At the request of the C.H.E. Cafe Collective, a reputable licensed general contractor with experience in rehabilitating historic wood structures did a preliminary walk through recently and thought the building was in better shape than what he expected to find.
The UCSD administration’s claim that the building is “unsafe” because of a lack of automatic fire sprinklers has been thoroughly debunked. The administration has not explained why a lack of fire sprinklers suddenly became a concern after almost 50 years of use of the building by UCSD. The University’s commissioned 2010 report on the condition of the building states “addition of full fire suppression is not recommended at this time.” Research by alumni revealed that the UC Office of the President (UCOP) abides by the California Fire Code, which states that buildings such as the C.H.E. Cafe are exempt from any requirement to retrofit an automatic fire sprinkler system. Fire extinguishers and all other Fire Code requirements have always been maintained. Other than retrofitting sprinklers, the official UCSD administration assessments of repairs needed include a long list of items like replacement of all the plumbing pipes, despite the fact that no leaks have been found. This is how the cost estimates from the administration end up topping a million dollars.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT GROWING
The C.H.E. Cafe continues to be an invaluable “hands-on” laboratory for students and community members to learn the skills needed to run a vegetarian restaurant, concert/events venue and community center. It continues to be a shining light of the “diversity” that the University claims to promote.
During the past year, despite the protracted struggle over funding of building maintenance, termination of the lease, the eviction lawsuit and the appeal of that ruling, more than 100 shows and events were held at the Cafe.
Organizations and individuals publicly opposed to the eviction of the C.H.E. Cafe Collective from the CHE Cafe building include the University Council-American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, the UCSD Faculty Association, the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE), United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865 (UCSD teaching assistants and student employees), AFT Local 1931 (faculty and staff in the San Diego Community College and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Districts), KSDT Radio, UCSD Mecha, The General Store Co-op, Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Ed.D.(Executive Director, Interfaith Center for Worker Justice), Martin Eder (Interim Director, KNSJ Radio), UAW Local 5810 (Post Doctoral Researchers Union at UCSD) Alor Caleron (Director, San Diego Employee Rights Center), UCSD Co-ops and Collectives Alumni, and many others.
More than 14, 000 people have signed online petitions to tell the UCSD administration to stop the eviction of the C.H.E. Cafe Collective, to restore the lease and to fund basic building maintenance costs. The current petition, with 900 signatures, is at https://www.change.org/p/university-of-california-and-other-state-officials-public-statement-of-support-for-the-c-h-e-caf%C3%A9-and-the-c-h-e-caf%C3%A9-collective
ALUMNI ALARM GROWS LOUDER
Over this past year, hundreds of alumni have signed petitions and open letters of protest. Even a past president of the Alumni Association wrote a letter of protest. UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla has refused to meet with concerned alumni to discuss the eviction and building repairs dispute. Now, the C.H.E. Cafe Support Network has decided to call a boycott of alumni donations to pressure the UCSD administration in a language it understands: money.
Alumni have donated millions of dollars to UCSD. Thousands of alumni have eaten at or attended shows and meetings and events at the C.H.E. Cafe or enjoyed the low-cost services of one or more of the three other student coops. Hundreds of alumni have actually worked at the C.H.E. Cafe or at the other coops.
The boycott demands that Chancellor Khosla:
STOP THE EVICTION OF THE C.H.E. CAFE COLLECTIVE FROM THE C.H.E. CAFE FACILITY
RESTORE THE LEASE
RESTORE THE BASIC BUILDING MAINTENANCE FUNDS
STOP THE “BIG LIE” PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN TO BRAND THE BUILDING “UNSAFE”
RENEW THE LONG TERM LEASE FOR ALL FOUR OF THE STUDENT COOPS
Organizers say the action at the Alumni Weekend events is only the public opening of the boycott. More information about the annual Alumni Weekend is available at the official UCSD website for
the event at http://www.alumni.ucsd.edu/s/1170/landing/index_rot.aspx?sid=1170&gid=1&pgid=6224
Alumni wanting to join the boycott are asked to call (858) 373-7018 or write to email@example.com
See related article:
C.H.E. Cafe Makes SOHO “10 Most Endangered List” for 2015, San Diego Free Press, June 1, 2015
See more background on the fight to save the Che Cafe at http://newindicator.org/?p=5 .
What better way to celebrate our 50th anniversary?
Never heard of the New Indicator newspaper? Check out the “About Us” page.
We see that when UCSD has no New Indicator, the campus administrators run amok. They think they can get away with murder, because the UCSD Guardian won’t report it. That newspaper was actually started by the UCSD administration, not by students, and has seldom disappointed its Creator.
We have a lot of work to do.
We will start with reporting the truth about the UCSD administration’s campaign to shut down the Che Cafe.
Save the Che Cafe!
The UCSD administration is currently carrying out a long-term plan to kill the Che Cafe and the three other student coops on the campus. The three other coops are Groundwork Books, the General Store Coop, and the Food Coop. The coops have relied on a lease agreement with UCSD to protect their operations on the campus since 1993. That first lease was negotiated, with strong support of the student governments, after the last time the administration tried to evict the coops.
In the past few years, all four coops have been trying to negotiate a new lease and have been unable to get the administration to agree on terms. The current lease, the Master Space Agreement (MSA) was signed by all four coops and the administration in 2006 and is set to expire in 2016.
The most recent, January 2015 administration-generated report on the Che Cafe calls for razing the building to the ground! The report has not been widely publicized, unlike the administration’s press release in November promising there “are no plans to demolish the Che Cafe building.” The Che is more well-known than the other coops and has the most campus and community support. If the administration can kill the Che, it won’t have as much trouble killing the other coops.
March on the Chancellor, October 28, 2014. Photo by Fred Lonidier.
The administration got new support for its kill the coops campaign from the Associated Students (AS) and the Graduate Students Association (GSA) in the past few weeks. Both of these student government councils passed resolutions which will help provide political “cover” for the administration’s eviction of the Che Cafe Collective from the Che Cafe space they have had for 35 years. The resolutions are nearly identical. The AS adopted the GSA’s resolution with few changes. The resolutions call on the Che Cafe Collective to stop holding concerts and events in the Cafe for a year and a half. The resolutions go on to say it could become permanent after that, or the collective might be “allowed” back in its own space then.
The AS and the GSA offer no reason why the Che should not continue in its space as usual as it has for over 35 years. The resolutions read like something written by a UCSD administrator, and probably largely were. One high-ranking administrator who actually supports the Che Cafe has disclosed that Chancellor Pradeep Khosla “hates” the Che and wants it gone. The GSA consulted closely with the administration over the past several months, while telling the Che Cafe Collective that the GSA’s committee meetings were “closed”. (They seem to think the state Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act doesn’t apply to them.) The GSA and the AS both have refused to talk to the Che Cafe Collective about the written proposals submitted by the collective or about the collective’s position statement .
The administration has held off on serving the final 5-day notice to vacate, after winning an eviction lawsuit against the Che in October. The Che Cafe Collective immediately filed an appeal of that court ruling, and the ruling on the appeal is still pending. After 3 substantial protest demonstrations last Fall, including an occupation of Peterson Hall, and more than 14,000 petition signatures supporting the Che, and at least 10 or 20 newspaper articles and news broadcasts about the administration’s eviction campaign, the UCSD administration blinked.
We think the administration has waited in the hope of getting the AS and the GSA to take the blame, so that all the bad press and angry students won’t be blaming the UCSD administration for shutting down the Che. Now they are going to get what they want from the student governments. That is, unless UCSD students push back and stop their elected “representatives” from serving the administration instead of serving the students. Students can demand that the AS and GSA repeal these resolutions. Students can demand that the AS and GSA instead call on the administration to drop the eviction and restore the Che’s lease.
Members of the Che Cafe Support Network passed out an info sheet at the recent AS and GSA Council meetings. It is worth quoting, especially because the council members seem to be purposely ignoring it:
“Under both UC policy and the state Fire Code (which is adopted as UC policy), the CHE Cafe building is EXEMPT from any requirement for retrofits for automatic fire sprinklers. This means that the UCSD administration’s estimate that student fees must be used to pay over $300,000 for sprinklers is incorrect. This also means that the building is legally safe for occupancy (as it has always been) for 170 people in the assembly room (per Fire Marshal posted legal notice). In other words, the UCSD administration’s public posture since Spring of 2014 — that for fire “safety” the CHE Cafe Collective lease must be terminated, that the collective must be evicted, and that the building must not be used for concerts, events and meetings — has NO legal basis. None of the other maintenance/repairs work cited by the administration are any reason to shut down the Cafe, except during (perhaps) some of the actual construction work.”
The info sheet goes on to give the UC policy and state Fire Code links that prove there is no safety problem at the Che Cafe. Click here to see the info sheet.
In other words, THERE IS NO REASON TO SHUT DOWN THE CHE. The UCSD administration just LIED about it. The termination of the Che Cafe Collective’s lease was based on a lie. The lawsuit to evict the collective — after it refused to vacate the space when the lease was terminated — was based on a lie.
On top of the Big Lie about “safety”, the administration and its obedient tail-wagging puppies in the AS and GSA pretend that costs for ordinary maintenance of the Che building will be millions. The truth is that the cost projections they are using are for massive renovations (to make the building “like new”) — not for simple maintenance repairs.
Another canard being used to kill the Che is a supposed “lack of student support.” The Che Cafe put on over 100 concerts during the past year alone, and served inexpensive vegan food at all of them and the administration and the University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) and the AS and GSA get away with saying the Cafe isn’t “serving the students”? The University Centers administration did a survey last year of student “priorities” about services at the 3 University Centers: the Che Cafe building, the Student Center and the Price Center. The student-majority UCAB pointed to the data that 78 % of students said the Che Cafe was a “low priority”. UCAB used that idea to cut funding for maintenance of the Che Cafe building out of the 2014-15 University Centers budget. The administration, UCAB, and the AS and GSA keep chanting like zombies “lack of student support”. How is it that none of these officials are talking about the 22% of the students (thousands of students) who thought the Che Cafe was a higher priority? How many other student organizations enjoy the support of 22%? When was the last time that 22% of the students bothered to vote in an AS or a GSA election?
Students, alumni, faculty, campus unions and community supporters of the Che Cafe, including a past president of the Alumni Association and even the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council (representing over 100 unions in our region) see through the administration’s Big Lie campaign. An Artists’ Boycott of UCSD in support of the Che Cafe has been started and is growing.
If the UCSD administration and the AS and GSA don’t want to let the Che Cafe enjoy its normal business, why should we let the administration, AS and GSA do “business as usual”? If they are going to continue to disrupt the Che Cafe, then why shouldn’t we disrupt all the AS and GSA meetings and all the administration events and conferences on the campus?
The Che Cafe building opened in 1966 as the first UCSD student center. It is a vital and living part of our history. We must save it!
Be creative and use your imagination and Fight Back!
NO SHUT DOWN OF CHE CAFE!
NOT ONE YEAR! NOT ONE DAY!
March on the Chancellor, October 28, 2014. Photo by Fred Lonidier.
CHE Cafe Response to AS/GSA Decisions, February 25, 2015.
Letter from UCSD Vice Chancellor Juan Gonzalez, March 3, 2015.
Alumni Boycott of UCSD Started, May 26, 2015.
C.H.E. Cafe Makes SOHO “10 Most Endangered List” for 2015, San Diego Free Press, June 1, 2015