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