University of California San Diego administrators are wasting no time in shutting down its Ché Café, a student-run cooperative.
The school says that the popular music and arts venue and hangout is run down and in disrepair, posing risks to patrons and others. Representatives for the collective say it is most likely a scheme by the school to build something more to their liking.
On June 13, the collective received a 30-day notice of termination, effectively booting from campus. The notice was delivered just over two weeks after the Graduate Students Association voted to decertify the popular venue and student hangout.
In a press release, the café’s attorney explored the true motives behind the notice.
"UCSD invited the Café and its lawyer, Andrea Carter, to a meeting ostensibly for discussions about the future of the Café and try to resolve various issues. Instead, UCSD greeted them with a Notice of Termination. The meeting followed the Café’s requests to mediate and resolve issues through the dispute resolution procedures provided in the lease. At the meeting, UCSD refused to discuss anything but where the Café would be relocated. The Café would like a stay of termination pending the end of a dispute resolution under the agreement.
"The Ché Café believes that both the GSA ‘decertification action’ and the termination notice are invalid and motivated by internal politics. UCSD also continues to refuse to answer the Café’s questions as to why it is necessary that the facility be closed and why UCSD will not work with the Café to resolve any issues it has and allow the Café to repair or remedy any recommended fire, health, or safety issues. The Café believes that the fire, health, and safety issues are a pretext for shutting the building down."
Concerns over fire safety appear to be exaggerated. A fire marshal paid the collective a visit in early April. Shortly after, John Payne, assistant facilities director for UCSD, sent an email praising the café’s team for the improvements they made to the building.
“I wanted to thank you for all your efforts in keeping the Ché Café facility safe. The fire marshal was extremely pleased at all the efforts that have been made and has signed off on the inspection. Other than [one] minor item...the facility is looking good in terms of fire safety. He will return annually to inspect the facility based on my conversation with him this morning. Once again thank you for all your efforts in keeping a safe facility.”
The café’s supporters have done their part to fight for the venue to stay open. As of now, 11,489 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding that the school hold off in hopes of finding some sort of resolution.