1000 Scholars Drive, UCSD
On October 10, attorneys for the Ché Café, UCSD’s student-run music venue and organic-food co-op, will fight an order to vacate the space after 34 years. The directive was delivered in July of this year after a student group, the Graduate Students Association, cited unsafe conditions and fire hazards as reasons for not renewing the café’s lease.
And while the collective’s lawyers hope to convince the judge to delay the eviction order until their lawsuit is heard, Ché’s supporters are more than willing to stand behind the collective.
During the eviction hearing, the judge and jury will hear written declarations from local artists, alumni, as well as well-known musicians such as Pinback guitarist and singer Rob Crow and Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha.
In his statement, de la Rocha, who grew up in Irvine, blasted university administrators for killing the café in the name of safety.
“I am writing this letter as a member of a growing community of artists who are concerned about the UCSD administration’s latest attempts to shut down the Ché Café,” de la Rocha wrote earlier this year.
“In its ever shifting rationales for attempting to close the Ché Café, the administration has clearly lost its focus on what this venue has done to enhance the student educational experience and the university as a whole.”
The singer and political activist then went on to list the importance and uniqueness of UCSD’s student-run collective.
“No other university campus venue in all of California has done more to build a bridge between students of UCSD, regional artists, and indeed artists from around the world. This unique forum of cultural and political exchange is a rarity, and without diminishing the merits of other student organizations on the UCSD campus, few can boast the kind of scope and positive influence that the Ché Café has garnered for over three decades.
“I have performed at the Ché Café a number of times and always left more empowered, more informed, and more inspired than when I arrived. Like so many others, I am personally indebted to the dedicated people throughout the years who have tirelessly worked to create a safe, all ages, truly democratic venue; one that should be embraced and defended as an indispensable campus forum for art and ideas.”
If a jury rules in favor of UCSD then the Ché’s doors will shut for good. The collective would continue to fight to exist and challenge its decertification by the student association. Yet even if that occurs, the site that has provided an outlet for poets and hosted bands such as Green Day, Jawbreaker, At the Drive-In, Bright Eyes, Mike Watt, Bon Iver, Unwound, and Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan will be a thing of the past.
The trial will begin on Friday, October 10, at 1:30 p.m. in Department 69, 330 West Broadway Street.