After weeks of meetings between the Ché Café collective and UCSD administration, the two sides have announced an agreement that spells out specific improvements that will pave the way for the operation of the Ché with the blessing of the school and without the threat of eviction.
Four specific improvements to the building have been identified that UC administration has agreed to pay for. They include a new fire suppression sprinkler system, a fire alarm pull system, tempered windows, and a “travel/exit path evaluation.”
All improvements will be paid for by the administration, says Fabiola Orozco, a fourth-year psychology major and Ché collective member who was involved in the two meetings with UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla in mid-July.
Many in the collective say those meetings with Chancellor Khosla is when the fate of the 35-year-old music venue and vegetarian café turned around. It was at those meetings, says Orozco, when the chancellor directed all future Ché/administration meetings to go from confrontation to resolution. All the meetings after that, she says, were “a completely different tone.”
The Ché seemed doomed when it was served with an eviction notice March 17, which could have been executed with armed sheriff deputies at any point over the next 180 days. Diehard supporters manned the Ché 24/7 in anticipation of a confrontation and/or arrests.
Chancellor Khosla first postponed the eviction in July. It was just postponed a second time, until September 14, which is just a few days before it expires anyway. Orozco tells the Reader that it was her understanding that the reason the eviction wasn’t thrown out completely was that Vice Chancellor Juan Gonzales was on a two-week vacation and he needs to be the administrator to do it.
Orozco says the administration has not specified exactly where the funding for the improvements will come from. “But they have told us they are committed to finding the funding. I just can’t imagine we would have gone this far with their architects and our architects to create these plans if they weren’t going to follow through.”
Orozco says the school has agreed to pay for the architects hired by the collective. Orozco says this process has taught the all-volunteer Ché collective that it must not take things like lease agreements for granted any more. “Our next [master space agreement] comes up for renewal in August 2016. Those are agreements between the co-ops and the school. We’ve learned to pay more attention and be careful when we draft documents like that.”
1000 Scholars Drive, UCSD
She says it didn’t hurt that in June San Diego’s Save Our Heritage Organization said the Ché building was identified as one of the ten most endangered historical sites. “We’ve learned to pay a lot more attention to our own history…. The Ché would have gone away if people hadn’t stood up and worked so hard on this for months." And, she says, it's not just off-campus Ché supporters. "I would say the current students have gotten a lot more involved in the Ché since all this started.”
There are nine shows set for September, including L.A.’s the Living Strange with local bands Shady Francos, Beach Goons, and Buddha Pixie on Friday. An experimental/noise showcase with Monochromacy, Casey Chisolm, Cave Spave, and Scott Nielsen/Michael Zimmerman Duo is set for Saturday.