Chancellor Khosla intervenes and tells his administration to save the Che.
  • Chancellor Khosla intervenes and tells his administration to save the Che.
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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.

When UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla took over negotiations, the meetings with the Ché collective took on "a completely different tone" — from confrontation to resolution.

When UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla took over negotiations, the meetings with the Ché collective took on "a completely different tone" — from confrontation to resolution.

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.”

Ché Café

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.

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Comments

monaghan Sept. 3, 2015 @ 10:25 p.m.

A wonderful outcome for the Che, for its supporters, for UCSD itself. A big win for everyone. Nice coverage of this issue in the Reader. Thank you.

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velo333 Sept. 4, 2015 @ 8:57 a.m.

Nice article, Ken! Kudos to Khosla for bringing reasoned leadership to the discussion!

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Visduh Sept. 4, 2015 @ 2:10 p.m.

SOHO doesn't have much influence or clout in decisions like these. At one time it did manage to save a few structures, but in recent years we hear little of SOHO. So, I'd think the change of heart came from the chancellor. As to why he broke with the string of efforts that several of his predecessors pursued, and decided to allow it to stay, we can only speculate. Maybe a number of embarrassing incidents involving the campus helped him make up his mind. A full-scale eviction by sheriff's deputies of students would have not looked good at all.

Che has been an embarrassment, I suppose, for a very long time. It just doesn't fit the mold of the buttoned-up research university by the Pacific. But if you're looking for something that really embarrasses a UC campus, look no farther than Isla Vista. It isn't even university property, but when most folks think of UC, Santa Barbara, after they think "party" they then think of Isla Vista. (For those of you unfamiliar with the place, it is a hard-to-access, isolated, slummy student ghetto on the far side of the UCSB campus, as far from the chi-chi streets of Santa Barbara as possible.) Now that's an embarrassment! Little old Che is mild by comparison.

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Ken Leighton Sept. 5, 2015 @ 5:01 a.m.

Visduh- Do you ever write anything that isn't a negative beat down? The fact is SOHO DID have an impact in this case because it got the UCSD administration and the community at large to acknowledge that this building does have some historical value. Because of what SOHO said about the Che we have heard about SOHO. If the people involved involved in saving the Che say that SOHO was involved in moving the needle, then I think they would know. And by the way, who is "looking for something that really embarrasses a UC campus?" Apparently, Visduh, just you. To many the plight of the Che shows what can happen when people get active and rally around a cause. To you its an excuse to write yet another anonymous slur. Dramatic spurts of random negativity have their place. Morton Downey Jr. just got his own posthumous one hour special on CNN. We can only dream can't we "Visduh"?

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Ponzi Sept. 5, 2015 @ 7:42 a.m.

Coming from an expert on the defendant side of unlawful detainers.

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Visduh Sept. 5, 2015 @ 8:08 a.m.

Ken, do you read what I post? That comment actually gave Khosla credit for an enlightened approach to dealing with an issue that has been simmering on that campus for too long. Why a string of chancellors have been trying to shut Che down was not totally clear, but they spent too much time, energy and funds over many years. This actually makes sense.

So then I went on to speculate on why, and point out that in the larger picture of things, even if they found Che embarrassing, it wasn't that big a deal. I do have a little history with UCSD in that I'm a former student there, and one of my kids is a UCSD grad.

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Ken Leighton Sept. 5, 2015 @ 8:37 p.m.

Visduh - What you said in your second post was completely different from what you said in the first. In the first you said SOHO doesn't matter anymore. Only problem is that it was clear to the Che team that in this case it did. They cited SOHO as a major boost for their cause and in helping to get the Chancellor to turn the tide. Why would you invent a rant that says SOHO doesn't matter? If the people who were involved in saving the Che say SOHO mattered, then guess what? It probably did. Then you spew that Che has been an "embarrassment" and that if you really want to find a UC embarrassment let's look at "slummy" Isla Vista. First, do you know anything about rents in Isla Vista? Second I don't think UC students as a whole generally constitute slum dwellers. What was the point of that? I would suggest if you used your real name you would not be so liberal with your slurs. And then I wondered who this "Ponzi" guy is. I am told is he just some unhappy guy with web access who writes things like "The Chaldeans have taken over the ownership of liquor stores in the East County." Just another anonymous internet troll, I am told. That guy William Hamilton wrote some stuff that seems a little off base but at least he uses his name (and his picture, no less).

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Visduh Sept. 6, 2015 @ 9:10 a.m.

Again, Ken, I must ask if you read what I post. The notion of "embarrassment" is one from the viewpoint of the UCSD administration, read chancellor. They have a slick, sanitized sort of technocratic campus there, with the exception of Che. Personally, I'd like to see that campus occasionally erupt (other than the Sun God festival) with some activity. But it rarely does.

One man's "slur" is another man's commentary. So be it.

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Ken Leighton Sept. 6, 2015 @ 10:53 p.m.

The UCSD administration never ever identified the Che Cafe as an embarrassment. I dare you to show one instance when they did. That slur only exists in a post by an anonymous blogger. And that's you Mr. 'Visduh'. And I quote: "If you're looking for something that really embarrasses a UC campus, look no farther than Isla Vista. It isn't even university property, but when most folks think of UC, Santa Barbara, after they think "party" they then think of Isla Vista. (For those of you unfamiliar with the place, it is a hard-to-access, isolated, slummy student ghetto on the far side of the UCSB campus, as far from the chi-chi streets of Santa Barbara as possible.) Now that's an embarrassment! Little old Che is mild by comparison." Are you, Mr. anonymous 'Visduh' now in charge of identifying official UC embarrassments? Or UC slums? Speaking now only myself of course, I think this hack, crass, crude cheap, jingo loving slurring is not getting us anywhere. KUSI had a piece about a month ago where they said that the Che represented a radical, extreme left wing stance. When I asked if they could identify this extreme leftist position, their reporter and their news director could not come up anything. Just like you. I asked you if you knew how much rents are going for in your "slummy student ghetto" of Isla Vista. You said nothing in response. You can hurl the slime but you can't quite back up what you said. Are you saying Isla Vista, which is composed mostly of UCSB renters, is a slum? How can a group of UC students who are clearly of superior academic performance and upward mobility constitute a slum? I think we are all tired of anonymous slimers like yourself. You know my name. How about you and "Ponzi" tell us who you are. But first explain the above mentioned slurs you throw out because you are anonymous. We're waiting!

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Ken Leighton Sept. 6, 2015 @ 11:03 p.m.

Hey and guess what? I'll bet you $50 that "Visduh" a/ did not attend UCSD and b/ does not have a son or daughter who also graduated from UCSD. You know who I am. Now Mr. Visduh come clean and identify yourself. Tell us who you really are. Give us your name and email address. I want to know who this UC grad/UC parent is who says Isla Vista is a slum-ghetto and who says that the UCSD administration called the Che an "embarrassment." I'll be waiting.

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Ken Leighton Sept. 6, 2015 @ 11:14 p.m.

Oh, and to answer your twice offered questions, I DO read your posts.

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Dorian Hargrove Sept. 7, 2015 @ 9:30 a.m.

Not that you need to hear it but my two cents: I appreciate reading what some commenters, anonymous or not, have to add. They always provide a different viewpoint, regardless of how far off that may be.

I also have to say that Visduh, whoever that is, usually leaves thoughtful and informative comments that have added to the discussion. I'm not referring to the Che comments in particular, just thought I'd add my opinion as a fellow writer. Anyhoo, good work on the issue. I'm glad it turned out the way it did.-dH

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Ken Leighton Sept. 7, 2015 @ 11:21 a.m.

Thanks for the input Mr. Hargrove. I would imagine that after over 4,780 posts (according to the Reader website tally) Mr. Visduh is bound to have thoughtful and informative comments. And what do you know, Visduh happens to be thoughtful and informative on just about any topic you can come up with. And of course whether he is anonymous or not, he should (and does) comment on every topic that pops up. God bless him. Keep up the good work! I was only challenging him on the preposterous Isla Vista=slum equation. Where did that come from and what does it have to do with anything? This is Twilight Zone analysis. And his Che/embarrassment slag just seems like a cheap and easy insult like the recent one where KUSI reporter Sasha Foo said that the cafe continues to get dogged by its leftist connections (a la Che Guevara I suppose). I asked both Ms Foo and her news director ti explain and I got a "no comment" and a non-response. But I do understand it is all part of the game. I notice that this article is now one of the "most popular." So I guess it all works out. It's all good as they say. But for "Visduh" to now all of a sudden say that he and his kid are UCSD grads. Puh-leeeze. That's when the horseshit meter went bust for me. Who are you Visduh? Your $50 awaits. Prove that this claim is not a lie. Embarrass me and make me poorer. [As always, I am speaking only for myself].

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Ken Leighton Sept. 8, 2015 @ 11:13 p.m.

Regarding the mass text sent out by Monty Kroopkin who said that the August 2016 date for the expiration of the current lease is wrong, he is correct. It is actually April, 2016. I was told August 2016 by the Che Collective press spokesman Fabiloa Orozco who (like all Che Collective members) is a volunteer and who does the best they can with the time they have. I know Monty Kroopkin to be a Che Cafe true believer who cares about the cause. But for the love of god Monty, what benefit does it do for you to bitch about the wrong date (by five months) like it is a badge of disgrace. Yes, Monty, you did do the heavy lifting regarding saving the Che and you are the adult in the room who looks after details. But it seems like your rants can be demoralizing. You helped save the Che. But come on, brother. Please get off the high horse. Why does everybody have to be an adversary?

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