Che Cafe accused of terrorist support

    The Che Cafe Collective is currently under investigation by campus officials due to a possible violation of federal law for providing technical support to a foreign terrorist organization.

    A non-UCSD-affiliated complaintent from the East Coast, whose name is not being disclosed by the Office of Student Policy and Judicial Affairs, alleges that the Che-maintained Web site, http://burn.ucsd.edu, is providing support for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The FARC has been labeled a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.

    In a letter to the Che Cafe Collective signed by Director of the University Centers Gary Ratcliff, the collective was informed that it is in violation of UCSD policies as well as Federal law for “”using UCSD computer network resources to provide access to a terrorist organization.”” The letter from Ratcliff stated that the “”links supporting the FARC”” violate a portion of the USA Patriot Act.

    Members of the Che Cafe Collective responded to the letter from Ratcliff, stating that they believed the administration had violated the “”Memorandum of Understanding”” between UCSD and the Associated Students, the Graduate Student Association and the co-ops by not notifying the A.S. Council and the GSA of the alleged violations, as is stated in the memorandum.

    In support of the Che Cafe’s complaint of noncompliance with the memorandum, A.S. President Jenn Brown wrote a letter, dated Sept. 25, to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph Watson expressing the A.S. Council’s displeasure with the administration’s actions against the Che Cafe. The letter also cited prior interactions the administration has had with the Groundwork Collective — interactions that, Brown argues, also violated the memorandum. Brown’s letter included five allegations of misconduct on the administration’s part against the Groundwork Collective and the Che Cafe Collective.

    In the letter to Watson, Brown called for the administration to “”desist with their harassment of the co-ops.””

    However, Nicholas S. Aguilar, director of student policy and judicial affairs, believes that protocol was followed properly because the initial letter was not a formal charge of misconduct.

    “”The letter was written to the Che in an attempt to give them a heads-up as a precautionary measure,”” he said.

    Although Ratcliff’s initial letter described the alleged violation as a problem with hyperlinks to the FARC Web site, the Student Policy and Judicial Affairs Office now says that links are not the problem. The problem, Aguilar said, is with the burn site “”hosting”” the FARC Web site.

    “”It wasn’t merely a link,”” Aguilar said. “”It was more than a link.””

    Aguilar also said that this is not the first time the burn.ucsd.edu site has been accused of hosting a terrorist organization.

    The university considers any address that includes ucsd.edu in the address “”hosting”” that Web site. Hosting provides direct access to UCSD computer resources.

    Aguilar said that the Che Cafe Collective will be receiving a letter clarifying the allegations that were first outlined in Ratcliff’s notice.

    Aguilar declined to say whether he was the actual author of Ratcliff’s letter.

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