A.S. Council supports Food Co-op satellite

The A.S. Council adopted a resolution in support of a two-year Master Space Agreement for a Food Co-op satellite location at Price Center during its May 12 meeting. The resolution passed by consensus.

The resolution calls for A.S. President Jenn Pae to sign the Master Space Agreement. It is a contractual document that leases Price Center space from the University Centers to the A.S. Council and the Graduate Student Association. The Memorandum of Understanding, which describes the leasing relationships of University Centers, Associated Students, the GSA and the co-ops, would allow the student councils to lease the space to the Food Co-op, which is currently in Student Center.

“I’m glad there’s a resolution… it will be in the best interest of everyone that I sign [the agreement],” Pae said. “I personally agree with the resolution because [A.S.] needs to support the co-ops.”

According to Thurgood Marshall College Junior Senator Kate Pillon, who is the Co-op Oversight Committee Chair, the resolution is a first step in finalizing the MSA and allows the co-op to take the space located in the game room next to Shogun of La Jolla restaurant.

Pillon said that the Food Co-op will offer low-cost healthy food options.

“I think that everyone involved wants the co-op to be able to offer another aspect of student life at Price Center, which I think has been lacking and will be a really good addition,” Pillon said.

According to Pillon, the resolution also allows Associated Students, as a signatory of the MSA for the co-op space, to direct Pae to sign the agreement. Under the Memorandum of Understanding, University Centers leases space to Associated Students and the GSA, which are the bodies that take financial responsibility for the existing student cooperatives.

The GSA has yet to sign the lease agreement. GSA Vice President of Finance Lee Lovejoy said he anticipates that the GSA will sign the agreement in the near future.

“… There are individuals on the GSA, including myself, who support signing the MSA, and, as far as I know, there are none who oppose it,” Lovejoy said. “I’m sure it will come up at the next available spot on our agenda, at which point I anticipate that we will approve it without any issues.”

According to Pillon, all other groups involved, including the GSA, University Centers Advisory Board and the Food Co-op, are at the final stages of reviewing the MSA. Director of University Centers Gary Ratcliff said that UCAB is working on ensuring that the agreement goes through. Ratcliff said that about 3,500 survey results showed that students would like more low-cost healthy food options at Price Center.

“The results of a survey of students guided the decision,” Ratcliff said. “Rather than wait for the expansion, we decided to ask the Food Co-op if they would be interested in opening a location in the Price Center. The students on UCAB were behind the decision all the way.”

According to Ratcliff, there are some objective performance criteria in the agreement for the satellite location that allow UCAB to determine whether or not to renew the lease at the end of two years.

“One of the criteria, for example, states that the Food Co-op annual sales in the Price Center must meet a minimum threshold,” Ratcliff said. “This minimum sales threshold will serve as an indicator that the Food Co-op is an operating Price Center location in a manner that is meeting students’ needs.”

The Master Space Agreement for the satellite location at Price Center is similar to the lease for the Food Co-op, Groundwork Books and the General Store Co-op.