GSA Votes to Strip Che Cafe of Co-op Status

GSA President Rahul Kapadia listens in during the body's June 2 meeting where GSA voted to decertify the Che Cafe of its co-operative status.
GSA President Rahul Kapadia listens in during the body’s June 2 meeting where GSA voted to decertify the Che Cafe of its co-operative status. Photo by Cory Wong/Guardian

The UCSD Graduate Student Association voted to decertify the Che Cafe from its co-operative status on Monday evening with a vote of 24-2-3.

This is the second time the GSA has decertified the Che Cafe due to its alleged failure to comply with the Master Space Agreement, a 2006 contract between UCSD and all of its “Co-ops;” the first time was in 2012.

GSA president Rahul Kapadia said the motion to decertify the Che Cafe again resulted from the Che failing to adhere to components of the Master Space Agreement, such as paying rent.

“The main issue we have is that the Che Cafe is still not paying the rent and is still in violation of a lot of things,” Kapadia said. “What we want from the university by passing this resolution is the decertification and termination of the lease.”

In addition, Kapadia said that the motion was not passed to satisfy GSA interests but to satisfy those of the student body.

“It’s not a question of GSA’s benefit. The idea is that UCSD students don’t care about the Co-Ops, especially the Che,” Kapadia said.  “A lot of [University Center]’s revenues are going to the Che Cafe, and we don’t feel it’s a good use of student fees.”

However, Revelle College senior and Co-op Union representative Josh Kenchel said the motion would not affect the Co-operative.

“They already want to move the Che to an office and make it not a part of the Master Space Agreement, but this resolution didn’t do that. It just recommended the move,” Kenchel said. “And nothing is going to change with University Centers because we’re going to negotiate with [UCEN] directly.”

Furthermore, Kenchel said the Che Cafe was indeed paying its rent and reducing its debt to the university. He also said the motion to decertify the Che Cafe again was discussed prior to the vote without the Che Cafe’s knowledge.

“Two weeks ago, the GSA voted on this without letting any of [the Che Cafe] know or anything,” Kenchel said. “Then I sent an email saying they should’ve included us in the decision, and then they organized the meeting this week.”

With regards to the Master Space Agreement, Kapadia said the university violated the contract by not terminating the Che Cafe’s lease before.

“If the university had followed the Master Space Agreement four years ago, the Che Cafe would have been terminated [then],” Kapadia said.


10 thoughts on “GSA Votes to Strip Che Cafe of Co-op Status

  1. And, quick correction. The GSA can’t strip us of ‘co-op status’, what, did they like make us get a boss or something? We are still a co-op, so no worries, folks, there are still no bosses, no masters, at the Che Cafe Cooperative.

  2. If students don’t utilize the Che they should not have to support it.
    I would be curious as to the percentage of UCSD students that have actually stepped thru the doors of the Che.
    Seems to me it is a bunch of non-affiliates using it.

  3. Comments from the Che Cafe representative are pure bullshit. The Che was sent notices regarding the GSA’s resolution both in physical form on Friday May 23rd by certified mail, as well as by email on Tuesday May 27th.

    1. Time to get these hacks out of the GSA and pack it with folks who will actually work for their constituents and fight for collective rights for students at UCSD.

    2. Dear Concerned,

      You are correct; the Che was given a few days’ notice by mail. I was wrong about that (the second paragraph of my comment below), and I apologize.

      However, the rest of my comment below is not, as you claim, “pure bullshit”. Based on my experiences at Monday’s meeting, nobody (or very few reps) on the GSA was interested in hearing anything from the Che’s point of view. They (you? I don’t know whether you are a representative) hardly let me speak. It seems to me that the GSA was more interested in being able to *say* that they gave the Che formal notice. They did not actually want any input or information to come of it; they did not care about making an informed decision having heard all relevant parties’ perspectives. This body made up its mind long before giving “formal notice”.

      Josh Kenchel

  4. Funny that while grad students are out there organizing a strike and attempting to bargain to increase their wages and reduce class size all the GSA has to do is pick a fight with the Che and then have their end of year party afterwards…. Hmmm, weird, you’d think they have better things to do, seems that their constituents do.

  5. I vote to disestablish the GSA. I do not understand what they do other than promote any measures to further corporatize, privatize and institute austerity at UCSD.

  6. Two weeks ago, the GSA approved this same resolution. They did not notify anyone from any of the coops that they were making this decision; thus they neither received nor solicited any information from the Che Cafe’s perspective. In the resolution that they passed last night, it states that the GSA “did not give formal notice” to the Che Cafe, which is why they had to vote on it again this week.

    They didn’t really give the Che Cafe “formal notice” this time, either. A GSA representative to UCAB told me, during a UCAB meeting, that the GSA would be revisiting the issue, but only because I prompted that information with a question. Furthermore, I am not a member of the Che Cafe; I am a member of the General Store and the Coop Union. The GSA has *NEVER* reached out to the Che Cafe for input. I was given six days’ notice: not enough time to prepare a presentation, but enough to prepare a speech for public input.

    At last night’s meeting, it was clear that the GSA did not want to hear any input. They limited public input UCSD students only, then to 1 minute per speaker. I was caught off guard by this, since I had prepared to speak for 5-10 minutes. I spoke as quickly as I could, but obviously ran out of time. I received two extensions of 1 minute each. While I spoke, some members of UCAB visibly shook their heads at me. I ran out of time again and did not receive a third extension. The GSA president then used his position to respond to me and tell me why he was certain that I was wrong. By Roberts Rules, I could not respond back or discuss with him at all; I was completely silenced. The GSA then approved the resolution without debate, 24-2-3.

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