UCAB Opts Not to Renew Lease for Porter’s Pub

The lease on Porter’s Pub, which expires in May 2015, was not renewed by University Centers. The University Centers Advisory Board will begin looking at offers for the space currently occupied by the pub in June 2015.

In a meeting held two weeks ago, UCAB voted not to renew the pub’s lease due to poor feedback from the UCSD community, which was attained through several student surveys. The feedback mentioned problems with low sales and limited access to the stage for students, along with issues related to individual cases and human resource problems.

UCAB Chair Claire Maniti refrained from disclosing the specifics of the renewal of the lease due to the sensitivity of the information between the pub and University Centers.

Porter’s has a “stage that was paid for, built and run by student fees,” Maniti said. Due to this, Porter’s is obligated to appropriate the stage for student-organized events and allow those events to have priority over their own, non-student related events, which are hosted on that same stage.

In its public statement, UCAB provided the figure that only approximately 30 student events were held at the student-owned stage since the pub was given control of it and its events in 2008. According to UCAB’s statement, the vast majority of the events Porter’s held were for public events such as concerts, as opposed to student events.

However, Porter’s calendar, which was provided to the UCSD Guardian by Porter’s Pub owner Stephen Lawler, showed that over 56 student events were held on the stage in the 2013–2014 academic year. These 56 events are not including the smaller student events that occurred on the stage, such as the biweekly meetings held there by groups such as the Engineering Wine Society.

UCAB’s statement provided a potential explanation to the discrepancy on the number of events the pub held by mentioning a “lack of adherence to University Centers’ reservation procedures, lack of response to reservation requests, being charged for using the space and being misled into noncompliance with Center for Student Involvement and TAP forms.”

Porter’s still maintains the option of sending a “request for proposal” — UCAB’s process of searching for a new vendor to occupy the space. However, Maniti explained to the Guardian that if UCAB were to renew the pub’s lease after the RFP process, the stage would most likely not be included in the renewal because of the problems it has caused for student organizations.

The potential new vendors will be placed through a screening process by UCAB to determine which of them will best fill the role of the space’s future occupant. Maniti indicated that a “pub” or “tavern” concept may be continued.

Vendors interested in the space must participate in a four-to-six-month application process that involves a series of steps, where each step may take up to one month to complete. Some of these steps include the vendors submitting a proposal for how they intend to use the space and having their services sampled to check for quality and legitimacy.

One concern of the student body is that another business may not be able to bring the same caliber of concerts to campus. Some of the past concerts at Porter’s have included headliners such as Tyler, The Creator; Run the Jewels; The Neighbourhood; Kendrick Lamar and Grimes.

UCSD department of visual arts professor Brett Stalbaum expressed his sentiment toward the loss of Porter’s.

“At a time when it feels like the university is expelling its characteristic third spaces —  – the last places on campus that have a local character such as the Che Cafe and the Crafts Center,” Stalbaum said. “Losing Porter’s Pub and the diverse entertainment opportunities it brings would be another tragic loss of authentic cultural experiences on campus, not to mention the replacement of a minority-owned business.”

Lawler refused to comment on whether or not he intends to pursue the lease through the request for proposals process.

Porter’s will have full control over the stage until they formally leave campus in June 2015. Maniti explained that regardless of whether or not a vendor is chosen by Fall 2015, the stage will still be utilized by student organizations to put on student-run events and shows.

Additional reporting for this story by Associate News Editor Meryl Press. 

 

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