A.S. Council and GSA Pass Che Cafe Resolution

A.S. Council and the Graduate Student Association passed a joint resolution on Feb. 18 that called for the C.H.E Cafe Collective to refrain from operating at its facility until Spring 2016 and created a C.H.E. Collective Campus Reintegration Committee to assist the Che in becoming a more student-centered organization.

The resolution, entitled “The A.S./Graduate Student Association Building a Stronger Student-Centered C.H.E. Collective,” allows the collective to use the C.H.E. Cafe courtyard for small events until the end of the reintegration period. Additionally, the resolution requires that A.S. Council, GSA and University Center Advisory Board be consulted before making any modifications to the C.H.E. Cafe facility.

Finally, it requests that University Centers and the UCSD administration seek input from A.S. Council with regard to potentially allowing the C.H.E. Collective to operate at the original facility, “provided that: 1) Financial stability and sustainability has been achieved; 2) Student involvement has improved; (3) Funding has been secured to repair and renovate the C.H.E. Cafe and 4) Renovations and repairs have been completed.” 

A.S. Council President Robby Boparai told the UCSD Guardian that safety concerns would have to be addressed in order for the C.H.E Collective to be able to utilize the C.H.E. Cafe facility.

“In the future, if … the [C.H.E.] still [is] calling for the facility and the majority of students on this campus believe it is something that’s necessary, then A.S. [Council] would probably support the C.H.E. Collective in being reintegrated into that facility,” Boparai said. “But that would have to be after the safety concerns for the facility are met.”

Executive Director of University Communications and Public Affairs Jeff Gattas said the university supports the C.H.E. Cafe Collective’s reintegration.

“The university supports the position of the AS and GSA council resolutions.  The university will continue to work with the student governments, the University Centers Advisory Board and the Che [sic] Collective,” Gattas said.  “It is our hope that the Che Collective, in alignment with recent A.S. [Council] and GSA recommendations, re-integrates with the campus community and takes advantage of the opportunities being offered to [it].”

However, C.H.E. Cafe Collective Core member Mauro Chavez told the Guardian that, although he feels positively about reintegration, passing the resolution does not ensure the C.H.E. will be able to return to the facility.

“There’s this issue that, if we prove we can function outside of the space, the conversation could quickly turn to: ‘You proved you don’t need the space if you’re still thriving,’” Chavez said. “And, also, if we fail to meet the metrics, then there’s a chance that they can say you’re not deserving of this space or these repairs.”

Regarding the safety concerns, Chavez questioned if maintenance really was the actual reason that the C.H.E. Collective is being required to vacate the facility.

“The C.H.E. Cafe has been in the same structural condition for at least the last five years now, and it wasn’t until this year that the university cared about it,” Chavez said. “While this seems like a one-sided safety concern … there are a lot of different elements of the collective that I think members of the administration aren’t exactly comfortable with, and I think that’s mainly just a failure to recognize the culture of the C.H.E. and how it functions as a venue.”

The latter portion of the resolution established a C.H.E. Collective Campus Integration Committee composed of graduate students, undergraduate students and members of the collective. 

GSA President Jonathan Monk said the purpose of the committee is to help the Che become more student- and campus-oriented.

“I’ve talked to a lot of C.H.E Collective supporters that are excited and are happy that they’re getting some help kind of reintegrating into campus,” Monk said. “The challenge I have is that I think there’s a difference between the C.H.E. Collective supporters and then some of the community members who maybe have different opinions or are frustrated by the outcome.”

The C.H.E. Cafe Collective released a statement on Feb. 25 explaining that it does not support the resolution.

“The C.H.E. Cafe Collective is opposed to any solution that includes the Collective leaving the C.H.E. Cafe Building,” the statement read. “To leave the building would be tantamount to forfeiting the property. The UC San Diego administration has a history of refusing to allow organizations, such as the Craft Center, to reclaim buildings after they have left.”

To remain eligible for reintegration, the C.H.E. Cafe will be required to hold a total of four events per quarter: one large event, defined as having 20 or more registered UCSD students in attendance — and at least 20 percent of attendees must be UCSD students. Three small events are also required and are defined as having at least 10 UCSD students in attendance, the majority of which must be UCSD students. 

According to Chavez, the C.H.E. Cafe Collective had already begun a reintegration process prior to the resolution’s passage, and continuing onward would be more difficult given the new parameters outlined by the resolution, especially when trying to garner internal support from collective members.

The resolution mentions the 2012 UCEN Student Usage and Priority Survey, where the C.H.E. Cafe was rated as a “low to very low priority” by 80 percent of graduate students and 78 percent of undergraduates, out of a randomized sample of 8,000 respondents in a ratio proportionate to enrollment.

Boparai said that, alongside UCAB data, A.S. Council receives feedback through its various senators and offices, along with public input during council meetings. 

A.S. Council voted to develop an ad-hoc committee to produce a report and recommendations for the council to consider regarding the C.H.E Collective and building’s future. The GSA also established a similar committee to produce a report that outlined the timeline of events concerning the C.H.E. facility from 2006 until 2014. According to Boparai, the GSA’s document was then endorsed by A.S. Council and changed to meet the terms of undergraduate students instead of graduate students. Their work culminated into the resolution passed on Feb. 18.