C.H.E. Cafe Collective Addresses VCSA Letter

C.H.E. Cafe Collective Addresses  VCSA Letter

The C.H.E. Cafe Collective held an open forum last Friday, March 6, to discuss different ways to approach UCSD administration’s letter that asked the Collective to leave the facility by March 14.

In the letter written by Juan Gonzalez, vice chancellor for student affairs, administrators petitioned the collective to accept the A.S. Council and Graduate Student Association resolution to vacate the facility and reoccupy it in Fall of 2016, under the condition that “financial stability and sustainability has been achieved, student involvement has improved, funding has been secured to repair and renovate the Che facility and renovations and repairs have been completed.”

According to Gonzalez, if the collective refuses to vacate the facility by March 14, the administration will proceed with a formal eviction process.

The discussion at the open forum mainly revolved around whether the collective should abide by the resolution or find an alternative that may potentially include physical confrontation.

Monty Kroopkin, a UCSD graduate and member of the collective, suggested that the administration’s reasoning on why the collective needs to vacate was improper.

“It makes no sense for us to be out of this place,” Kroopkin said. “It does not make any sense for A.S. [Council] and GSA to buy into there being any need to be out of this space.”

The A.S. Council and GSA resolution focuses on reintegration of the Che Cafe Collective into the UCSD community.

However, the collective members expressed that the 2016 resolution is impractical since it is very difficult to sustain interests of the members during the lapse of evacuation.

Muir College junior Ariana Padilla, a core member of the collective, described how the resolution was designed adversely to the collective.

“The way it’s framed right now is [that the Che Cafe Collective] will be revisited in 2016 [to see if the conditions are met],” Padilla said.  “So it’s not really guaranteed that we will be let back in our space.”

Members of the collective also proposed a different approach to follow the administration’s order.

According to a collective member Richard Flahive, preparation on potential cooperation is vital and urgent.

“If we are going to relocate, then there definitely should be set guidelines,” Flahive said. “There needs to be a framework set that the administration can also honor that would allow us to come back in this space.”

The Che Cafe Collective is a worker cooperative and social center at UCSD campus that hosted live music since the 1960s. Bands such as Nirvana and Green Day have performed on the collective’s stage.

With different generations of the collective members supporting the effort to save the space, the collective seemed determined to find ways to settle the issue. 

“I am optimistic. There is no reason for us, based on the history of the co-op, to be pessimistic,” Kroopkin said. “I think we are going be here for a long, long time.”

A.S. Council and GSA passed the joint resolution on Feb. 18 to form a Che Collective Campus Reintegration Committee. The committee will aim to make the Collective more student-centered before the re-examination of the facility’s conditions in Fall of 2016.

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