Che Cafe’s Supporters Rally Against the Upcoming Eviction

We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: Student-run spaces should be on the top of the university’s priority list. They strengthen the community and ultimately promote a better quality education for everyone. A pending eviction for the Che Cafe at 5 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, March 24 is both disappointing and disillusioning for the marginalized groups of students at UCSD. A spokesperson for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said that the cafe only has 180 days for the eviction to be fully completed. The Che Cafe was founded in the ‘80s by a group of UCSD students as a community food co-op (The name Che is an acronym for “cheap healthy eats”) and a place to host reggae and punk music concerts.

A diverse audience of undergraduates, alumni and guests with less mainstream interests found a cultural sanctuary in this campus space, which helped to facilitate the university’s positive reputation as a unique, inclusive college. The student response to the upcoming eviction of the Che Cafe has been demonstrated recently with various protests and group rallies, which we support.

As recently as March 24, approximately 40 students gathered around the Che Cafe to protest its closure. It’s a complete shame that most students do not appreciate the value of this all-ages venue. The space has been a substance-free meeting ground for all kinds of diverse people to come together, where they have bonded over both obscure and famous music. Students who did attend the protest last Tuesday chanted, “The Che, the Che, the Che will stay,” while carrying posters and signs and marching around the aging facility. A notable absence of administrative officials from the university encouraged the protestors to feel hopeful about their rally.

Yet, the university still has not budged, even if only to reassure students that they are the priority or that we can count on the administration that is paid with our money to protect our interests. Instead, the value placed on community remains frighteningly low as the closure of the cafe occurs after other community spaces are shut down, such as the Crafts Center and more recently Porter’s Pub. The university owes it to those students who are continuing to fight to keep their space to keep the Che. But, on a higher level, our school owes it to all the students in all the spaces that have been victims of an over-reaching administration and a poorly managed budget.

So while we are not necessarily optimistic about the upcoming future of the Che Cafe, we hope that the university will finally take heed and listen to their students in future disputes over spaces like this one. Perhaps what happened to the Crafts Center, the Che and Porter’s Pub won’t be repeated in the future. But, then again, we can only hope.

 

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