Ché Café Collective Decries UCSD’s 30 Day Notice to Terminate Their Lease

Students Will Renew Their Request for Dispute Resolution and Pursue Legal Recourse

The University of California San Diego (UCSD) has been doing everything it can to close down The Ché Café
Collective (Café), a 34-year-old, student and cooperatively-run, nonprofit. The Café was served with a 30-day
notice of termination on June 13, 2014, following the Café’s request for dispute resolution with the UCSD on
May 22nd and after the Café opposed the validity of a student government body resolution from the Graduate
Student Association (GSA) to “decertify” them. It is the Ché Café’s position that both the GSA "decertification"
action and the termination notice are invalid and politically motivated.

UCSD has been working for a while to find good cause to shut down the Café facility and thinks it has found a
legitimate reason through abandoning good faith negotiations to renew, renegotiate or extend the lease and now
terminating it on that basis and after working with the GSA board to obtain their support.

The notice of termination was given to the students and their lawyer during a meeting initiated by UCSD for a
discussion about the future of the Café. It was called after UCSD and student government had refused requests
to mediate and resolve issues through the dispute resolution procedures provided in the Space Agreement lease.
Even though UCSD knew the Café and the students were being represented by an attorney, UCSD sought to
meet with the Café without notice to their attorney and without their attorney present. At the meeting, UCSD
Vice Chancellors and UCSD’s attorney refused to have discussion except as to where the Ché would be
displaced to for the coming year.

UCSD continues to refuse to answer the Café’s questions as to why it is necessary that the facility be closed and
why UCSD will not work with the Café to resolve any issues it has and allow the Café to repair or remedy any
recommended fire, health, or safety issues. These were something UCSD is using as a pretext for shutting the
building down. In the meeting and in the prior University Center Advisory Board (UCAB) budget meetings,
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Gary Ratcliff and the administration had stressed that the reason for the Café’s need
to vacate their building was due to the fire hazard posed by the lack of a fire sprinkler system. Yet, the notice of
eviction states that is is due to the Graduate Students Association (GSA) resolution passed on June 2, 2014 to
decertify the Ché Café.

In fact, prior to the June 13th meeting, UCSD insisted that the fire sprinkler repairs were its responsibility to
make and cited UCAB and University Centers (UCEN) budget deficits as a reason why the UCSD could not
afford the upgrades and why the facility must close. Then UCSD’s attorney in the June 13, 2014 meeting stated
it was, in fact, the Café’s obligation. The Café, however, never received any notice from University prior to the
budget meetings that it considered the fire sprinkler system an issue, needing to be addressed. To the contrary,
in emails on April 17, 2014 from the UCSD Assistant Facilities Director, John Payne, following a follow-up
Fire Marshal inspection he states, “I wanted to Thank you for all your efforts in keeping the Che Café facility
safe. The Fire Marshal was extremely pleased at all the efforts that have been made and has signed off on the
inspection. Other than 1 minor item in the Darkstar space the facility is looking good in terms of fire safety. He
will return annually to inspect the facility based on my conversation with him this morning. Once again thank
you for all your efforts in keeping a safe facility.”

The issues that have been brought to the Café’s attention during the previous two months should have been
communicated to the collective at least since the 2012 Fire Marshal Report in which a fire sprinkler system was
recommended (note, not mandated). That these issues were not brought to the Collective’s attention, and a
potential solution as to how to fund the recommended improvements was not discussed years ago demonstrates
the desire of the administration to remove the Collective from the space and shut it down rather than work with
the Café to have them make repairs or address other defaults or issues.
Vice Chancellor Matthews stated the University has over $350 million in backlogged deferred maintenance.
This may be UCSD’s true motivation for the shutdown (to see the building demolished rather than retrofitted)
or it may have something much more lucrative planned for the space. Known issues and maintenance of the Che
Facility have been deferred for decades. Rather than prioritize those buildings waiting the longest, like the Che
Café, the University would rather build new buildings and spend money on programming and spaces it
manages, even when, like The Loft, they operate at a $300,000 loss. Of course UCSD refuses to state what they
are planning to do with the facility, a historic building once part of the Matthews Marine Base and containing
many famous and historic murals.

The same approach has been used during previous attempts in 1993 on the part of the UCSD to evict the Cafe
from the space. The Craft Center suffered the same fate in 2012, as it was closed for the same pretextual fire
sprinkler reasons. Even when the Craft Center’s supporters raised over 1 million dollars the University shut it
down and refused any fundraising monies that could be spent to keep it open. Similarly here, while Matthews
said in the June 13th meeting that the Café could fundraise, UCSD refuses to give written assurances of that.
And UCSD is attempting to terminate the Space Agreement that has been in a month-to-month holdover status
since 2008, so as to dissolve any opportunity for the Café to do so, rather than simply allow the Che to make the
recommended upgrades to the fire system.

About Ché Cafe Collective
Ché Café Collective ( is the part of the Student Co-op Union at UCSD formed
in 1975. The Cafe itself became a student-run collective in 1980 when students fought administration for its
control as student fees paid for the facility. Since then it has operated as an all ages music venue, library and
vegan cafe that does not require musicians to have booking agents and has become world-renown and given
many famous musicians their start. More information regarding the struggle to keep the Che Cafe open can be
found at: Ché Café Collective, 1000 Scholars Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093

Davide Carpano, principal Collective member

Andrea Carter, attorney for the Collective

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