The Che Café is facing closure after the UCSD University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) voted to cut the venue’s maintenance costs from its 2014-2015 budget.
UCAB—the student-run board that oversees how student fees are spent—voted 9-4 in closed session Friday afternoon not to pay for the more than $722,000 in repairs to bring the Che in compliance with fire regulations. The vote likely means that after 34 years as a venue, The Che Café will no longer be able to function as it currently does.
The $722,000 figure comes from a report from ISES Corporation—a facilities engineering and management consultant— that recommends several upgrades, including installation of a sprinkler system. The university’s obligation to make repairs to the facility is included in its so-called Master Space Agreement with student-run cooperatives, but without the funding allocation from UCAB, the university won’t allow the Che to use the building any later than September.
The Che Café opened in 1980 and has hosted countless bands over the years, including At the Drive-In, Green Day and The Locust. Its potential closure sparked a campaign to rescue it, including a Save the Che Facebook page and a Change.org petition that now has more than 10,000 signatures.
At four recent UCAB meetings where the Che was discussed, dozens of speakers made their case to save the venue, including Pinback’s Rob Crow, who said that when he started going to the Che in the 1980s, he “was inspired by the people and everything around it.”
And Che volunteer Davide Carpano, who organized the Change.org petition, put the Che’s mission in simple terms: “We are here to do public good.”
The Che is disputing that the $722,000 in repairs are legally necessary to keep the venue open.
“We have yet to receive requested information and answers from administration or legal counsel as to whether these repairs are necessary,” the Che’s attorney, Andrea Carter, says in an email.
After the vote on Friday The Che Café, which is still open and operating, tweeted, “WE’RE NOT DONE FIGHTING.”