UCSD students protest to keep Che Café open

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SAN DIEGO – Nearly 100 students protested across the University of California, San Diego Tuesday in an effort to save the iconic music venue, Che Café.

Banging on buckets and pans, the students marched to the chancellor’s office with 14,000 signatures, demanding that the chancellor let the student-run café remain open despite the court-ordered eviction.

“It's not just about music, vegan food or art -- it's about community,” said student Anthony Showalter. “Without community, we can’t have education.”

UC San Diego officials and the graduate student association denied renewing the café’s old lease over the summer, claiming that the café failed to pay nearly $4,000 in rent and utilities. UCSD officials claim there is also an issue with safety regarding built-in sprinklers and an alarm system.

“It's all maintenance that the university is legally required to do and has put off for the last 3-4 years,” said one student.

The university claims the maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant, according to the lease agreement.  A judge ruled last Tuesday in favor of UC San Diego and ordered the café to pack up and leave by sometime in November.

“They have thrown many reasons at us and we have defeated all of those reasons," Showalter said. "They have said many things that are not true."

According to UCSD officials, the Che Café would need nearly $700,000 to be brought up to safety codes.

Funding for the café comes primarily from the University Center, which claims, amid other budgeting issues, that it does not have the money to help the café.

“It's run by students, by workers, so it's more of a community issue, common good than just profit,” said Preston Chipp, a UCSD alumni from the class of 1966.

During its 30-year existence, the café has featured bands like Nirvana, Jimmy Eat World and Green Day before they were famous.

Protesters argued that the university has no right to shut the café down. They are determined to get an appeal from the court.


Che Café at UCSD must close, judge rules


  • don lindsay

    irresponsibility, anarchy & lawlessness…just the types of things that the mass murderer ‘che’ committed & promoted. These miscreants ‘protesting’, use the cover of rock music to promote the same sort of sociopathic/psychopathic lawlessness that ‘che’ stood for.
    The world is so much better without che guevara and will be so without this insult of a ‘cafe’.
    Myself, I am very proud that my father participated in the dispatch of the murderer and communist ernesto ‘che’ guevara.

  • Rick

    GOFUC YOUSEF – first of all, cute name. Second of all, an insult is a sign of an argument lost. You’re making a very mature and well thought out, logical argument. :) Don is right – good riddance with this place that he’s tribute to a man who burned books, hated blacks, and murdered gays. Now young people think he is the symbol of hope and freedom? Go figure.

  • actually informed

    @Don Lindsay
    You do know that ‘CHE’ is an acronym for cheap, healthy eats right? The cafe was not named after Che Guevara. Do some research before making hateful rants.

    • Nacho Weekends

      I’m pretty much completely with keeping the che open, but its pretty well known that Che originally, and still to some extent stands for Che Guevara. The “Cheap, Heathly Eats” thing was added later to keep the space out of hot water with the university.

      Outsiders, and more romantic insiders, think the Che’s some radical space that pushes all these big political issues, but really at its heart its just a cool place where kids can watch bands, hang out and be who they are without feeling too ostracized.

      It’s run like any other venue is run except with community placed above profits. They book bands, sell food, and showcase art like any other place. The only difference is in the public perception.

      It’s the same as a church Youth Group, or the facilities at a YMCA; sure a small dedicated minority do stand very firmly for what the spaces represent publicly, but behind the doors most people are pretty much moderate and just go to see friends or use what the space has to offer.

      Ultimately, it seems like UCSD is fighting to close the Che because it looks on the outside like some fringe place that’s harboring future revolutionaries, but it’s really, truly not. The kids that go to shows are mostly pimply insecure teenagers of all ages, and most of the core volunteers are just people that have jobs and go to school and run Che in their spare time because they care.

      If some of the commenters on here and the public in general saw how little of a resource pool those aligned with the Che are using to keep it afloat, I think they’d have a lot more sympathy. I hold many conservative positions myself, and know that a sticking point for those on the right is not having a large body like the government infringing on individual rights and basic freedoms. This is a textbook example of one of those cases; the Che’s fighting out of the pocket of volunteers and poor college students to fight a university that has unlimited resources by comparison. That it’s been around this long isn’t a testament to the politics, but to the people and how much they really want to hold onto a place like this.

      Think a city trying to bulldoze a single house because it doesn’t look pretty. I hope either UCSD wises up soon or public opinion shifts enough to save this space. If not, and if the Che closes, let it be known that once a huge State-funded university fought and succeeded in closing what basically amounted to a building where a few kids put on a few shows and hung out in the relative safety of other people like them.

  • Estaben Calabacas

    Maybe the protesters should concentrate on getting an education instead of protesting. Parents of students protesting instead of being in class should suspend funding. I don’t pay high education fees to have my kid protest.

  • wow

    Good bye Che “commie” Cafe. Our tax are misused by keeping this Cafe open and it’s name is represented of a murder himself that supported the communist movement in Cuba which has continued to oppress the Cuban people. Hard to believe the students of UCSD think Che Guevara is a hero. Goodbye Che Cafe!!!!! Die like communism has for years.

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