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.