Another chapter has been written in the battle for the Che Cafe's existence.
In the latest legal twist, the music venue sued UCSD on Monday. The suit, filed by attorney Bryan Pease on behalf the nonprofit collective, alleges that the university "colluded" with members of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) to decertify the collective, alleging that students were not given a reasonable opportunity to participate in decisions involving the survival of the venue. The process -- and its legallity -- is what the Che's suit is calling into question.
"The purpose is to overturn this resolution to decertify the Che as a student organization that was passed by the GSA without any real public input," Pease said on Wednesday. "The university is trying to get around the space agreement [of 2006], which had a lot of provisions for dispute resolution and would have had the university go through a number of steps before they could kick the collective out of the space. But the way they’re trying to bypass that is to work with the GSA."
The Che is calling for a GSA hearing that would give students the three-day notice required in the GSA's bylaws. Pease maintains that the meeting at which the GSA passed the resolution that decertified the Che was announced via mail, which was sent to the collective three days prior to the hearing. That the school was in summer session and most students were off-campus further complicated the receipt of the announcement and had an effect on attendance of the meeting, Pease said.
"The GSA should [hold the hearing] in an open and transparent manner so that the studdent body can actually be heard," Pease said. "The process is totally flawed, and totally void of public notice and input, which is the whole point of having a hearing."
UCSD representative Christine Clarke told SoundDiego that the university could not comment because the case is in litigation, but she did say that the statement originally issued on the Che’s closure -- which cited "safety concerns and recent student actions and sentiments" as the grounds for eviction -- still stands.
The Che's operators and its attorney will appear in court on Sept. 3 to request the dismissal of what Pease called the "unlawful eviction" that UCSD filed in June, attacking the service of the summons. Shortly thereafter, the Che will also push to gain a temporary restraining order against future eviction efforts until the collective’s certification can be voted on at an open GSA hearing.
The dispute between the Che Cafe and UCSD, which has housed the collective since 1980, has seen a lot legal action from both sides this summer. As SoundDiego reported in July, the Che won a temporary reprieve on its eviction by UCSD. That court decision will allow the venue to maintain the status quo until Sept. 1.
In the meantime, the Che continues to book shows in the space that, for the time being, it calls home.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, recently moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.