The Che Cafe, the UCSD club with nine lives, has managed to elude closure again -- at least temporarily -- confirms both a university official and a member of the Che Cafe Collective.
The two organizations were engaged -- legally and otherwise -- since May 2014 over the site’s future. The school served an eviction notice on the collective on March 17, 2015. UCSD had 180 days to enforce the notice posted five days later. Members of the collective have been occupying the site around the clock since then.
The news on Thursday afternoon came after a pair of meetings in as many days between UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and members of the collective.
“The chancellor and vice chancellor agreed to suspend the eviction for 45 days while members of the collective and the university worked together to address the maintenance issues of the space,” said Che Café Collective member Susan Wingfield-Ritter, “and that’s also tied in to our historical site designation – we are going for recognition from the National Historical Register…. We are continuing to meet and will release a joint press release next week, the collective and the university together.”
UCSD spokeswoman Christine Clark confirmed that the eviction had been suspended for a period of 45 days.
The Che Cafe has been located at the venue for 35 years, but the iconic, mural-bedecked building was built in the early 1940s. Over the years, the Che has been the location of performance by such artists as Nirvana, Jimmy Eat World, Billy Corgan, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes and Green Day.
The school cited safety hazards and imminent, extensive repairs ordered by the campus fire marshal and an overall lack of current student interest in the club as primary reasons for putting the collective under the gun. For its part, the co-op went on the offensive in July of last year and sued the school for the "unlawful" termination of its lease and alleged collusion between the Graduate Students Association and UCSD to decertify the club.
Since the notice was posted back in March, several prominent artists came to the Che’s defense, including Pinback’s Rob Crow, EDM superstar Steve Aoki and former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha.
Thursday’s news was welcomed by the students and other collective members.
“We’ll be meeting to talk about it on Monday – my understanding is that we don’t need to occupy the space,” said Wingfield-Ritter, who added that she thought the occupation would continue till the meeting next week.
The Che Cafe has seemingly always been a hot-button issue at UCSD and has faced existential crises before -- most recently in 2012, when the club fell behind on insurance payments and, in order to remain open, had to quickly raise $12,000, a story covered by San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Union-Tribune.