San Diego

UC San Diego's Che Cafe Can Stay for Good

UCSD’s renowned DIY music venue gets some unexpected help

Since 2014, SoundDiego has been tracking the stay or leave ping pong volley between UCSD and the Che Cafe. As of Friday, July 28, the match is over.

After more than three years of protest and negotiation, UCSD’s renowned DIY music venue Che Cafe has officially been granted permission to stay on campus, ending both UCSD’s termination of the Che’s lease and also UCSD’s eviction lawsuit against the venue.

With help from Chancellor Pradeep Kholsa, the university’s four student-run co-ops -- Che Cafe, Groundwork Books, the Food Cooperative and the General Store Co-op -- and UCSD administrators have agreed to a new master space lease.

As part of the agreement, all four co-ops will only be charged a dollar a year with the added benefit of free utilities. The lease allows the Che Cafe Collective use of the storied building for 40 months with an extension opportunity of 48 months after that.

But all of that is contingent (as it has been since the original 1993 agreement) upon Che members paying for liability insurance, maintaining nonprofit status and allowing the university to move forward with safety renovations to the building.

Although the Che has still been putting on shows rather consistently during the legal struggle, music has been noticeably absent from the La Jolla venue since April of this year.

And that’s because, according to UCSD Co-ops and Collectives Alumni Association member Monty Kroopkin, “everyone thought the new lease would be signed by early May of 2017. The negotiations had early on (in 2015) included a plan for the Che Cafe Collective to temporarily turn over possession of the space to admin within a week of signing a new lease, so that the construction work on the Che building could then begin as soon as possible. The expectation of starting the construction work is why the Che stopped programming in April.”

So what does that mean for the punk, DIY and all-ages scene that makes the Che so important to the San Diego music community? Well, as soon as construction’s done, it’ll be just like old times.

Rutger Rosenborg was almost a Stanford neuroscientist before he formed Ed Ghost Tucker. Whoops. He now plays in the Lulls and makes music on his own when he's not writing. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.

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