October 7, 2014
Chancellor Pradeep Khosla
Cc: VC Gary Matthews
VC Alan Houston
Associate VC Gary Ratcliff
UCEN Director Sharon Van Bruggen
Associated Students President
Graduate Student Association President
Dear Chancellor Khosla:
It has come to our attention that a trial is underway to evict the Che Café from its current location on campus; and that this decision was allegedly made without any prior notice or consultation of the Che Café on the part of the UCSD administration, faculty, or student-governing bodies. As UCSD faculty we are gravely concerned about this alleged development; which, if true, contradicts the policies and best practices of the university vis-à-vis the organizations, programs, and communities that provide UCSD with a living tradition and vibrant hub of student intellectual activity and growth.
The SDFA board opposes any unilateral decision to evict the Che Café; moreover, we advocate that that the university reopens negotiations with the Che Café regarding their residence at their current location on campus. We would like to solicit your response to this matter, with the expectation that our reasonable request for reopened negotiations between the administration and the Che Café is met.
As you must know, the Che Café has been a student-owned and managed cooperative with a 501©3 nonprofit organization status for the past 34 years. Several generations of UCSD alumni know this place as an all-ages venue that has welcomed internationally recognized underground and college-radio musicians and performers. On the level of popular culture, this is no small achievement. But it is on the level of student life that the Che Café’s reputation as a living satellite of college radio and world music makes itself felt. For it provides students with a safe, non-institutional space where they may creatively experience and critically reflect on the emerging influences in their lives – political, economic, social, and above all cultural – in a way and on a level that no classroom, professor, or lab can match. It is places like the Che Café – to reiterate, a student-run, 501©3 nonprofit organization and cooperative – that give the otherwise ambiguous category of “student life” substance. The Che Café also gives UCSD a sense of tradition, rootedness, and collective collaboration, which extends beyond student life and establishes ties with the cultural scenes and communities that traverse San Diego, California, and the United States.
We look forward to your speedy response.
Many thanks. Sincerely yours,
John D. Blanco, board member
Adam Burgasser, board member
Thandeka Chapman, board member
Robert Horwitz, board member
Tara Knight, board member
Jin Kyung-Lee, board member
The San Diego Faculty Association (SDFA)