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Che Cafe Signs Lease With UCSD After Years Of Negotiations

The Ché Café Collective at the UC San Diego campus is pictured in this undate...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: The Ché Café Collective at the UC San Diego campus is pictured in this undated photo.

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More than two years after UC San Diego students occupied the co-operative Che Cafe to stave off an eviction notice, university administrators reached a four-year lease deal with operators of the alternative music venue and three other campus collectives.

The agreement, reached Friday, includes a 40-month lease with a possible 48-month extension for Che Cafe, the Food Co-op, the General Store Co-op and Groundwork Books. Administrators agreed to pay for a new fire suppression system that had been a point of contention during negotiations.

"There’s a recognition that UCSD has come to see the values of the collectives here and for the wider community," Che Cafe Collective core member Tom Corringham said. "The current marketing campaign is that we’re a place of non-tradition. I think we’re emblematic of that, and we could be a feather in their cap if they wanted us to be."

Corringham said the venue will need to maintain its non-profit status and cover its own liability insurance, though rent will be only $1 per year and utilities will be paid for by the university. The collective will have to pay for upgrades to its kitchen before it can serve food again, he said. Construction on the fire system is already underway and is expected to be completed this winter.

“UC San Diego strongly supports the campus co-ops and the important experience they provide to our students,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Juan González said in a press release. “The co-ops provide an enhanced cultural interaction with a diverse student population, bringing new opportunities and engagement that our students would not otherwise encounter. We want our co-ops to thrive and be successful.”

The university tried to shut down the venue in 2015, citing building maintenance issues and issued an eviction notice in March. Student protestors occupied the building for more than 100 days before the university agreed to let the co-op stay.

Corringham and Collective member Lane Barlow join KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on the Che Cafe's role in San Diego culture.

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