The Che Cafe, a collectively run all-ages music venue in San Diego, is facing closure by university administrators. Luckily, a court has temporarily halted their eviction.
It’s a nice venue and I’ve played there with Defiance, Ohio a number of times. Long-running, all-ages, DIY spaces are important, but this this paragraph from a press release about the court order connects the cafe with larger dynamics around the financialization of public higher education playing out in so many of our communities and lives.
Arguably, the real reason for the lease termination is economic. And this is why non-students and the broader community should care and join this push to preserve the venue, even if you have never attended or heard of it before. The University administration has shifted to decisions rooted in valuing revenue-generation and profit-seeking above all else. The Che Facility does not bring in windfall profits for the University. It stands in contrast to a Starbuck’s licensed cafe, or a parking lot where each space brings in hundreds of dollars, or even to a new science building that can house researchers securing grant dollars from which the University can take a sizeable cut. The social spaces the University seems to prefer are privately operated, profit-driven and not dedicated to providing practical educational opportunities, self development and creative expression and growth that more traditional spaces like the Che Cafe affords.