California university, students revolt against failing cafe named for Che Guevara
Long after his death, Che Guevara, who some regard as a ruthless killer and others adore as an icon of revolution, is teaching a new generation of students about the failure of communism. University of California-San Diego students have run the “Che Café Collective” for 34 years, a vegan co-op and concert venue boasting “exorbitantly low” prices and volunteer staffing. But it’s consistently in the red, costing the student body nearly $1 million over the years, and isn’t kept up to fire or safety codes. School officials are threatening to cut off funding, which would shut down the campus fixture, but a band of students is fighting back.
“The venue has been operating for 34 years and it’s the longest-running volunteer space in Southern California, if not in all of California,” café volunteer Rene Vera told FoxNews.com. “And our building is covered in murals that document a lot of that history.”
In its heyday, the café reportedly hosted up-and-coming acts like Nirvana and Green Day. Staffers would feed the band, often with donated food, and the audience got the leftovers. The decidedly un-capitalist business model worked until crowds began to dwindle, extensive repairs were ordered by campus fire marshals and student groups got sick of subsidizing it.
The university’s student-run newspaper, The Guardian, characterized the venue as a “money pit consistently plagued with safety issues” in a recent editorial, urging its principals to start utilizing better fiscal management of nearly $1 million in student fees.
“Many students also don’t realize that the money being spent on the café’s renovation comes directly from student fees; in other words, we are collectively pouring almost one million dollars of our money into repairing a cooperative that the vast majority of us don’t even use.”
Well, maybe if the patrons and volunteers love it so much they can pony up the $$$. Or they could try selling t-shirts: