Cactus Cause Gains More Momentum

An official student organization has been formed at the University of Texas to lobby the administration and the Texas Union board to keep the Cactus Cafe operating under its current professional management(!).  This is the proposal we have been waiting for – and the students have promised to involve the community and the Save the Cactus Cafe nonprofit Friends of the Cactus Cafe:

On January 29th, 2010, the Texas Union Board announced plans to close the Cactus Cafe, citing lack of student involvement in the space and a bi-annual financial deficit of $66,000 to justify the decision. Student representatives on the Texas Union Board acted with no input from the student body at large. As a result, the Graduate Student Assembly (representing over 12,000 graduate students at UT), the 18 College Council Presidents (representing undergraduates in academic affairs) and others have made public statements reprimanding the Texas Union Board for failing to engage the student body in their workings within the Texas Union. Student Friends of the Cactus Cafe will serve as the unified voice of UT students seeking greater representation in this matter and greater transparency in the operations of the Texas Union Board.

Student Friends of the Cactus Cafe will work to convince the Texas Union Board to keep the Cactus in operation as a live music venue under current professional management. We will collaborate with community groups, including Friends of the Cactus Cafe (FOTCC) (a local non-profit organization and its campaign SaveTheCactusCafe.org), to identify both short and long-term solutions to preserving the Cactus Cafe, maintain its financial solvency and further develop FOTCC’s ‘Cactus Cafe Student Initiative’. This initiative includes funding programs for students through the Cactus Cafe such as internships, student performing artists-in-residence and marketing projects in conjunction with the business school to better promote the venue. We recognize the integral role current Cactus Cafe management plays in maintaining the quality of the musical entertainment and cultural environment that makes it a nationally-renowned venue. “I think students could truly benefit from opportunities to interact and learn from that kind of experience.”

Furthermore, Student Friends of the Cactus Cafe opposes recent proposals by students on the Texas Union Board to ‘repurpose’ the venue, hand over its management to an ad-hoc student committee, and add it to the general UT room inventory for use by student organizations. “These proposals are no more supported by the student body than the original decision to close the Cactus Cafe”, says Hayley Gillespie, graduate student and co-founder of SFOTCC.

At least, light is appearing at the end of the tunnel…but we await official word, so keep the pressure on!…

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