Students considering appeal to reopen closed cafe

This week students are considering an appeal to temporarily reopen the Food For Thought Cafe.

The administrative arm that oversaw the cafe, Student Activities and Leadership Programs, closed Food For Thought on March 31, saying in a press release that the cafe had run up a $102,599 deficit. They provided the opportunity for students to appeal the decision—as any SALP organization can—and the cafe’s former employees are considering the possibility. At this time, it’s not certain if an appeal is the appropriate route to take.

“We haven’t been given very much guidance,” said James Lopez, one student eager to reopen the cafe. “We’re meeting tomorrow to finally decide for certain if this is the right way to handle this.”

Lopez said they were given 10 days from the day the cafe was closed to submit the appeal to SALP, putting the deadline at April 11. SALP’s investigation into the source of the budget overrun, which itself began on March 31, is slated to end on the same day as the appeal deadline. However, the appeal can’t begin until the investigation is complete.

“An investigation is still going on, so an appeal won’t happen yet,” said Angela Hamilton, Education and Student Programs coordinator for SALP and the adviser for the cafe. Hamilton pointed out that normally the appeals process is handled through the website for Student Organization Application and Recognition, of which Food For Thought is a part. However, SOAR doesn’t handle appeals dealing with Student Code of Conduct decisions that the investigation could produce.

“Nobody talked to me about an appeal,” Hamilton said, “and I’m unaware of any appeal in the process.”

Lopez suspects he’ll be required to explain in detail why the cafe was important and the services it provided to students. “We’ll have to lay it down from a student perspective,” he said.

“Now that the strike has been averted, maybe more people will pay attention,” Lopez said.