Cactus Decision Delayed
UT extends consultation through May 7, Texas Music Office backs current management
By Richard Whittaker,
3:32PM, Wed. Apr. 28, 2010
Interesting news out of UT: As the Student Friends of the Cactus Cafe finalize their proposal for a self-operating model with current management and extra student input, the final decision on the campus institution has been pushed back, and two major statewide agencies have weighed in.
According to the UT press office, Vice-President of Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez has pushed back the final date for consultation to May 7. There will be a presentation to the Texas University Unions Board of Directors from Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lily at 3pm, April 30 in Texas Union room 4.11 (Gonzalez will be absent to attend a funeral: Our sincerest condolences go to him and his family.) However, as this is the board's last regularly scheduled meeting of the year it's unclear what the board will be discussing, when a final decision will be made, and who exactly is making that choice.
The admin will also now have consider who else statewide is paying attention to what they do. On March 10, Texas Music Office Director Casey Monahan wrote to UT President Bill Powers. The cafe, he wrote, "is a fundamental part of the University and the Austin music industry." Supporting keeping the current management while still backing changes, he told Powers, "I understand that much of the impetus for change comes from students who wish to be involved more in the programming of the cactus. If that is the case, I am confident that the Cactus Cafe's current management would consider turning over programming decisions for Sunday through Monday to a student committee."
That position and the defense of the current management was backed heartily in an April 27 letter from Center for Texas Music History Director Gary Hartman. Citing the venue's pivotal role in the careers of many internationally respected Texas musicians, he put much of the credit on manager Griff Luneburg. While he "[understands] the financial issues involved in your decision to close the Cactus," Hartman asked that the admin "consider other less drastic options that would allow UT to keep this historic treasure open and operating under Griff Luneburg's very capable leadership."
Student Friends co-founder Hayley Gillespie has asked UT to place these two letters on the Cactus Cafe blog to balance out the most recent posting by Student Events Center President Andrew Nash, whose open letter boosting the KUT takeover (see more on that in tomorrow's issue) was posted in full.