New Cactus Cafe options considered

New Cactus Cafe options considered
Photo from Cactus Cafe Facebook page

From April 6 Cactus Comments blog post

Over the past months, Vice President for Student Affairs Juan González and Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly have initiated and led a series of "Cactus Conversations" with students, faculty and community representatives regarding the future programming and operation of the Cactus Cafe. This dialogue was in response to the Texas Union Board's recommendation for a review of three student proposals submitted to the board and a report back to them at their April 30 meeting.

Guiding Concepts

Based on these conversations and the proposals, this draft set of guiding concepts was developed in collaboration with student and community input:

  • Continuation of current diverse Cactus Cafe programming to assure the preservation of the fundamental character of the venue, with expansion to include additional diverse programming.
  • Continuation of daily (six days per week) cafe and bar operations with supervision by professional, experienced staff.
  • Increased student involvement in operations and programming of, and performing in, the Cactus Cafe, working with professional and experienced staff, and interfacing with professional musicians, through student artist-in-residence and internship programs, and employment opportunities.
  • Enhance student hands-on learning through the Cactus Cafe.
  • A financially self-sustaining business model that will support the above.
  • Provide a structure for short- and long-term community input and support.

Three Options Under Consideration

The following three options are under consideration by the university and will be discussed during Cactus Cafe conversations scheduled for April 8:

  1. A contractual relationship, by which the university enters into a contract with an external third party to manage the Cactus Cafe.
  2. A self-operating model by which a university office oversees the Cactus Cafe program, as it is currently managed.
  3. A partnership with KUT Radio in which KUT will share Cactus Cafe programming responsibilities with student organizations. Under this proposal, KUT would book professional performers and manage the Cactus Cafe on agreed upon evenings during the year.

Each option has been studied by legal counsel to fully outline the pros and cons. The ultimate goal is to preserve the character of the Cactus Cafe while expanding student involvement and programming in a financially self-sustaining program.

The timeline for further discussion and consideration includes an extended Cactus Conversation meeting on April 15 that will include student leaders and members of the Texas Union Board.

At 4:30 p.m. on April 21, Dr. González will host an open forum to seek additional student and community input. Location of the forum will be posted on the Texas Union Web site and on the Cactus Comments blog.

On April 30, the matter will be presented to the Texas Union Board.