Daily Cal to Stay On Campus

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The ASUC Store Operations Board voted Tuesday to spare The Daily Californian from eviction, allowing it to remain in its Eshleman Hall offices.

In a meeting at ASUC Senate Chambers, six of the 11 board members decided to begin negotiations on the newspaper's lease.

The student newspaper's future on campus had been uncertain since May 14, when former ASUC President Wally Adeyemo proposed its removal from Eshleman Hall's sixth floor.

The details of the lease-possible sticking points for both sides-remain open to negotiation.

But ASUC Store Operation Board members and Daily Cal representatives both said they were satisfied with the results of yesterday's meeting.

"The (meeting) went really well," said Boardmember and Graduate Assembly President Jessica Quindel. "It was a good compromise."

It became evident early on that the board did not intend to evict the Daily Cal. Most agreed the newspaper's on-campus location was important to its student-centered news coverage.

The six board members present at the meeting voted unanimously that the Daily Cal should either give up part of its office space, which occupies Eshleman's entire sixth floor, or provide ASUC with additional free advertising space.

The free advertising space would be allocated to student groups unable to receive office space, ASUC leaders said.

"The ad space is a good way to reach out to students," Quindel said.

In previous leases, the Daily Cal has paid part of its rent to ASUC in advertising credits.

In return for these concessions, some board members including ASUC President Jesse Gabriel suggested lowering the Daily Cal's rent.

Boardmember and ASUC Executive Vice President Han Hong said ASUC needed to reclaim some of Eshleman's sixth floor to accommodate other student groups in need of office space.

Approximately 30 percent of all student groups that apply for offices in Eshleman do not receive it due to lack of space, Hong said.

Daily Cal Editor in Chief Rong-Gong Lin, II said he adamantly opposed any reduction of the newspaper's office space.

"We're already cramped as it is," he said.

The Daily Cal staff is composed of approximately 150 students and five non-students.

But Lin said he remains open to negotiating more free ad space for ASUC, which he called "reasonable."

Before the board voted, Lin asked it to reduce the paper's rent to its 1999 level without any increase in advertising credits or decrease in office space.

"We have requested a reduction to reflect market rates," he said.

Pointing to the recent economic recession, Lin said Berkeley commercial property rental rates have declined since 1999. He requested the board lower the current rent of $7,428 a month to $5,770 a month.

But Gabriel argued that Lin's proposal did not reflect a fair market rent.

"(Lin's) proposal treated the Daily Cal better than other student groups," he said. "The Daily Cal would be getting a huge subsidy."

Gabriel said he was confident that both sides would reach a compromise that would not financially hinder the newspaper.

"(Our) general offer is very generous," he said. "I don't think it's something that is going to prevent it from putting out a newspaper."

At the conclusion of the meeting's public session, the board voted to appoint a three-member committee to advise ASUC auxiliary director Tom Cordi during lease negotiations.


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