The Cactus Battle
In 2010, UT administrators shocked the city of Austin, by announcing their intention to close the Cactus Cafe, a 30-year-old campus and community icon. This surprising decision sparked a months-long rebellion by students and community members, complete with mass meetings, rallies, petition and fundraising drives, and intensive negotiation. Austinites, many of whom worked on campus, understood the financial pressures confronting their state university. But they believed that by closing the Cactus, without a word of warning, UT was taking the easy way out. Students and citizens wanted imaginative solutions that would restore the cafe to its historic profitability, while preserving a meaningful part of local cultural heritage. Here’s a sampling of early reaction.