The Davis Bike Church could not find salvation, as university administrators elected to evict the bicycle co-op from the Domes sustainable living area last month.
The university told the Bike Church this summer that it must get its facilities up to code before facing an Oct. 1 inspection. Despite rousing efforts by Bike Church ministers and members of the community to do just that, the Department of Student Housing decided to forgo their assessment of the facility after learning the church did not meet the campus fire code.
Although it is understandable that Student Housing wants to minimize its liabilities, not working toward a common solution with the Bike Church is inexcusable. The Bike Church was a much-loved UC Davis institution, adding to the university’s unique character.
It is ironic that a university that takes pride in being sustainable summarily removed an environmentally friendly asset from our campus. Offering bicycle education workshops and used bike parts to the community, the church was a prime example of a local effort to increase alternative transportation and sustainable living.
Instead of forcing the Bike Church off university property, Student Housing should have worked closely with the church to find a solution and give them clear guidelines to improve its structures. Though Student Housing’s safety concerns were legitimate, there is no reason that the church‘s shutdown had to be permanent.
This is not to say the Bike Church was free of blame. Their leadership structure was almost non-existent and the operation was not well organized. Furthermore, the Bike Church did not make an adequate effort to anticipate the potential problems with their organization.
Working together could have ended the matter with both sides pleased: Student Housing would minimize the risk of lawsuits, while the students would keep a cherished campus institution.
Instead of cooperating with each other, however, communication was poor and it seemed as though both sides were working against each other.
Although the Bike Church is clearly something students want on campus, it was no match for a “higher power” – university administration.