The Leechpit’s lease will not be renewed, immediate plans to relocate have been abandoned, and, for the first time in 10 years, a quirky purchase won’t be just a stroll away.
The Leechpit, a small business owned and run by Adam Leech, has served as an influential resource to CC students, whether for artistic inspiration or theme parties. Though the store has not always been a CC tenant since inhabiting its current space, the end of its lease means that Leech must close or relocate.
According to school administrators, the decision to discontinue the lease came from a need for more space for student activities. Robert Moore, CC’s Vice President for Finance and Administration, stressed that the decision was motivated primarily by the interests of the students.
“The building is owned by the College and it was decided that a better use for the building would be to provide needed space for student activities rather than produce rental revenues for the College,” Moore said.
Leech sent a candid email to members of the CC community in an attempt to clarify the sequence of events that occurred and certain issues that arose regarding the administration’s conduct.
“I think Tiefenthaler’s full of shit,” Leech said. “I think she’s a liar. I think she’s self-serving. She never once attempted to talk to me directly. She let me know that the decision was final, and that they didn’t care who thought it was a bad idea.”
President Jill Tiefenthaler maintains that the decision to end the lease was not a malicious one, and one that involved an appropriate amount of communication.
“We have honored our lease agreement with Mr. Leech,” Tiefenthaler said. “When we decided not to renew the lease…the property manager communicated with Mr. Leech. I responded to an email from Mr. Leech on October 21, 2012.”
The initial decision on the lease caused some outcry from the CC community.
“I really do feel that they made absolutely no effort whatsoever to get feedback before they made the decision,” Leech said. “And after the decision was made, people expressed their concern, and I don’t think the college ever fairly considered what they had to say.”
Junior Christian Tappe spent several months circulating a petition intended to demonstrate to the administration that the student body did not approve of the termination of the Leechpit’s lease. The petition gained 400 signatures. It wasn’t enough.
“Pretty much everyone supported it once I explained it to them,” Tappe said. “People were only hesitant because they didn’t know enough about it. I could probably count on one hand the kids I talked to who didn’t sign it.”
Tappe and Leech had met at a town hall meeting earlier this academic year and discussed the Leechpit’s future as a CC tenant.
“I went to a town hall meeting and asked Tiefenthaler what the deal was, and she got really defensive and told me that a town hall forum about CC’s role in the community wasn’t an appropriate place to discuss CC’s role in the community with a community member,” Leech said.
Leech felt hopeful that a demonstration of student interest might increase communication on the decision, but those hopes were not fulfilled.
“It just seemed like, with that much support, they would at least open a dialogue with us,” Leech said. “And once I got that letter that was sent back from Tiefenthaler that said that they were trying to work with us…It’s a long reputation in Colorado Springs that CC does whatever the fuck they want to do, and we got a taste of that.”
Tiefenthaler contends that the decision to end the Leechpit’s lease is ultimately in the students’ interests.
“I always admire the passion of our students and appreciate hearing their opinions,” Tiefenthaler said. “However, after discussing this issue with other concerned students and considering their input, I decided that our decision to repurpose college-owned property for student use is the right course of action.”
At the moment, the future of the Leechpit is uncertain at best. Leech has expressed interest in relocating to a separate building in Colorado Springs, or potentially moving to Denver.
“Somebody from the college said it’s nothing personal, it’s just business,” Leech said. “And to me, that’s just like, cool, it’s just business, that’s fine, but that means I’m free to speak my mind and there are 2,000 students in that school who pay a good bit of money to get an education and feel like their concerns are being considered.”