A number of City College of San Francisco students are holding a rally today to call on school administrators to include more student input in their ongoing fight to stay accredited.
Shanell Williams, president of the Associated Student Council at the campus, said about 200 students were expected at the 12:30 p.m. rally at the college’s Ocean campus.
Williams said there has been “a lack of open communication” between students and the administration, which is imposing cuts to student services and school staff in an effort to fend off the possible closure of the school.
City College is required to file a report by a March 15 deadline set by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which last July placed the school on “show cause” status.
The report must show that the school is taking significant steps to address problems cited by the commission, including an excessive number of campuses and high non-instructional faculty costs.
If City College fails to show adequate improvement, the school could lose accreditation and close after the commission issues its ruling on June 10.
A special trustee for City College said in January that the school would likely miss the March 15 deadline.
Williams said that in addressing the commission’s concerns, “the administration is making bad decisions that are going to affect our college for the long term.”
She said some of the changes, such as cuts to counseling and other student services, affect working-class students, who make up a majority of the student body.
Williams said the students have been rebuffed by the administration in their request for town hall forums at all City College campuses so more people can comment on the school’s plans.
“We’ve requested this multiple times and they’ve refused to do so,” she said.
City College spokesman Larry Kamer said, “Everything that’s being done with regard to keeping our accreditation keeps our students first.”
Kamer said, “We’re laser-focused on that, but we’re always open to suggestions about how we can do a better job in our communications.”
“Our top priority has been to be transparent about this and stay focused on the task at hand, for which there is not a lot of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Save CCSF Coalition, a group of faculty, staff and students, has sent a letter to various state and federal politicians asking for an investigation into the accrediting commission.
Bob Gorringe, an organizer with the coalition, said the letter questions why the school did not face any disciplinary action until last July, when the commission suddenly put City College on its most serious sanctions short of closure.
“We’re trying to slow this process down because we feel we’re being railroaded,” Gorringe said.
The coalition is planning a March 6 meeting at the school’s Chinatown campus and a March 14 rally outside City Hall to try to drum up more community and political support for their cause, he said.
Today’s student rally was set to take place in Ram Plaza at the Ocean campus, located at 50 Phelan Ave.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News