ccsf.jpgHundreds of City College of San Francisco students, faculty, staff and their supporters held a large rally in Civic Center Plaza Thursday to demand more input as the school struggles to keep its accreditation.

City College is filing a report on Friday in response to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which last July placed the school on “show cause” status, citing more than a dozen problems including excessive non-instructional faculty costs.

If the school fails to show adequate improvement, it could lose its accreditation when the commission issues a ruling on June 10.

Students and faculty at today’s rally criticized City College’s administration for what they said was a lack of transparency in how the school is addressing the commission’s concerns.

“They’re not adequately getting input from faculty and students,” said Mike Estrada, a political science professor at the school. “They say that’s how it’s going to be and there’s no discussion.”

Estrada said the administration is refusing to use funds from Proposition A, a parcel tax passed by the city’s voters last November, toward restoring cuts to classes and student services, instead putting more of it into reserves.

Chris Jackson, vice president of City College’s Board of Trustees, joined the rally and called for the administration to restore cuts to programs affecting low-income and at-risk students.

“We want City College to continue to be the college we still believe in,” Jackson said. “We’re here to say enough is enough. We want our City College back.”

Lalo Gonzalez, a 24-year-old student seeking to obtain his teaching credential at the school, said the administration has encouraged students and staff not to speak out against City College, saying it brings negative publicity to the school.

“It’s absolutely false to put the blame on us,” Gonzalez said. “They’re trying to impose cuts that are going to negatively affect thousands of students. That’s what’s negative.”

City College spokesman Larry Kamer said the school did not mind the protest.

“We expect a divergence of views,” Kamer said. “We certainly had robust discussion in the workgroups that produced the report.”

He said the school was committed to making the necessary changes to keep the school on stable financial footing and maintain its accreditation regardless of criticism from the protesters.

“We have to keep our foot on the gas and we have to keep moving forward,” he said. “We just don’t have time to waver in our efforts, and feel we owe that to our students.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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