Students And Faculty Marching On Feds In Protest Of Plan To Pull SF City College Accreditation

A coalition of City College San Francisco students, faculty and supporters are planning a march Tuesday to speak out against last Wednesday’s decision to terminate the school’s accreditation.

The Save City College San Francisco Coalition plans to march and rally in front of the U.S. Department of Education’s San Francisco office at 50 Beale St.

Previously: SF City College To Lose Accreditation In 2014

Group members say they hope to call attention to policies that favor privatization and corporatization of education at the federal level. It is these policies, they say, that are driving Wednesday’s decision by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to revoke the college’s accreditation, effective July 31, 2014.

“This is a fight over what city college is going to look like,” said Nancy Reiko Kato, a former student and coalition organizer.

Kato said the changes demanded by the ACCJC would limit the courses and services offered by the college, making it harder for it to serve vulnerable and needy populations and students not able to attend school full time.

“Right now City College, it meets lots of different needs,” Kato said. “If 72 percent of San Francisco voters voted to raise taxes to fund it, that was reflective of the fact that this is an institution that serves a broad range of needs.”

The ACCJC last July placed the college on “show cause” status and required the school to file a report this March showing how it had addressed problems identified by the commission, including an excessive number of campuses and high non-instructional faculty costs.

At its semi-annual meeting last month, the ACCJC determined that City College had fully addressed only two of the commission’s 14 recommendations.

The school, which serves an estimated 85,000 students, will immediately begin the process of requesting a review of the commission’s decision. If the decision is upheld after the review, City College plans to appeal.

Among the changes announced Wednesday is the appointment by California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris of a special trustee who will run the school.

The City College Board of Trustees will “be rendered temporarily without authority … until (City College) is back on its feet,” Harris said.

He said the special trustee will have the unilateral power to close campuses and make other changes “in order for this college to match up its expenses with its revenue streams.”

The California Federation of Teachers in May filed a complaint against the ACCJC accusing the commission of intimidation, a lack of due process and other violations.

The complaint, filed with both the ACCJC and the U.S. Department of Education, argues that there are no fair procedures for appealing sanctions from the commission and that the commission does not allow adequate time for schools to respond to the sanctions.

Wendy Kaufmyn, an instructor at City College, said the ACCJC has been ordered by the Department of Education to respond to the complaint in detail by July 8.

“People need to understand the magnitude of this,” Kaufmyn said today. “They need to call upon their elected officials to get involved.”

The Save CCSF Coalition will gather at 4 p.m. from the downtown campus at 88 Fourth St. The group will then march at 4:30 p.m. to 50 Beale St. for a rally.

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