“The lack of transparency that we have seen needs to change”: Supe Campos Calls Out CCSF’s “Special Trustee”

City College of San Francisco should have its elected Board of Trustees restored by state officials who last year installed a special trustee to oversee the school during its accreditation fight, a city supervisor said today.

Supervisor David Campos today introduced a resolution calling on California Community Colleges Board of Governors to restore the power of City College’s trustees.

The state panel last July stripped the trustees of their power after the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced their decision to revoke City College’s accreditation because of issues the commission found with the school’s finances and governance structure.

The Board of Governors installed a special trustee, Robert Agrella, who has unilateral decisions over the rules and regulations of City College.

“We cannot allow this to continue to be the case,” Campos said.

“The lack of transparency that we have seen needs to change.”

Campos, whose resolution was co-sponsored by four fellow supervisors—Eric Mar, John Avalos, Scott Wiener and Norman Yee—said Agrella has made decisions that have angered City College students, faculty and staff, including raising pay for certain administrators.

“There are decisions that have been made unfortunately behind closed doors,” Campos said. “They … would not have been made had there been an open, democratic process and a forum for the public to actually know about these decisions.”

State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said in a statement that he supports Campos’ resolution.

“State officials have usurped the rights of the electorate and stained the democratic process,” Ammiano said. “The actions to disenfranchise the voters are not helping the college, they hurt it.”

Agrella said in August that the installation of a special trustee was needed to expedite changes to the school and said he did not see a board of trustees regaining power at City College “for some time to come,” with him or another special trustee likely overseeing the school for “several years.”

City College is appealing the accrediting commission’s decision to revoke the school’s accreditation.

The decision was set to take effect this July until a San Francisco Superior Court judge last month issued an injunction barring it from taking effect until lawsuits filed by the city attorney’s office and the school’s teachers union can finish.

The lawsuits allege that the ACCJC unfairly ruled against the school and that the commission engaged in conflicts of interest during its review.

While the fight over City College’s accreditation continues, on Monday, state Sen. Mark Leno announced legislation that seeks to stabilize the school’s funding.

If approved by the Legislature, Leno’s bill would provide steady funding for the school over the next four years even if student enrollment continues to drop because of the accreditation uncertainty.

School officials say student enrollment at City College is down 16 percent compared to last year.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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