FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 30, 2015
Commentary provided during ACCJC’s Bakersfield “listening session”
Faculty leaders from nearby colleges descended on Bakersfield College to provide comments at the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College’s “listening session” earlier today. Faculty were represented on the Community College Chancellor’s Task Force on Accreditation. The Task Force’s report, released August 28, recommended replacing the ACCJC with a new accreditor.
Despite the event in Bakersfield being described as a “listening session,” ACCJC President Barbara Beno did not participate, and Commission Chair Steve Kinsella was only available by phone.
“Beno was a no-show and Kinsella could only bother to call in,” said Tim Killikelly, president of the faculty union at City College of San Francisco. “This is listening?”
“The ACCJC just doesn’t get it,” Killikelly continued. “The Task Force says that we must find a new accreditor, not just ask them to act more reasonable and stop abusing their authority. That ship has sailed.”
In addition to Killikelly, other faculty leaders in attendance included Lacy Barnes, President of State Center Federation of Teachers; and Paul Tidwell of College of the Sequoias.
“The California Community Colleges deserve an accreditor committed to genuine peer evaluation, transparency in decision-making and respect for faculty and faculty rights,” Tidwell said. “Time and again the ACCJC has shown arrogant disregard for these attributes in favor of back-room deals, autocratic leadership and arbitrary sanctions. Politically motivated campus restructuring around arcane standards has had a catastrophic impact on finances, enrollment and morale statewide. Faculty and students in the largest system of higher education in the U.S. need to be freed from the fear and intimidation spread by the ACCJC. For these, and myriad other reasons, it is time for a new accreditor."
Last month the California Community College Board of Governors (BOG) directed State Community Chancellor Brice Harris to send his Accreditation Task Force's Report to the United States Department of Education. The report cited a multitude of failures by the current California community college accreditor.
“The ACCJC does not seem to understand the gravity of its situation,” said Barnes, also a CFT Senior Vice President. “The Task Force Report clearly demonstrates ‘no confidence’ in that body. The time for the commissioners to ‘listen’ has long passed; it is time for them to make their exit.”
The CFT represents over 25,000 faculty in thirty community college districts, and 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system, from Head Start to UC. More info: www.cft.org.